The Fat Lady is Singing

Kirstie holds one of the NMLC sea turtle patients
Kirstie holds one of the NMLC sea turtle patients upon admission

So this is it, my final days working here at NMLC.  For those of you who might not know me, I signed on with NMLC as the fall/winter intern and have been working here on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays since September.  Before I started my internship here, my only significant accomplishment was graduating from college.  I had never worked with animals, let alone wild ones, never held a job or volunteer position with any marine conservation organizations, nor had I ever even seen a seal on the beach.  So when I came here in August ready to start building a career in marine animal conservation, I was asking for a pretty big favor seeing as I had absolutely no experience besides an education.

Eight months later, I guess it would be an understatement saying that I learned a great deal after interning here.  Every experience was new.  Everything from cleaning a small turtle tank to performing water quality tests were new tasks I had never done before.  I learned how to prep food; feed seals and sea turtles; administer vitamins and medications; and record witnessed behaviors and notes from exams.  I learned about our life support systems, how to do water changes, and how to get daily water quality data.  As I mentioned above, I learned how to do the weekly water quality tests and run coliforms and then read the coliforms.  However, the most exciting learning experiences were definitely

Ichabod, the seal Kirstie worked with the most!
Ichabod, the seal Kirstie worked with the most!

learning how to perform the treatments.  During my time here I gave topical eye ointments, intramuscular injections, and subcutaneous fluids.  I treated open wounds on seals with chlorohex solution, and I was here the day our Kemps Ridley Sea Turtles arrived.  Participating in the admissions exams for the Kemp’s Ridleys was a very exciting and memorable day.  I particularly enjoyed taking carapace and plastron measurements, heart and respiration rates, and internal temperatures.

Interning at NMLC and learning everything I did about this type of work has definitely been an amazing experience, but what really makes my time here special were the volunteers and staff that worked alongside me.  I would like to personally thank Kate, Belinda, and Kathy for being my teachers.


Posted by Kirstie B.
Kirstie is a Spring, 2014 Intern at the National Marine Life Center. She recently graduated from Smith College with a major in Biology.