In an effort to become gainfully employed as a scientist I began volunteering with the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.) and was lucky enough to be asked to be a part of the expanding ranks of volunteers at the brand new S.T.A.R. Center located at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island in the town of Manteo.
I apologize for having no pictures as yesterday was filled with the huge amount of information and on-the-job training for what my role is to be in rehabbing the turtles sent to the STAR Center. If you google star center pictures you can see many pictures from the grand opening.
My duties are varied. They include feeding the turtles, preparing food, cleaning equipment, doing laundry, assisting staff with medical treatment and creating objects for the turtles to use as developmental toys to mimic behavior in the wild.
Most of my tasks this first day was working with Kristan (husbandry employee of the aquarium) feeding and giving medical attention to one of the turtles. I assisted in preparing food which involves checking previous feeding to make sure the turtle is eating. Selecting proper protein, cutting up in to bite size pieces, weighing all food and then placing all the numbers in the forms. Each turtle has a feeding schedule and log. The turtles are fed six days a week and every bite is logged down to the gram. This turtle is in rehab because he suffered frost bit this past winter and lost a large portion of his carapace (including the bone underneath), exposing a portion of his spinal chord. He is healing well an he is a picky eater. He would not eat the heads which is the portion of the fish with a good deal of nutrition.
I can’t wait until I work again! (which is today since I was kicked off line while writing this post)