Karen Hattingh (Gnaraloo’s Environmental Advisor), Matt Boureau (GTCP Team Leader) and Marie Duffy (GTCP Community Volunteer Co-ordinator) were received at Nagle Catholic College in Geraldton during February 2011 to give a presentation on endangered sea turtles, research under the Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program as well as career advice to a group of 26 students (Year 11 and 12) and 2 teachers. The students were from the faculties of Biological Sciences, Earth and Environmental Sciences and Marine Science (Certificate II in Maritime Operations). The students were 16 – 17yrs old and university bound with an interest in the field.
The presentation by Gnaraloo lasted about an hour, encompassing different aspects such as the presence of globally significant sea turtle rookeries on the Ningaloo coast, 7 surviving sea turtle species only, the 3 turtle species found at Gnaraloo (being Loggerhead, Green and Hawksbills), sea turtle biology, life cycle, significant threats to turtles, specifics on the dominant Loggerheads species found at Gnaraloo (including distribution, habitat, physical characteristics, diet, annual breeding season, breeding activities / behaviour, egg clutch sizes and hatchling details).
The audience was very receptive to the information and conservation issues and asked a number of questions during the presentation, including any impacts of climate change on sex ratio determination in developing eggs / embryos.
Given their formal qualifications and extensive previous experience on a number of research and conservation projects nationally and internationally, Gnaraloo’s Environmental Advisor and the 2 GTCP researchers then talked to the student group about pursuing opportunities and employment in the scientific field. They highlighted specific competencies and essential knowledge that would make an individual stand out from the crowd when applying to become part of project teams, including essential computer skills such as GIS and high proficiency in Word, Excel and Access.
The Nagle students were also provided with information about future volunteer opportunities at Gnaraloo during the nesting season 2011/12, commencing during November 2011. We hope that many of them will have the chance to come and join the GTCP in future to participate with the sea turtle conservation work being undertaken at Gnaraloo. We also hope that many of them will continue their career in Biological, Environmental and Marine Sciences and that one day some of them may become part of the core GTCP scientific research teams!
Cheers, Karen and Matt.