Research classes are in full gear as students put together the results sections of their projects and start to assemble their final posters. Here's what student Lane Kearney had to say about her Turtle project. One by one we toss our fins and snorkels onto the Scute, a small, single engine motorboat. We all pile in and position ourselves so all 8 of our eyes are on the water. The search now begins. Green turtles are hard to spot in this creek. Underneath the still aqua water, sits an array of coral blocks. While the boat is moving, it is easy to mistake these stationary objects as sea turtles. We all keep our eyes transfixed on the oceans surface until one of us shouts, “Turtle!!” This is when the excitement begins. I double check to make sure my fins are securely on my feet. I grab my mask, and speedily put it on my face. I fling my legs over the side of the tiny boat, and wait for Annabelle’s voice. “Go!!” I use my hands to propel myself into the warm waters. As soon as I hit, my arms and legs start moving as fast as I can. There is one thing on my mind, “catch the turtle.” My arms pierce through the water as I power myself towards the turtle. The turtle is using all its might to get as far away from me as it can; I won’t give up.

He finally dips down into the water and then starts to make his way to the surface for a breath, this is my chance. I reach my arms out, and grab under his front flippers, the turtle’s strongest joint. I have him in my hands. He fusses and moves his flippers around in all directions. As he is squirming frantically in my hands, the Scute makes its way through the water to help me. Annabelle relieves me from the stressful moment by grabbing the green sea turtle out of my hands. We place him on the boat, and transfer him to the lap of another member of the research group. We ensure the turtle’s comfort by placing him gently on an orange life jacket, keeping steady hands on the front flippers. We take the measurements that we need to gather for our study. It is then time to put the little guy back where he belongs: the clear sparkling water. We all watch as he is slipped back into his environment. He happily paddles away. Another successful day in the life of the Juvenile Green Sea Turtle research group.

-Lane Kearney

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