Archive for the ‘Sea Turtle Camp News’ Category

Nocturnal Adaptations

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

racoonSight: Nocturnal animals have three main adaptations regarding sight. The first is large eyes.  Large eyes with a wider pupil can collect more ambient light. The second are plentiful rod cells.  There are two main types of vision cells, rods which sense light and cones which sense color. A nocturnal animal’s retinas are composed almost entirely of rods. This allows the animal to see much better in the dark at the expense of seeing color. The third is tapetum lucidum (means bright carpet). This is a layer of cells beneath the retina that acts like a mirror reflecting light back into the rod cells.  It is because of this that a nocturnal animal’s eyes seem to glow in the dark.

GRSM_NightOpossumHearing: Nocturnal animals have two adaptations regarding their hearing.  The first are cupped ears which allow the animal to take in more sound. The second is asymmetrical hearing which allows the animal to hear separately with each ear to tell where things are. We can simulate these effects by cupping our ears.  You can try it by cupping one ear forward and one ear backward to simulate this effect.

batEcholocation: Some nocturnal animals, such as bats, have echolocation. How echolocation works is the animal produces a high pitched sound wave which reflects off of all objects and returns to the animal. The animal can tell how big the object is and how far away it is by the intensity and pitch of the echo. Large things give off a high intensity and small things give off a low intensity. Objects that are close have a higher pitch whereas objects that are far away will have a lower pitch. Now would be a good time to play bat and moth. Have one student be the bat another be the moth and have the remaining students form a circle around them. When the bat claps once the moth must clap twice. The goal is for the bat to catch the moth and the moth to stay away from the bat as long as possible.

foxSmell: Many nocturnal animals such as foxes and raccoons have an acute sense of smell. A fox or raccoon’s sense of smell is comparable to our own sense of sight. This allows the animal to find food many miles away. Sea turtle nest are often disturbed by these animals, they will dig down into the sand and consume and entire nest of eggs.

bioBioluminescence: Bioluminescence is the ability of an organism to produce its own light. This can be used for communication, locating food/attracting prey, and self-defense.  You can find an example of bioluminescence down by the water. Have the kids scratch the wet sand and they will see flashes of light. These are phytoplankton they are signaling to each other warning that danger is near.

Antifreeze Fish

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

fishThe waters surrounding the earth’s southern most pole hover just above the freezing point (-2 degrees Celsius). As one of the most extreme environments on earth not many animals call this icy sea home, but there is a species of fish called Antarctic notothenioids that make your polar plunge look like amateur hour.

Most fish fluids (blood and body fluid) freeze at -1 degrees Celsius so in order to survive the positively sub-zero temperatures of the Antarctic sea the Notothenioids had to evolve some very peculiar adaptation to avoid literally freezing from the inside out!

Fish feed on microscopic phytoplankton found floating in the ocean, in polar regions this means they also inadvertently ingesting small ice particles. Ice crystals grow, even inside the fished body, so for a normal fish this would be a death sentence. However Notothenioids produce a type of internal antifreeze that binds to the ingested ice crystals and prevents them from growing.

fish 2The antifreeze glycoprotein allows these fish to dominate the oxygen rich Antarctic waters. Due to the cold this region lacks the biodiversity of more temperate regions, though it hasn’t always been that way. Historically the area we know today at the Antarctic was warmer and supported a more diverse array of life, but around 5-15 million years ago this shifted and as the region cooled allowing one ancestral Notothenioids evolved into the 120+ species we recognize today.

Sea Turtle Camp Recommend Reading

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

DahlThe Boy who Talked with Animals by Roald Dahl. 

(1977). People of all ages have been drawn to master storyteller Roald Dahl as he creates worlds of whimsy and creativity. In this fictional short story, a young boy traveling to Jamaica has his environmental conscience sparked by conversations with a captured sea turtle.


ForsythCaught in the Net: The Conflict between Shrimpers and Conservationists by Anthony Margavio, Craig Forsyth, Shirley Laska, and James Mason.

A significant threat facing sea turtles in southeastern United States is their deadly interactions with fishing equipment, in particular shrimp trawls. This account looks at the differing perspectives of shrimpers, conservationists, policy makers, and government enforcement agencies.


kurlanskyCod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky.

Penguin Books (1998). The historic rise and fall of cod from dinner table to international conflict to fishery in decline provides an engaging perspective on the collapse of an industry. For further reading on global fisheries decline consider Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg.


OshaFire in the Turtle House: The Green Sea Turtle and the Fate of the Ocean by Osha Gray Davidson.

Perseus Books (2003). Turtles face a wide variety of man-made threats, from development of nesting beaches to fisheries interactions. This work looks at the mysterious disease that is infecting greater numbers of turtles and tries to determine if we are the cause.


carlHoot by Carl Hiaasen

Knoph Books (2002). Teenagers really can make a difference. Follow this fictional story about a Florida kid and his friends who become concerned with the mysterious disappearance of endangered owls in their community. Reading about how they go up against a major organization in the name of conservation will hopefully inspire you.


JackSearch for the Great Turtle Mother by Jack Rudloe

Great Outdoors Publishing (2003). This non-fiction work combines a passionate search for turtles around the globe, while entwining it with folklore about. This travelogue seeks to understand turtle navigation, while providing historical insight and conservation ethic from indigenous groups in Central America and Asia.



Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans by Sylvia Earle

Ballantine Books (1996). Read about first-hand accounts and perspectives from one of the most famous female oceanographers. Her years of experience, provide a good description of current marine science issues.


CarrSo Excellent a Fish, A Natural History of Sea Turtles by Archie Carr

University of Florida Press (1967). This is one of the seminal books on sea turtle research from the most influential scientist in the field. This book gave many present conservationists the inspiration to study turtles, and Carr’s personal accounts are insightful and often humorous.


SafinaVoyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth’s Last Dinosaur by Carl Safina

Henry Holt and Co. (2006). While not dealing with our most common species, the loggerhead, this book chronicles the life history of leatherback sea turtles – the biggest of all sea turtle species. Many of the threats facing leatherbacks are the same as the ones affecting all sea turtle species.

2014 Camper Reviews

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

141Sea Turtle Camp was AMAZING! It was an awesome experience for everyone including me. The instructors were so nice, kind, fun to be around and punny. I learned so much about marine life found in North Carolina. Working with the sea turtles at the hospital opened up my eyes that I need to start helping the ocean even more so that these beautiful creatures can have a better life. This camp has really inspired me, and got me out of my comfort zone. I made lots of new friends and grew as a person. I also felt more independent and now I know that dish soap doesn’t go in the dishwasher. I had an amazing time with the campers and sea turtles. It was awesome! – Sydney M. Wyoming

Sea Turtle Camp was an unforgettable experience!! I’ve had so much fun this week and I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime. Even though my time here was short, that’s okay because some infinities are bigger than other infinities (tfios)! I will always remember my time here. If I was surfing in the waves, or finding Dane (the sea turtles) spot he likes to be brushed, everything about camp was amazing! The counselors taught in a very interactive way, and it was really cool because while they were teaching you, you were also teaching them. We also had amazing food! And I thought that the campers would be crabby (ahh, ahh) but they weren’t, they were all super nice! And the counselors were awesome!!!! They were very nice and I liked the puns we created! I hope I can come back again!” – Desirae D, Florida

IMG_5699Sea Turtle Camp was an amazing and wonderful experience. My favorite part was going to the sea turtle hospital. My favorite turtles were Scottie, Park, Wiggles, and October. I loved getting a chance to see what goes on with the turtles. I also really enjoyed the surf lessons. I have never surfed before and I ended up really liking it. All of the counselors were really nice. They were like campers but older. All of my cabin buddies were amazing. I made tons of friends.  I liked seeing the turtle lay eggs at night!The camp was so much fun. – Kelcey H, Ohio

Sea Turtle Camp was “inseine”! Leatherbacks group was the best and I had a great time. I learned a lot during activities but also had buckets of fun.  I formed great bonds with everyone in my cabin. Once of my favorite things we did was work at the sea turtle hospital. Seeing what could happen to the turtles if we didn’t be careful was very powerful. I also really enjoyed the fouling docks and learning about the organisms present. – Alex S, Maryland

IMG_1628Sea Turtle camp was amazing! I honestly had such an awesome time. The activities were a perfect balance of active and relaxing and I was never bored. I had such a great time helping at the sea turtle hospital! I feel like I learned so much, and it was really only 6 days. Camp felt like a month – we did so much and I feel like I got to know everyone in our group. Leatherbacks are the best. I could not have asked for a better group. The instructors were really nice and funny! All in all, I had such a great time! I’m so glad I got to come – best camp ever. – Sarah S, Georgia

Sea turtle camp was a really great experience.  From the time I got off the air plane all of the counselors and campers were great.  When I met my roommates we immediately became friends.  On the way to activities our constant naptime was hilarious!  Seine netting, surfing, paddleboarding, and the aquarium were a lot of fun. All of the other campers and counselors made these experiences a hundred percent better.  Helping with the sea turtle hospital really reinforced what I would like to eventually do with my life.  It took me only a few minutes for me to get comfortable with all the counselors. I am really going to miss everyone. – Diana N, Florida

DSC_3717Sea turtle camp was an amazing time!  I had so much fun doing the activities with the people and the counselors were awesome!  The other kids were fun to hang out with and I had so much fun with them as well. I especially liked the surfing and the sea turtle hospital.  I loved bathing the turtles and taking care of them.  One thing that surprised me was that I loved doing the outreach.  Before I did not enjoy public speaking that much, but after the event I kept wanting to do it!  I definitely want to do this again especially in Hawaii or Costa Rica!  There will never be another group as awesome as the leatherbacks!  I also can’t believe that we saw two turtle nests!  It was so cool! I will never forget this experience.” – Nina G, Marylan


2014 Camper Reviews

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

IMG_1318Sea turtle camp was an amazing experience with a perfect balance of education and fun!  This was my first time at a summer camp, but homesickness was not an issue because of the helpful counselors and my funny and kind fellow campers.  I was worried because of my severe allergy to gluten but the camp provided me with filling snacks and three hardy meals a day.  My favorite parts of the camp were the seine netting catching shark on the pier, surfing, and of course the sea turtle hospital.  Also every night we had family time where all the campers gather together and bond even closer.  I came away from Sea Turtle Camp with an increased love of marine biology and memories that will last forever.  – Lucia H, Virginia

Sea Turtle Camp was unforgettable –  it could not have been better.  Every activity, lesson, or experience was beyond what I had imagined.  Though I am not a morning person, the full schedule was something I looked forward to each day.  I have been to many day and overnight camps and this is by far my favorite.  The counselors were caring and compassionate people who were always ready to have a laugh, but were always serious enough to be prepared for each event. Sharing a room with 5 other girls brought us close as ever in a span of one week.  These are people that I want to stay in contact with. – Becca C, Connecticut IMG_3780

What an amazing experience, one I will never forget.  I was able to retain so much new information and have fun at the same time.  Also the bonds you make with your group are so strong and it makes the camp enjoyable.  The counselors were amazing, funny, and gave us a lot of freedom when it came to our daily schedule.  I loved all of the enthusiasm they brought and how close I was able to get with them.  Our group became family and I had the best time at this camp!  – Leyla N, California

Sea Turtle Camp was an experience like no other.  Everything met my highest expectations.  Learning my true passion through this camp gives me opportunities that will benefit me in the future.  I not only love the education but my new family.  My family includes the amazing counselors, superb friends, and the turtles.  I will miss the camp and will apply next year.  I recommend this camp to anyone who wants to major in biology and who is searching for a good time. –  Hunter W, Ohio

Sea Turtle Camp was very thrilling/exciting everything we did from family time to collecting and learning about specimens.  I really like the hospital and all its great work.  The counselors were very kind and considered us before them.  This camp was really fun and I learned a lot.  All in all the campers, counselors, and other mentors made this the best week of my life. – James S, Indiana

Sea Turtle Camp was the best thing I have ever done.  I had so much fun learning about marine biology and working with the turtles at the hospital.  The counselors were the best.  I had such a great time. – Joseph S, Florida

Sea Turtle Camp truly an amazing experience. I loved getting to work hands on with both injured and recovering turtles. While I was here we even got to see a real loggerhead nest! I learned many things such as the term “cold-blooded” doesn’t mean the animal actually has cold blood. The term means that animal is exothermic, meaning they get their heat from outside resources. Humans are endothermic, which means we create our own heat. This camp was a great experience because everyone here is so nice and we did great activities like surfing and paddle boating. Overall, this is a great camp and I hope to come back next year.  – Lila Z, New Jersey


Sea Turtle Camp was…something I wish every single person who has a true passion for sea turtles and marine biology could have. It was so amazing. I loved being able to help sea turtles at the sea turtle hospital. This was a great experience that I would love to do another time. While I was here, I loved being able to make 11 new friends that HOPE I can keep in touch with for the rest of my life. So whoever is reading this, thank you so much for making this camp an experience of a lifetime.  – Harper B, New York

Sea Turtle Camp was the most fun I had over the summer.  I really enjoyed the work at the sea turtle hospital, helping out with the turtles and the people who take care of them.  Also learning about all the marine life and going out and catching them too, was the highlight. Most of all, the counselors were the best, funny, and very nice.  Surfing and playing sports on the beach was fun too.  – Dylan C, Virginia

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