Today, 28 February 2013, marked the windup of the Day Survey component of the Gnaraloo…
Before being selected to work with the Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program (GTCP), I worked as a volunteer intern for the Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program (STCRP) at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida (USA). Although interns are unpaid, it was a perfect opportunity for a biology graduate coming straight out of university to gain sea turtle experience and work with a large network of volunteers.
Whilst working with the GTCP, I successfully applied and was offered a job at Mote as a paid Seasonal Technician for the turtle nesting season in Florida (May – October 2012). Seasonal Technicians that work under the STCRP need to have completed an internship with the program the previous year. However, there are usually about 10 – 15 interns who are all trying to get selected for the 1 or 2 paid Seasonal Technician positions the following year.
I firmly believe that working with the GTCP as a volunteer helped me to be selected for the Seasonal Technician position at Mote. As it is very tough to get a paid job in the biological sciences immediately after graduating from university, many graduates either undertake a further Masters or PhD degree or work as unpaid interns / volunteers for different organizations or government positions all over the world.
So, after volunteering with 2 different programs in the USA and Western Australia for a year, I finally have my first paid biological job after leaving university! After working with the STCRP during 2012, I plan to go back to university to earn my Master’s degree in conservation management.
As a Seasonal Technician at Mote, I will be responsible for training the new interns on how to identify turtle tracks and nests as well as the protocols used when verifying nests, relocating nests, rescuing hatchlings and excavating nests, just to name a few. Mote’s sea turtle program is one of the most established in the United States and has recorded data for the past 30 years. Over the years, the STCRP has:
- monitored 27,543 sea turtle nests on 35 miles of beach;
- documented 24,942 unsuccessful nesting attempts (i.e. adult females that return to sea without nesting);
- protected 5,388 nests from predators;
- tagged 4,038 nesting turtles;
- protected 2,088,865 turtle eggs; and
- documented the births of 1,499,946 sea turtle hatchlings!
My experience working with the GTCP has certainly helped me on my path to paid work and will hopefully do the same when I apply to graduate school later during 2012.
Good luck to everyone intending to apply to work with Gnaraloo during their season 2012/13. Hope you get the job!!
Cheers, Ex turtle Bobby