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Sea Turtle Camp, Wilmington
Categories: Wildlife Areas, Nature & Parks
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My daughter attended the Marine Biology experience this summer. It was her first time away from home for that long of a time period and with NO phone!! The counselors did a great job of posting pix ea... read more »
Hawaii camp is VERY expensive, and overall was a terrible experience for my child. The web site is very misleading and campers are taken to malls and flea markets. Its understaffed and under trained. ... read more »
I went to the marine biology adventure on July 31 for a week in North Carolina and it was the best experience ever! It was so much fun and everyone was very nice. At first I was worried about being aw... read more »
Sea Turtle Camp has been the highlight of my summer, for two, soon to be three years. Sea turtles and marine biology have always been what I want to devote my life to, so to be able to go to a place surrounded by people who share and respect my love for the ocean is extraordinary. My favorite Sea Turtle Camp memory is vividly deep-seated in my mind. The first year I attended Camp, I saw a momma turtle lay her eggs. At the apartments, we got the call at midnight that she was coming up the beach. All campers and counselors were in the van in four minutes. I remember throwing on dark colored clothes, my nearest shoes, and racing down the hallway, down the stairs, across the street and into the van. When we got to the beach, we watched in silence as she pulled herself up out of the surf and began to dig a hole in the sand. The only noise was the rustling earth and the crashing waves in the dead of night. As I watched, I was emotionally moved, tears streaming down my face as the one thing I was truly passionate about was right in front of me. I didn’t care that it was midnight. I didn’t care that my hair looked like a rat’s nest on top of my head. I didn’t care that my toe was bleeding from tripping up the beach-access stairs. The only thing I cared about, in that moment and forever, is that the turtle laying her eggs-and every turtle after her-was and will be safe, cared for and protected. This experience was single handedly the most life-changing event I’ve participated in. It proved to myself that this is what I was born to do, and although people have told me many things that can go wrong with a marine biology major, it is what I will study in college, as well as dedicate my life to. I cannot even begin to thank Sea Turtle Camp for giving me exposure to the wonderful world of Sea Turtle Conservation.
I love sea turtles just as much as the next future marine biologist, or environmentalist may. The thing for me is, I’m from Minnesota so I don’t have a lot of opportunities to study the sea on a regular basis without resorting to google or a documentary. At Sea Turtle Camp, it was a different story for me. All of the amazing creatures that I had read about online, and that made me gasp in awe while on vacations were only miles away from me. One morning my camp counselor, Lauren, woke everyone up early and told us we were going to check out a sea turtle nest that was just about to be marked! I got to see what sea turtle eggs were really like, and even see the whole process behind helping protect them! Later that day I got to get some volunteer hours in, while also being able to help out at a pretty amazing turtle rescue and rehabilitation center. That’s where I met the first sea turtle that I can say without a doubt captured my heart. His name was Alvin. Working with each of the patients at the center was a special experience, but working with Alvin every time we visited was my favorite thing about the hospital. I loved him the most because when all the other sea turtles would flap and freak out if an intern or volunteer tried to do something with them, Alvin would just act so chill and relaxed. He had a personality like my lazy dog back home, Blaze, and it just made him so much cuter. It’s funny how when you are so far from home, something like a sweet unknowing turtle can be what reminds you of all the little things you’ve been missing. Taking a trip so far from home was completley worth it! Going to North Carolina taught me so much about sea turtles, my dreams for the future, and myself. After returning home from my awesome adventure at camp, I will truly never forget Alvin and my greatest ocean memories yet!
Having the opportunity to go on a Sea Turtle Camp adventure was a dream come true. I have always loved the ocean, and I constantly strive to find ways to return to it. After spending lengthy time researching for the ideal summer adventure, I stumbled upon Sea Turtle Camp. I instantly knew that it was the summer experience that I was looking for. After my long flight, excitement and anticipation overwhelmed me until I met up with my group. They instantly made me feel welcomed, and I could not wait for what was to come. Over the course of the next two weeks at Sea Turtle Camp Hawaii, I experienced a multitude of eye opening activities. We regularly volunteered at Sea Life Park Hawaii, where I was able to feed, care for, and record the sea turtles’ data. Being around the juvenile turtles was continually fascinating and had to have been one of my favorite activities. Learning about the baby sea turtles in person was especially inspiring. We tagged them and promptly released them to the ocean in the dead of night, when their predators are less threatening. Snorkeling the reefs that skirt Oahu was also amazing. Lush underwater gardens full of vibrant corals and colorful fish surrounded you; I struggled to contain my excitement just to take it all in. Hanauma bay, and Waimea bay, were two of my favorite places to snorkel. I was so glad that snorkeling was one of our regular activities. We even were able to swim with sharks, as well as stingrays, at Sea Life Park Hawaii, which was a huge adrenaline rush! Altogether my experience at Sea Turtle Camp Hawaii was unforgettable. I made memories that stick with me to this day. I am glad to say that I am still in contact with every member of the camp. Sea Turtle Camp confirmed for me how much I love the ocean and the amazing creatures that live in and around it, and I hope that it can do the same for you, too.
On our first day I remember sitting down with the rest of the new campers, all awkward and brimming with nervous excitement. Then one of the campers started talking about why we were there: we all loved the ocean, and we wanted to learn how to care for the creatures in it. By the end of that night we already had begun a great friendship. Our counselors shared stories of their experiences that inspired envy and admiration in the the campers. They were friendly and thoughtful, quick to offer helpful advice to campers struggling with a difficult high school or the anatomy of a loggerhead. One of my favorite memories was volunteering at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and working alongside hospital interns that had attended the very same camp as me just a few years previous. We saw first-hand what it takes to run a wild animal hospital and what it takes to nurse a sick sea turtle back to the wild. Every sea turtle experience was enchanting, bonding with a turtle by learning about their injury, recovery, personality, and how the hospital was helping them was moving. I even got to administer medicine to a sea turtle’s carapace! Later in the week we were able to listen to perhaps the most illuminating and exciting lecture I’ve ever heard. All of the campers were gathered into UNCW classroom and listened to a professor speak passionately about plastics in our ocean. The professor detailed how plastic enters our oceans and upsets things on a very big scale. Everyone in that class, I included, walked off of campus with a new role model. The most fun I had that week was learning to surf and find the thrill of catching a wave. Being out on a board over clear, warm water surrounded by a great view and even better friends gave me a strong sense of contentment. Campers bonded over the ocean and ice-cream cones, a year later we’re still close friends. Sea Turtle Camp was a good time- rich in knowledge and in friendship.
The summer of 2015 I made my first trip to Sea Turtle Camp. I was so nervous but very excited at the same time. On the second day of camp we visited the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital. When we got to the hospital, we took a tour and were assigned our groups. I was assigned to mop first but that meant I would get to clean the turtle’s tanks. They showed me how to use the brush and how to get all of the food out of their tanks. While we were cleaning, the staff wanted us to be with a volunteer. Later, a different volunteer pulled me aside and let me clean a little juvenile green sea turtle’s tank. I learned that this adorable little turtle’s name was Valor. I was excited to be able to clean her tank on my own. As I was guiding the net and brush Valor continued to bump the brush. A few minutes later the volunteer came back and told me I could pet her. At the time I didn’t even realize that turtles liked to be rubbed. I started to pet her shell and her little fins would start flapping up and down in the water. Later that week I came to feed her and she came straight up to me and her fins flapped again. Every time I came over to her tank she would come to the surface. I was so amazed that I had connected with a turtle just as Ms. Jean said I would. Later I learned that Valor could not be released due to a air pocket in her shell that makes her float. I wish that she could be released but I know that my favorite turtle will be able to touch other people as she did me. I can’t wait to visit her and the hospital again this summer.
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