Blog Post by: Annie Gentry
Hey there! My name is Annie Gentry and I am a student studying Biology and Spanish at Wofford College in Spartanburg! Like Amanda, I am an intern with Edisto Beach State Park this summer working under Leah with the loggerhead sea turtle conservation efforts here at Edisto. I’ve been familiar with Edisto ever since I was a child as we have a house on the water, and over the passed few years I have become increasingly more interested in the wildlife we have here. While searching for summer employment, I came across this internship, and I jumped at the opportunity to get involved. I have been here for a little over a week now, and my expectations have long been exceeded.
I served my first day on dawn patrol the morning following my arrival on the island. Waking up at 5:30am never felt so hard! We began with trash cleanup with a neat app called ‘CleanSwell’ where you record the type and amount of each trash item you find, and then the info is sent to a database. This helps us to figure out what types of trash are the biggest problems in what areas so we can take steps to prevent it from happening! Highly recommend. We came across the first nest of the morning with a perfect set of tracks leading to the mama turtle’s body pit (pictured below). Leah and I probed around and she let me feel around for the eggs. I ‘eeped’ a little whenever I knew that they were there! Perfectly round and surprisingly pliable, these little guys are laid in nests of approximately 120 eggs. It was such a rewarding experience. Over the past week I have gotten better at locating the precise location of the nest, as well as deciphering between a nest and a false crawl. My first patrol without Leah by my side is Saturday, I’ve learned so much already!
Throughout this week, I also had my first nightwalk experience/encounter with a loggerhead, my first Turtle Fest, my first day working at the education center, my first Edisto rain of the summer, and my first pimiento cheeseburger ever! It looks like it will be a summer of firsts, and I am absolutely stoked to see what else the sea turtles and the island itself have in store for me!
Sea Turtle Biologist