This spring, we welcomed 10 interns from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In addition to learning about turtle care and husbandry, the students practiced their communication skills by teaching the public about sea turtles, and completed a project. One such project - a video about KBSTRRC - appears above.
In their own words, here is an introduction to the KBSTRRC Spring, 2021 student interns.
LUCY: Hi, everyone! My name is Lucy. I am currently a third-year undergraduate student at UNCW. I am majoring in Biology and minoring in Clinical Research. I have grown up spending my summers on the Gulf coast of Florida in Sanibel and Captiva Islands and have fallen in love with ocean conservation and marine life. This past summer, I worked for a marine science education program through UNCW called MarineQuest. I had the opportunity to educate middle schoolers on all things sea turtles and was able to visit KBSTRRC several times. I loved the passion and enthusiasm that everyone at the facility had for their job and knew that I wanted to get involved. I am so excited to be an intern and have the opportunity to make a difference while also gaining meaningful experiences at KBSTRRC!
KIM: Hi, my name is Kim. I am currently a junior marine biology major at UNCW and an intern at the KBSTRRC. I am from New Jersey and came down to North Carolina for school. After I graduate, I plan on going on to graduate school to get my master's degree. I have always had such a love and passion for marine life and conservation. I am eager to expand my knowledge of sea turtle conservation and rehabilitation!
KELSEY: Hi, my name is Kelsey and I am originally from Leicester, Massachusetts and moved to North Carolina in 2019. Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated with wildlife and animals. I have worked in the environmental science field at nature preserves such as Massachusetts Audubon Society and have also volunteered at local animal shelters here in North Carolina. My previous experiences have led me to pursue a degree in biology as an undergraduate at UNC Wilmington. I will be graduating in the spring of 2022 with future goals to attend veterinary school to obtain my DVM. I am very excited to be working as an intern at KBSTRRC this spring and learning about the rehabilitation process of sea turtles!
HANNAH: My name is Hannah and I am from Jacksonville, NC. I am currently a junior at UNC-Wilmington, majoring in Marine Biology. My plan is to attend NC State College of Veterinary Medicine and earn my DVM. To gain experience I am currently working at a small animal hospital and now at KBSTRRC to gain experience in marine life. I am thankful to be involved in the KBSTRRC to allow me the opportunity to learn more about sea turtles and how to care and protect them.
VICTORIA: Hi! My name is Victoria, and I am a senior at UNCW. I will be graduating this summer with a degree in marine biology and a minor in oceanography. I have always been passionate about marine life and understanding how the ocean affects everything! Being able to give back to the environment and work directly with animals for their benefit is truly inspiring to me. I am honored to be an intern and be a part of such a meaningful project like KBSTRRC. I am most excited to learn about what it takes to rehabilitate the sea turtles and more about their ecology!
REJANA: Hi, my name is Rejana! I am currently an undergraduate at UNC Wilmington majoring in Marine Biology with a minor in Oceanography. I am very excited to be part of this internship opportunity as I would like to eventually have a career working at a marine mammal rehabilitation center. I am also interested in getting involved with Cetacean research and exploring the ways in which whales and dolphins visually perceive the underwater world. This is my first time working with sea turtles, so I am eager to learn all that I can to help me get one step closer to my career goals!
CORINNE: Hi, my name is Corinne! I am a marine biology student at UNCW and I'm so excited to be a spring intern here at the KBSTRRC. Growing up in upstate New York, I was surrounded by lakes but always had a love for the ocean and the creatures that live in it! My dream job is to work at a marine hospital on a rescue and release team, so I knew this opportunity was the perfect fit for me. I am so excited to work with our sea turtle patients and lead tours of the facility!
MORGAN: Hi! My name is Morgan and I am currently a junior at UNCW majoring in Biology and minoring in Spanish. I am from Charlotte, NC and have always been interested in anything to do with animals and as I have grown up my passion has centered around the medical aspect of it. After graduating from here I am hoping to attend veterinary school to get my DVM and possibly specialize in large animal medicine. I have experience working with animals from shadowing in an animal clinic and having the opportunity to return with a short-term paid position as a vet tech. Helping out there solidified my love for veterinary medicine and fueled my interest in exploring additional animal specialties other than general practice. I felt as though I needed to branch out and that is why I am so stoked for this internship and the ability to broaden my experiences working with sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation!
SIERRAH: Hey everyone! My name is and I am originally from Greeley Colorado but moved to North Carolina in the summer of 2021! I originally attended school at the University of Northern Colorado for my first two years, majoring in ecology, and then before the start of my third year I transferred to the University of North Carolina- Wilmington, where I am currently getting a degree in marine biology. From the time I was a little kid I have always wanted to work with marine animals; I would always say that I wanted to work with dolphins when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Although I have refined my response to that question now, I still have a passion for working with marine animals and after graduation I hope to be work in the rescue and rehabilitation field of marine biology. Which is why I was extremely eager to get the opportunity to intern at the KBSTRRC and get to explore more of the field that I am interested in!
OLIVIA: My name is Olivia, and I am currently finishing up my senior year at UNCW, although I am originally from Pennsylvania. I am studying biology with a chemistry minor. Sea turtles have been my favorite animal ever since I can remember, so I am very excited to be able to work with them each week. This is a great hands-on learning experience that is giving me valuable knowledge and experience to help me further my career in biology and conservation.
by Karen Sota
Spring is officially here, and it’s something even sea turtles seem to recognize. In a few short weeks nesting season officially begins and there have already been sightings of loggerheads heading toward our coastal beaches. But along with all the “coming” we have a very important “going.”
Canal, a juvenile green who has been with us for almost seven years is relocating a few hours away to his forever home. Canal has been such a fixture in our hospital that most of you probably thought he was going to live with us forever. But our mission is to give every turtle the best possible life after rehabilitation. If we can’t send them back to Mother Ocean, we owe it to them to find an environment where they can live out the rest of their lives safely and well cared for. Finally – we’ve done it for Canal.
But first, a little background on Canal. He was originally admitted October 15, 2015 with a boat strike injury to the backend of his carapace. It’s a fairly common injury with many admits and in most cases it’s just time to heal and then back home. But every once in awhile it results in a buoyancy problem where a turtle cannot dive and stay submerged, just popping back up to the surface usually butt-up.
Although initially Canal seemed to be doing fine, over time we noticed that he was struggling to stay down and was devoting increased time paddling around the top of his tank. But there was also a long period where he spent extended periods scooting along the bottom of the therapy pool. Release was looking increasingly like an option. After extensive discussions with Dr. Harms, Jean and our hospital staff we decided that we should give Canal a chance to go home. On June 13, 2018 Canal was released from the beach in front of a large, cheering crowd.
On June 14th he re-stranded in Surf City, close to where he left us in what we hoped would be his second chance to put the “sea” back in sea turtle. It appears that he just didn’t have the stamina to fight the waves and make it out to deeper water. Or maybe he just missed us. Thankfully, he was unharmed and although we were disappointed we welcomed him back. Recognizing that release was not in his future the search for a new home began. His photo and CV were sent to aquariums who had what we considered suitable accommodations for one of favorite patients, but between hurricanes and Covid things just didn’t work out. Until now.
In the very near future Canal will be relocating to SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord where they’re putting the finishing touches on his very own room with a 5,000-gallon tank, including three windows for underwater viewing. If you’re a “people turtle” like Canal this is the perfect marriage between a great sea turtle life and the opportunity to bask in the admiration of the many, many fans he’s collected over the years. Of course there are plans in the works to send Canal off in style – stay tuned for details.
During April our hospital is open to the public for tours three days a week: 11 AM – 1 PM on Fridays and Saturdays, and Noon – 2 PM on Sundays. Tickets must be purchased in advance through our website: www.seaturtlehospital.org. Select the date, time and the number of guests in your party and purchase your tickets. We limit the number of guests for each time to make the experience more enjoyable and to continue our commitment to keep you and our staff safe as we work our way through Covid. Please check the website for our current policy on masks which is based on transmission rates in our part of the state. And remember that you can come to the gift shop without going on the tour. Enter through the single door to the left of the main entrance.
Even though we’re still on alert for late arriving cold stuns it won’t be too much longer until those turtle mamas start heading toward shore. On Topsail our official start to nesting season is May 1st. If you spot anything unusual such as a stranding or nesting, please call our Director of Beach Operations, Terry Meyer at: 910-470-2880. If she is not available, you may call the hospital during operating hours: 910-329-0222. We will take the information and we will meet you to retrieve the turtle that will then be brought to us for follow-up. The State of NC hotline for stranded, sick, and injured turtles is 252-241-7367. The state number picks up 24/7. Please note that all our work with sea turtles, at the hospital and on the beach, is authorized by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, ES Permit 22ST05.
THE TURTLES WELCOME YOU BACK!
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(PLUS sales tax & fees):
$7.00 General Admission (Ages 13-61)
$6.00 Military (Active Duty and Veterans)
$6.00 Seniors (Ages 62 and up)
$5.00 Children (Ages 3-12)
$0.00 Babies and Toddlers (Ages 0-2) (Babies are free but a ticket is still required to save their spot!)
Masks no longer required!
We reserve the right to reinstate masking requirements in the future should public health conditions warrant such precautions.