Alisia’s Exciting First Weeks At NMLC!

endangered species

When I  first learned that I had been accepted as a 2012 Summer Intern at the National Marine Life Center the words excited and overjoyed could not describe exactly how I felt. Being only in college for two going on three years, internships do not come easy and I was a bit nervous for my first day fearing I would “mess up”.

It took no time at all for me to feel right at home and as if I was apart of the NMLC crew. My fellow intern Sammy and I tagged along with Kathy and a few other volunteers to turn in the Red-Bellied Cooter hatchlings to the state so they could be examined, tagged, notched, and released within the following days. It was intriguing  to sit in on the presentation the head biologists had given about the Head Start program and its past years data as well as how well the turtles were doing. After all was said and done we returned to the center along with some new patients! We received a few cooters with metabolic bone disease as well as some fungal disease ones too. Right away I was put to work to set up comfortable tanks for our new turtles to reside in. When I had left the center that day I had already felt so accomplished and was looking forward to the future events.

The very next day I was back at NMLC to help promote the 100 cars for good event which required getting votes through Facebook in order to win a new Toyota car for the center for potential patient transportation and traveling to festivals for education programs. Unfortunately we did not win but was still awarded a prize regardless!! I enjoyed greeting visitors, giving tours of the center and the turtles, and explaining what the center was about. Overall I felt it was another successful and rewarding day that left me with a smile on my face as I drove home.

The Feet, Fins, and Flippers 5K Road Race was also an exciting and hectic day for the center. Volunteers and Interns were running all around to set up for the race and assist in any way possible. The funds raised for NMLC were essential and the race proved necessary as a fundraiser.

In the days that followed the weekend events, the  red-bellied cooter hatchling release  was occurring. Seeing all 150 turtles released was amazing to be a part of. After all the turtles were released we  had our own private release ceremony for Bruce, Pierce, and Vesuvius  who had long been awaiting their return to their natural habitat. Sophie, another intern, and I had the pleasure of releasing Vesuvius into the Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area, in Hanson, MA. After we let him go, he had scurried quickly through the water probably hoping we wouldn’t try and recapture him. I was appreciative the center allowed us that privilege and let us be a part of their moment with the turtles they worked hard to care for.

As a few weeks went by I have gotten accustomed to the routine of being at the center and happily have found a place as an efficient intern. Some days can be less hectic than others but recently I had been lucky enough to join Adele, a staff member, in investigating a whale sighting that was reported in Scusset Beach on the east end of the Cape Cod Canal. Adele and I jumped in the car and made our way to the beach. When we arrived we took a long walk to the end of the jetty that seemed to take forever. As we made our way we talked to many beach-goers wondering if they had also seen the whale. Most of the people had and were watching the white whale for most of the afternoon! When we were near the end of the jetty we were fortunate enough to see it as well. The white creature was surfacing every so often out of the water but not so much as a dolphin doing aerial jumps or a humpback whale breaching. It was just merely skimming the surface, teasing us with its white appearance but never enough so we could properly I.D it. We had proposed that it was a Beluga whale but that was hard to believe considering they are not native to these waters! We watched as it had swam in various, random areas until  we could no longer see it. We also went back the next morning to see if it had returned but we had no such luck. It was definitely the most exciting thing that has happened to me so far!

Since then the center has quieted down a bit but the interns and I are always busy cleaning and feeding along with the many other things we assist in! Rounds on Tuesdays with Dr. William always prove to be interesting and there really is not a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new from the staff or my fellow interns. I spend whole days here and they go by so fast because I am genuinely  enjoying the time I am spending here. The best part is the summer has only just started 🙂

Posted by Alisia T.
Alisia is a Summer, 2012 Intern at the National Marine Life Center.