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Sea turtle talk

St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Visit

Things are in full swing here at Gnaraloo as we head into our second month of on-ground monitoring. The past few weeks have also seen us undertake regular Night Surveys in order to observe our turtles as they nest, and on Monday 2 December we were fortunate enough to have the Year 10 class of St. Mary’s Star of the Sea, Carnarvon, join the research team.

This was our first upper high school visit of the year and we were keen to give a new presentation about the GTCP and have the students join us on a Night Survey. So after a slow bus ride to 6Mile gate and a bumpy ride to BP7, the students were on the beach and ready to observe some nesting. We had been seeing multiple turtles each night in the week leading up to the school visit, so were confident in seeing one that night.

Apparently a little too confident, as the students left the beach having glimpsed not a single turtle. It was poor luck that only after the school group left that a turtle made its way onto the beach to nest. The learning experience was not lost however, with students being taught about the different tracks and animals we also encounter on the beach, as well as learning about our sampled nests and marveling at Ronan and Andy’s new found beach walking prowess.

While staying at Gnaraloo station the students were able to enjoy some snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding down at Gnaraloo Bay. Although not being able to see a turtle, the students did learn about Gnaraloo Station and many different facets of marine turtle conservation.

We all were very excited about having such enthusiastic students come and learn about the Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program. It was a pleasure to have St. Mary’s Star of the Sea visit us and show such a great interest in turtles. We would like to wish the students at St Mary’s Star of the Sea all the best for their end of year studies and hope they have a great Christmas holiday.

Andy Leach

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