Time to learn about another of our hard-working summer interns, Scott Wolfe. Scott is the most “senior” of our senior interns having changed career paths while navigating through his years at the University of Delaware in Newark. He started in Environmental Engineering which he said was “OK, but not quite what I wanted. I kept trying to make it work because I didn’t want to give up. But when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer I took time off to focus on her recovery and to spend more time with the family.” During that time Scott was taking continuing education classes and working three jobs, including six years as a life guard. One of the classes he took was called (no kidding) “Life’s A Beach.” Scott noted that weirdly enough after taking that class sea turtles kept popping up all over the place. “There were images of sea turtles wherever I looked. There was no explanation for it. It wasn’t like I was searching them out. But then I decided to actually start researching them.” The turning point was after a long conversation with another turtle lover when he recognized that “sea turtles owe their longevity to persevering through tough times, and that’s exactly what I was going through.”
Scott had been coming to the North Carolina beaches over the years but had never visited the turtle hospital. When he started looking at opportunities that complemented his new interest he found our internship. “I like hard work and getting my hands dirty. I expected to be doing a lot of feeding and cleaning but this internship is ten times more than my expectations. The interactions of the turtles with the volunteers is just amazing. I’m in awe. And I get to work with my hero, Jean. Volunteers at this hospital are definitely what the rest of society should be like; willing to lend an extra hand to something important.”
After three releases where he watched the crowds cheering the turtles on Scott notes that “there is something deep down in people that makes them really want to care. They came to the release to see a happy ending, to see something that matters and that the world isn’t so bad after all.”
If you’ve been in to visit you’ve seen Scott “in action” – he loves doing tours and “I especially love seeing the faces on the kids light up.” His goal is to get everyone to understand just how important the ocean is to all living creatures. He’ll head back to school as a rising senior with a degree in Marine Biology. Scott feels that will allow him to combine his love of the ocean with his love of physical labor. “I’d love to do field work because I’m definitely a hands-on person. I’m willing to do anything, anything to start out, and I hope to be able to come back to NC after I graduate.”
We’ll continue with our summer tour schedule for the next few months. We are open daily (except Wednesdays and Sundays) from noon to 4 p.m. Lines can be long so bring umbrellas for shade and lots of water to stay hydrated. And please continue to report any sea turtle activity (nestings, strandings, injuries) to Terry Meyer at 910-470-2880, Jean Beasley at 910-470-2800 or the NC Stranding Hotline at 252-241-7367. We will also pick up on our hospital line, 910-329-0222, during regular hours.
Karen Sota is the volunteer media coordinator for the Sea Turtle Hospital in Topsail Beach.