On Friday, January 23, the Sea Turtle Research Team was joined by the Grade 7 students from Deep Creek Middle School. The day was started by reviewing the biology of different species of sea turtles and talking about why sea turtle species are declining. The effects that humans are having on sea turtles worldwide were also discussed, as well as what students can do to protect the threatened species. The knowledge that DCMS students already had about sea turtles and their habitats was impressive!
Two boats loaded with research gear and students eager to learn were taken out with the help of Ron, the Boathouse Manager. The group traveled to Starved Creek, one of the CEI Turtle Team's study locations, and upon arrival the students geared up in masks, snorkels, and fins to explore the mangroves and the organisms that use this area. Despite the cold there was no complaining and the students had a lot of fun! While they were snorkeling, the research team headed out in a small skiff to try and catch a turtle so that the students could experience a work-up of the turtle’s physiological measurements and see one of these beautiful animals up close.
Almost immediately, Ron spotted a green sea turtle and James Murray, a sea turtle research intern, caught the turtle. The turtle was brought onboard and transferred to one of the larger boats so that DCMS students could all watch and assist with the data collection and measurements of the turtle. Luckily for the group, this turtle was a recapture, which means it had already been caught last year and tagged. This means that valuable growth rate information is now known for "Tim" too. Everyone had an amazing and fun-filled morning. For some students, it was their first time ever seeing a sea turtle and made for a memorable experience.
CEI would like to thank the DCMS students and teachers for accompanying our Turtle Team, and looks forward to more opportunities to work in the field in the future!