With the close of the Easter weekend, we loaded up our temporary and rather compact Turtle vehicle (appropriately nicknamed El Huevo, spanish for ‘The Egg’) and hit the road again, this time destined for Geraldton.
The past week has been action-packed, with two full exhibition days at the SciTech Festival in addition to presentations at Batavia Coast Maritime Institute, Nagle Catholic College, Meekatharra School of the Air, Midwest Clontarf Academy, St. Lawrence School Bluff Point, Geraldton Grammar School, Leaning Tree Geraldton Community School, Yagloo Primary School at the Geraldton Camp School, and even a radio interview with Spirit FM.
We gave our first post-secondary level presentations at the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI). The presentation introduced why migratory species are difficult to study. Organisms like whales and sea turtles pose a conservation challenge because their migrations span ocean basins and cross multiple international boundaries. In light of the impacts humans have had on sea turtles historically (i.e. harvest and commercial fishing) as well as today, including unsustainable levels of fisheries by-catch, we can work towards conservation by actively monitoring and protecting populations and their habitats. After the presentation, we had the opportunity to explore BCMI and learn about the cool aquaculture and horticulture research being done there!
The SciTech Festival is a unique conference held each year to celebrate science and engage students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The Turtle Team was happy to spread the message of conservation, and how everyone can get involved in sea turtle research through recent advancements in technology. By downloading the ‘Turtle Tracker’ app, anyone with a smartphone can track the migrations of the females nesting in Gnaraloo’s rookeries at the same time scientists are receiving this information. In addition to exhibiting our monitoring efforts during nesting season, we emphasized the basics of satellite tracking and why it’s significant – not only from a biological perspective, but also because it’s a critical step towards conserving migratory species. Students were challenged to answer a few questions by following an interactive display of the migration routes, and all participants were entered to win a free Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation t-shirt. We had loads of fun at the festival, and hope we inspired some people to pursue opportunities in science and conservation!
The GTCP team would like to thank SciTech and everyone in Geraldton for a fantastic week!
– Kimberly Nielsen (GTCP 2015/16 Scientific Intern)