2019 Intern Project Symposium

The BHI Conservancy is pleased to announce the
2019 Intern Project Symposium
 
When:   Friday August 9 – 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Where:  Fleming Classroom on the BHI Conservancy Campus
 
We hope you can join us to celebrate a successful summer before our interns depart.  Lunch and refreshments will be provided following the event.
 
Presentation Schedule
 
9:00     Opening Remarks

Session 1 – Sea Turtle, Communications, and Conservation Projects

9:05     Carapace Measurements of Legacy Turtles on BHI – Brandon Epperson & Jess Dubman
9:20     Decadal Shifts in Nesting Density - Rylie MacDonald & Adrianna Burrows
9:35     Red Light Awareness – Megan Reed & Ken Perry
9:50     Hatchling Nature Quiz – Bridget Williams
10:05   Shorebird Species Richness, Distribution, & Abundance on BHI – Alli Schumacher & Jules Ofalt
10:20   Break

Session 2 – Retail and Education Projects

10:30   New and Improved Turtle Central Website – Kristen Garvey
10:45   Creative Collaborations – Nancy Goodes & Sarah Tolve
11:00   Bald Head Island Flora – Abby Branstetter
11:15   Increasing Student-Centeredness for Reptile Roundup – Cameron Good
11:30   BHI Conservancy Campus QR Code Tour – Grace Lackmann & Sydney Goldstein
11:45   New and Improved Educational Programs – Caylie Harris
12:00   Final Remarks and Lunch
 
 
 
Project Summaries
 
Session 1 – Sea Turtle, Communications, and Conservation Projects
 
Carapace Measurements of Legacy Turtles on Bald Head Island
Brandon Epperson & Jess Dubman
Brandon and Jess are looking at historical records of carapace measurements of our legacy sea turtles.  The goal is to examine whether sea turtle growth rates are constant, or if they begin to plateau as loggerhead sea turtles get older.  The ultimate goal of this work would be developing a tool to estimate a female nester’s age. 
 
Decadal Shifts in Nesting Density 
Rylie MacDonald & Adrianna Burrows
Rylie and Adrianna are analyzing the nesting density of Loggerhead sea turtles on Bald Head Island and seeing if it is shifting to different beaches over the past couple of decades.  If the nesting density is shifting, variables such as beach re-nourishments projects, shifting magnetic field, and hurricanes will be examined.
 
Red Light Awareness
Megan Reed & Ken Perry
The use of white light during sea turtle nesting season has been an ongoing concern on Bald Head Island (BHI) as it can deter nesting mothers from laying eggs or disorient hatchlings. While patrolling, the sea turtle team distributes red cellophane to tourists using white light on the beach and educate them about the light restrictions. However, the red cellophane is fairly ineffective at masking white light and is a single-use plastic, so it is not the most sustainable solution. The goal of this project is to a) find reusable alternatives to the red cellophane and b) to spread awareness to tourists and homeowners about the importance of red light use on BHI.  This project could potentially mitigate the widespread use of white light on beaches at night, helping the sea turtles and allowing the sea turtle interns to better focus on their beach patrol duties.
 
Hatchling Nature Quiz
Bridget Williams
Bridget designed a 10-question quiz to introduce users to the nature on BHI and reinforce some of the basic environmental stewardship practices that we educate about in our programs.  In this quiz, for every two questions answered correctly, a hatchling on the screen will move farther from its nest cage and closer to the ocean.  For the presentation, Bridget will walk attendees through the process of designing and coding a web application from an idea to a functional prototype.  This process can be used for many programs and long-distance learning allowing Bald Head Island to reach classrooms anywhere in the world.
 
Shorebird Species Richness, Distribution & Abundance on Bald Head Island
Alli Schumacher & Jules Ofalt
Alli and Jules organized and analyzed the Conservancy’s shorebird survey data from the last five years. The process included organizing the data into a consistent format that could be easily manipulated in statistical software. Using R programming and by completing a six-week online statistics course, Alli and Jules addressed questions about the trends of shorebird abundance and species richness and distribution by month, year and transect location.
 

Session 2 – Retail and Education Projects

New & Improved Turtle Central Website
Kristen Garvey
Kristen will be utilizing her communications experience to create a new e-commerce website with revamped images and product descriptions. The project will improve the customer experience with a more user-friendly shopping cart and improved inventory framework. Also, Kristen’s work to update product descriptions and pictures should increase SEO (search engine optimization) and online sales.  It is expected that results of her work will become apparent in the last quarter of 2019. 
 
Creative Collaborations
Nancy Goodes & Sarah Tolve (Community Partners Caroline Clavien & All About Art)
Nancy and Sarah worked with people outside of the Conservancy staff to create and publicize two educational fundraisers. It resulted in a “Paint & Learn” class with the All About Art studio and “Conservancy Zumba” classes with a former BHIC intern and current nest monitor.The kids Zumba sessions were sea turtle centered with creative activities focused on turtle life history while the adult classes were primarily offered as fundraisers.  
 
Bald Head Island Flora
Abby Branstetter
The objective of Abby’s project was to create a herbarium of the plants of Bald Head Island, including where they can be found, identification tips, and specific information about each.  Each page addresses a different plant that can be found on Bald Head Island, along with a pressed sample (collected by Abby) and details of where the sample was collected. This will be a helpful tool for future interns and visitors to more easily identify plants and learn about their uses, as well as become more familiar with the diverse vegetation of Bald Head Island and the plant composition of each habitat.
 
Increasing Student-Centeredness for Reptile Roundup
Cameron Good
Reptile Roundup is a well-established program at the Conservancy, but one that has been very lecture-oriented, or teacher-centered, which potentially limits learning and interest for kids attending the program.  To make the program more student-centered, games and other opportunities for kids to interact with each other were implemented. To evaluate the effects of these changes, responses were taken from kids before and after implementation, and interviews were conducted with the education interns. 
 
BHI Conservancy Campus QR Code Tour
Grace Lackmann & Sydney Goldstein
Grace and Sydney worked to create a series of 10 virtual informational posters for different spots of interest around the Conservancy's campus. These posters are accessible via any smartphone camera by scanning its unique QR code. Throughout the project, exhibits around campus were examined for the need for additional signage and evaluated for their ability to provide interesting and accurate information to the public in updated formats.
 
New & Improved Educational Programs
Caylie Harris
Caylie revised Tidal Explorations to make it more interactive for the participants.  The new activities included a touch and guessing game where children reach into a bag to guess what is inside, with items ranging from sand to large horseshoe crab shells.  Additionally, Caylie developed Sea Turtle Savvy, a program designed to help visitors learn more about sea turtles and the Conservancy’s Sea Turtle Protection Program. The idea behind Sea Turtle Savvy was to create another low-cost program option with activities focused on the anatomy, life cycle, and diet of sea turtles. This information helps the public understand why they are endangered and the importance of our STPP. 



 
 
 
 
 
 
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