I started doing work with the Red Bellied Cooters a few short weeks ago. So far I’m loving it. I get to go home to my younger sister (who is a huge turtle lover) and brag about what I get to do all day.
I started an internship here through my school. Instead of going to class I get to come here every other week and do something that matters. At first this was just a way to get out of school, but now it’s grown into something much more than that. On the days that I get to come here I wake up happy because I know this job is important.
The Red Bellied Cooters are an endangered species, which is one of the reasons I love working with them. We currently have eight Red Bellies. Each day I get to empty and clean their tank, fill their tank, feed the turtles, and take care of them. It’s not a clean, or even easy, job, but it’s one that needs to be done. I feel lucky that I get to be the one that does it.
Sometimes I get to work with Penny, a diamond back terrapin. Her shell is badly damaged so she has to be well cared for. It has been interesting to learn about her and the great lengths that everyone goes to making sure she is healthy. Between her diet, her tank cleaning, and her medicine, Penny is one well looked after girl.
My work here has been different than my work at other places. There is a lot of responsibility and trust that the employers give to me. On my very first day I was asked to lock up. I’ve already trained someone. Being young most people wouldn’t trust me to do things like this. However, the people here at the Nation Marine Life Center have always treated me with respect, which makes it easy to do the same from them.
Working with the Red Bellies has been a very rewarding experience, and I can’t wait to do more of it, but working with the people is really the best part.