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Defender of the Sea Turtle

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Courtesy of Cornell Chronicle - Sept. 28, 2007
Contributed by: Julie Greco,
Assoc. Director of Athletic Communications

Last summer, Katie Bradshaw spent every day on the beach. The senior co-captain of the Big Red field hockey team interned for the North Carolina State Parks Department in a program that helps preserve the loggerhead sea turtle population at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.

Bradshaw rose early each morning and arrived at the beach at 6 am to search for turtle tracks that led to potential nests. Once a nest was found, Bradshaw would dig to determine if eggs were present and if they were, she would rebury them, cover the area with a large wire cage and post signs to keep people away. She also gave daily "Turtle Talks", ran educational programs for summer groups and tourists, and coordinated a "nest sitting" program for volunteers to come out a night and ensure that, once hatched, the turtles made it safely to sea.

"I really enjoyed the combination of being able to educate the public about a threatened species, while actively being involved in helping the species," Bradshaw said. "Being on the beach and helping protect those nests was really important, but educating the public was equally important because ultimately it is the people that have the power to help protect this species and make changes."

A student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Bradshaw is majoring in science of earth systems with a concentration in ocean sciences, and she hopes to go on to study environmental law.

To follow Katie's journey - and view a video about the internship - visit the local Wilmington, N.C. ABC affiliate station WWAY News Channel 3 website.

- A.S.