Training to Make a Difference

By Patrick Temperilli, Academic Affairs Marketing and Communications

Thursday night saw the new Waterfront Pavilion at Texas A&M University at Galveston packed tight with people.  Approximately 150 students and community members had shown up to the second of three training sessions looking to volunteer as sea turtle patrollers for the Upper Texas Coast Sea Turtle Patrol.

The trainings have been a huge success thus far and Dr. Christopher Marshall, professor of marine biology at TAMUG, is pleased to see so much enthusiasm.

“We had to pull in extra seating at the pavilion to fit everyone in,” said Dr. Marshall.

 sea turtle patroller training

Future volunteers attend sea turtle patroller training conducted by Padre Island National Seashore.

The training, provided by Padre Island National Seashore with assistance from TAMUG biologists, is designed to give people the skills, support and knowledge to identify signs of sea turtle activity, such as tracks leading to or from a nest.

TAMUG and the Turtle Island Restoration Network created the Upper Texas Coast Sea Turtle Patrol with the goal of aiding the recovery of endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, as well as monitoring and protecting all sea turtles in the region.

With Turtle Island Restoration Network coordinating the volunteer efforts, Dr. Marshall leads the TAMUG contingent of graduate and undergraduate responders, which provides biological assistance with nesting turtles and the excavation of nests.

These patrols are vital in that they assist in identifying and protecting sea turtle nests, allow the biologists and responders to collect valuable scientific data, and help locate stranded turtles.  The patrols are essential in assisting the recovery of the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, whose population plummeted in the latter half of the 20th century.

The last training session is tomorrow, Saturday, February 24th, from 9AM – 1PM at the Crystal Beach Fire Department on Bolivar Peninsula.  Attendance at one session is necessary for any volunteers who wish to participate in patrols, which begin April 1st and run through July 15th.  

Cynthia Rubio from Padre Island National Seashore

Cynthia Rubio from Padre Island National Seashore presenting to future volunteers attending sea turtle patroller training.

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