During the recent winter storms in Texas this February, my team and I were also a part of a massive effort to save thousands of sea turtles affected by the cold water. This is known as a cold stun event and can happen when water temperatures go below 50° F. When this occurs sea turtles heart rates slow and they can go into hypothermic shock, making it difficult for them to move. If cold temperatures are severe it can eventually lead to death. This specific event was the largest cold stun ever recorded with over 12,500 sea turtles affected. Different organizations, volunteers, and rehabilitation facilities came together to aid during this unprecedented time.
My first internship after graduating college was with the Bald Head Island Conservancy and this experience shaped who I am as a biologist today. I took with me the knowledge and training I received from BHIC and applied that to other projects and programs. I didn’t know after my last night patrol on Bald Head whether I would ever work with sea turtles again, but I’m happy to say that it was just the beginning.