My trip to the Caretta Research Project

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by L8 2 RISE, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. L8 2 RISE

    L8 2 RISE Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    I figure I will take the opportunity to tell about my upcoming and past trip to The Caretta Research Project.

    Last year I was looking for something to do over the summer and my mom found a "camp" at the zoo that they call the Eco-explorer program where they take a 5 teens down to the project, and another about 15 teens down to panama for a different project every summer. Well I went on the one to Georgia in which we(we five teens and then a "babysitter" from the zoo") flew down to Savannah, GA on a Friday and stayed overnight in a motel, then on Saturday, we took a boat over to Wassaw island, (about an hour by boat from Savannah). Wassaw used to be privately owned, then a while back, the owners decided to turn all but a small compound and about 100m of beach where they can run their dogs over to the Fish and Wildlife Service. In the compound there are about 10 houses that are large, as in huge vacation homes for an isolated island, and two basically sheds with bathrooms that the Caretta Research Project "bases" in. One of the sheds has 6 bunks for the 6 volunteers a week that Caretta employs (we were the six volunteers that week) and the other shed has a small kitchen, and a screened in "dining room" (if you haven't gotten the gist already, there is NO AC on the island and very limited electricity provided by a generator so it is HOT). It also has a small bedroom for the two researchers a week that are on the island. Well enough about the misery, here's what we did:

    Every night from about 9-6 we would patrol the 7 mile beach in mules (supped up golf carts), one group of a researcher and 3 volunteers going south and one identical group going north. We were looking for sea turtles that nest on the beach, mainly loggerheads. When we found the turtle, we would wait for it to start laying (after it had climbed up the beach, found a suitable spot and dug a hole, could take up to 2 hours) because then the hormones would kick in and she cant be disturbed, and then would check her front flippers for tags that helped to track her. If she didn't have tags, we would tag her. Once she was gone, we would dig up the nest, count the eggs, place a data logger (records temperature etc.) in the nest, and then cover it back up with the sand and then netting to keep predators from digging it up. On some nests we would move the eggs to another location and bury them there because they were doing a research project to determine the survival rates of in vitro verses relocated nests. We would also fill out a paper with the turtles tag #'s and then record any damage to the animal on a chart.

    Throughout the week I believe we got 8 nests which is a good number, and saw 16-17 turtles on the beach, but obviously not all of them laid eggs. This year I'm going back down from the 9-16 with my cousin, but this time for hatching season. If you ever meet up with me and want to hear a couple of stories (I have quite a few ) or want to find out something about the project, be sure to ask. For now I have a few pics, but unfortunately my camera broke two days into it so I don't have that many, but I'll be sure to take a lot more pics this year and post them up when I get back.

    top left: welcome to paradise
    top right: nope not our cabins unfortuneatly
    bottom left: researchers cabin
    bottom right: on the inside starring: the babysitter:twisted:
     
  2. L8 2 RISE

    L8 2 RISE Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    top: volunteers cabin
    middle left: on the inside
    middle right: Our beautiful, high end, non heated, outdoor shower( With snake, toad, and frog visitors nightly)
    bottom: our trusty steeds (mules)
     
  3. L8 2 RISE

    L8 2 RISE Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    top left:And finally the turtles, starring one of the teens( I blocked her face as I don't need to be sued or whatever)
    top right:Another angle
    bottom left: the eggs (100-150 a nest)
    bottom right: All sorts of stuff washed up on the beach including this buoy, lot's of TVs, a bowling ball, etc (starring fabulous me :wink:)
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    What a terrific advernture. Obviouslyl roughing it was not too bad since you are going again this year (sans babysitter ;>).
    If you happen to have a website URL for anyone interested in investigating going or sponsoring one of their kids (or in my case, grand kids), please add it to the education cross link.

    Thanks!
     
  5. L8 2 RISE

    L8 2 RISE Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    http://www.carettaresearchproject.org/

    This is the site, but if you call them, DO NOT call it a camp, they hate it when people talk of it like that and I honestly don't blame them. It is a bonified research project that has been going for many years in great success. If you go you HAVE TO be ready to work. There is not much time to take pictures and mess around apart from 3-4 hours during the day. You also have to be 18 or older, or if your younger, have an 18 or older "babysitter" or in my case this year, an 18 or older person who is just there because they can say they are 18 or older and act as a "babysitter", but can't exactly babysit :wink:. If you are not 18, you will also have to give them reason to believe that you will be a helping hand and not just a nuisance that needs to be watched. Believe me when I say they will not hesitate to boat you off the island.

    Edit:
    oh yeah and I forgot to mention, it's still A LOT of fun and I would suggest it to anyone.
     
  6. TurtleLover99

    TurtleLover99 Larval Mass Registered

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    I went on this trip with the National Zoo too (but not last summer)! It was one of the most amazing experiences ever. I didn't really think of it as work though because it was so much fun! I would definitely go back. Who were you're head researchers?
     
  7. L8 2 RISE

    L8 2 RISE Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    when did you go? It was soo much fun! I went with Laura from the National zoo the first time and my researchers were Kris, and Jason, the second time my researchers were mike and his sister Rebecca
     
  8. TurtleLover99

    TurtleLover99 Larval Mass Registered

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    I went with Laura too (in 2006) and my researchers were Mike and Joe. Did you like North or South beach better? I couldn't really decide, but I usually always went south :)
     
  9. L8 2 RISE

    L8 2 RISE Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    During my week, the north side was better, also it was 4th of july while we were down there and it was a lot of fun to sit up north on that day cause we could see all of the shows in Savannah, also, my project was on the tidepools at the fort so I "had" to go north for at least three nights in a row in order to get my data which was lucky for me
     
  10. TurtleLover99

    TurtleLover99 Larval Mass Registered

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    When did you go? When I went, I was super lucky because one morning we saw a dawn turtle. It was like 6 am, and the sun was rising. It was soooo cool. When you went with the national zoo, did you go to River Street in Savannah?
     

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