When I was in elementary school I absolutely loved visiting aquariums, learning about the different kinds of fish and snorkeling in the ocean. Even at that age I hoped that someday I would make a difference working with the oceans in some way. This past January I finally made this dream a reality and began my internship with the Sea Turtle Restoration Project as a part of a cooperative education program through Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Looking back over the past six months I have been fortunate enough to participate in a handful of intriguing and inspiring campaigns. From the very beginning I was very passionate about contributing to STRP’s Bag the Plastics campaign. As a part of this campaign, I was heavily involved in sending out letters of support for plastic bag bans in cities across California, I wrote a short article about plastic for STRP’s Viva La Tortuga newsletter, and I made three short videos about plastics and sea turtles for STRP’s YouTube channel. Ultimately, the most rewarding effort I put into the Bag the Plastics campaign—and the most memorable time spent with STRP—was attending the 31st International Sea Turtle Symposium (ISTS) in San Diego and presenting a poster I put together about plastic bag ban advocacy. Attending this symposium was the greatest experience I could have asked for: I was able to connect with individuals from all over the world and expand my limited knowledge of sea turtle biology and conservation efforts happening around the globe—all while spreading the word of plastic’s harmfulness to sea turtles to those who were unaware.
I was also involved in a few other projects, such as the distribution and promotion of STRP’s newest documentary The Heartbreak Turtle Today, communicating with ocean supporters through social networking, creating and uploading posts about sea turtle conservation to Google Oceans, creating short videos for the STRP YouTube channel, initiating contact with members of our Leatherback Watch Program, and tabling at several events including the March 29th screening of The Heartbreak Turtle Today, ISTS from April 11th through 15th, and World Sea Turtle Day at Cal Academy’s Nightlife on June 16th. Another memorable event was the Chevron annual shareholder’s meeting rally where myself and other sea turtle supporters donned large sea turtle costumes and protested on behalf of the Australian flatback sea turtles along the Kimberley Coast in Western Australia.
In the end I am so glad that I made the decision to intern with STRP, and I am exceptionally grateful for all the guidance, support, and mentoring received from my dedicated supervisor and colleagues. I will never forget my time spent with STRP, and for the rest of my life I will be dedicated to marine conservation wherever I am!