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Saying Goodbye

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The final day of our trip was such an emotional roller coaster.

Today was our last day at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, and there were so many emotions flowing through us as we walked through those doors at 7:30 amfor the last morning of service. We fed and cleaned the tanks of the turtles in Turtle Bay as usual, people worked in Sick Bay as usual, and it seemed for a moment as though nothing would change. It really started to hit as we began wrapping up for the morning, As we sat in the break room and doused our hands in hand sanitizer one last time, we reflected on all of the experiences we’d had with the turtles and volunteers over the last week. We had managed to walk in with little to no experience caring for these turtles and knowing none of the volunteers working there, and we walked away with more knowledge than we could ever have imagined. We took a brief break for lunch and returned to the turtle hospital one last time to take some pictures of …

Turtle Teaching = Totally Terrific

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Today was the day a lot of us have been looking forward to: Teaching Day!  We spent this morning awaiting the arrival of 550 students ranging in age from kindergarten through high school who all came to learn about the sea turtle hospital.  Some of us were placed at the teaching stations in the hospital where the students could learn about the different sea turtle species, sea turtle anatomy, cold stunning, nesting, threats to sea turtles, and surgery success stories from the hospital.  The students were also able to peer into sick bay and walk through sea turtle bay where the rest of us were stationed to tell the stories of the individual sea turtles. It was fun to watch their excitement as we introduced them to the turtles.

Going into Thursday, we learned and practiced our presentations during reflection the night before. This morning, we went to our stations, armed with our new t-shirts from the hospital we have all been anxiously waiting to receive. We stood ready while students u…

Reptiles and Raptors

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This morning we were off bright and early again to the turtle hospital.  Leaving the house at 7:15 am has been getting easier, but no one seems all that excited to be up early.  However, we've been able to see the sunrise each morning during breakfast. 

We again split into two teams--four people worked with the turtles in Sick Bay and the rest of the group worked with the turtles in Turtle Bay.  We got to work again with the volunteer team leader, Gail who was excited to see us and get us to work.  We fed the turtles their food and medicine at 8am, going making sure that none of the food got sucked up by the filtration system.  The green turtles had special filters we attached to their take intake pipes to prevent their vegetables from being sucked up by the filtration system.  As before, we then left the turtles to digest and dirty their tanks while we worked to sweep and mop the turtle center. 

After the turtles had time to digest their food, we came back to clean and scrub th…

Deep Down, We Are All Essentially Turtles.

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Day 3 started very gloomily with the skies being dark and cloudly. We left the house at 7:15 A.M. as it was pouring down rain. However, when we arrived at the Turtle Hospital, we immediately felt our day brighten up! The volunteers were welcoming as always, although unfortunately the turtles seemed agitated by the incoming thunderstorms. 
Both of us were assigned to work at Turtle Bay today since we both had a chance to work in Sick Bay in prior days. We are starting to become accustomed to the routine - at 8 A.M. we were ready to feed the turtles, of course feeding the pills first and making sure stray food did not clog the pipes. After feeding, we were responsible for cleaning the tanks by scrubbing the tanks (and the turtles!) and making sure the tanks were sanitized using a Clorox towel. Afterward, we went outside to clean the fishy and stinky nets and buckets used in Turtle Bay and Sick Bay - once we were done with them, they smelled good as new! We luckily also got to clean the…

MORE TURTLES!!! And a very cool aquarium :)

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Day 2!!! Very excite!! We woke up extra early to arrive at the turtle hospital at 7:30am, as per request by Jean. With morale high (and eyelids a little heavy), we got ready to experience another wonderful day helping all the sea turtles. Luckily, today was a lot warmer than the previous two days, which definitely helped to wake some people up.

I (Jane) was assigned to sick bay to help feed, clean, and treat the turtles that need extra care. Although the turtles in turtle bay were extra lively and friendly, each and every one of the turtles in sick bay had their own personalities as well. Sherri noticed that a lot of the turtles seem less sick than we had originally expected them to be. However, there were also turtles with very serious injuries, such as holes in their carapace and extreme lethargy. It was surprising to find how their treatments were similar to our (possible) daily supplements and treatments. In addition, there was a lot of hosing down the tanks and a few of us got ra…

TURTLES!!! And THE Most Inspiring Person on the Planet

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Rise and shine! We woke up early this morning to get a jump-start on our service experience. After a quick breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios (not sponsored) and oatmeal, we headed out to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. We met up with some of the volunteers to figure out what we would be doing for the day. With a very warm welcome, the Sunday volunteers explained some of the tasks we would be doing. Four members of our group ventured into Sick Bay to care for the more critical sea turtles, while the rest of us filed into Sea Turtle Bay to care for the other residents of the hospital. Donald and I were in Sea Turtle Bay: we walked in to see large tanks containing Loggerhead, Green, and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles. The largest tank was home to Snooki, a 350-pound Loggerhead, who Donald and I had the pleasure of meeting last year. A few volunteers introduced us to some of the sea turtles, and then we jumped right into volunteering tasks. We started by using …

The Spot Between the Fish and the Vegetables

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Terps Helping Turtles is a go! The team got on the road around 8:30am yesterday and began our journey stocked to the teeth with snacks. Nelson and Sabrina took the wheel(s) for the first leg of the trip, and the cars jammed out to everything from K-pop to classical. Conversation topics ranged from arguments over the moral existence of altruism to a debate over whether 2000s music would be classified in the "oldies" genre.

Since our normal visitor center lunch stop was closed, we took a short detour to lake near Gaston, North Carolina. The nearby paper mill produced odors of the most unique quality- so distinct, in fact, that two participants in two separate vehicles narrowed down the smell to one location: the spot at the Great Wall supermarket in between the fish aisle and the vegetables. Lunch on the lake was beautiful, but our enjoyment was cut short by a height chart on a nearby children's playground. According to the sign, Hannah was 5.5ft. She's actually 6'…