My internship with STRP this summer has taught me more than I could have imagined on the issues concerning the welfare of sea turtles around the globe. The professional experience and skills that I acquired while working the STRP offices this summer will benefit me in almost any career I choose.
When I first learned that I would be an intern for STRP I was beyond thrilled, I have always been an advocate and supporter of sea turtle protection. It was not until I arrived at STRP did I fully come to understand all of the factors occurring in oceans and on land that affect sea turtles around the world. To hear about the effect plastic pollution has on endangered leatherback sea turtles and long-line fishing techniques being used around the globe that drown sea turtles daily is truly heartbreaking.
Over the summer I was able to take on several projects and duties at STRP including: educating children about endangered sea turtles and the effect the Gulf Coast oil spill has on populations; researching new information on sea turtles and compiling a list of achievements STRP has had with each particular species of turtle; assisting with publicity for the upcoming art show and auction; creating and managing the Facebook page ONE MILLION AGAINST BP OIL BURNING SEA TURTLES and working with the Got Mercury campaign.
The majority of my time at STRP was spent working on the Got Mercury campaign, which helps bring awareness to the issue of mercury in seafood. If more efforts are taken to ban mercury-laden fish, such as tuna and swordfish, from consumers there will be less long-line fishing and less sea turtles, who are caught and drowned in these lines. I helped to compile a list of all studies and articles that pertain to mercury in waterways and fish so that they can be easily referenced. I also worked daily to post on all blog and newspaper articles that related to mercury consumption directions to a personal mercury intake calculator at gotmercury.org. Using my social media skills I also promoted Got Mercury on the web and expanded it’s fan base.
To work for this organization during the worst environmental crisis ever, has been intense and humbling. The effects this oil spill has on endangered sea turtles, particularly nesting Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, has brought worldwide attention to the plight of sea turtles. STRP was overloaded with calls and media requests on a daily basis and it was a very valuable experience to be a part of.
My time at STRP has been truly rewarding going far beyond my expectations. Every day was a new experience that taught me something different. I am so thankful that I was able to help this organization and work with such amazing and dedicated people.