Another week, another intern to introduce

Tracy Wangui

Intern Tracy Wangui’s interest in the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center was piqued when she visited as part of a group of students from the UNC Greensboro Office of Leadership Service and Learning.

Submitted photo
Published: Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 03:34 PM.

When Tracy Wangui walked into our hospital on the interns’ first day we thought, “She looks kind of familiar.” It turns out we actually had seen her here before. Several years ago she came with a group of students from UNC Greensboro’s Office of Leadership Service and Learning. According to Tracy , on that trip “the hospital grabbed me and just wouldn’t let go!”

We often have special groups spend time working with us for short periods as part of our commitment to education. Because we work with highly-regulated endangered species their participation is always limited to helping us with feeding, cleaning, general housekeeping and sometimes special projects involving our move to the new hospital. Tracy vividly remembers the massive pile of PVC pipe and fittings that had to be cleaned and sorted into bins for transport and storage. But she was betting that, if accepted as an intern, her hands-on experience would involve more turtles than plastic. She said she told our Director, Jean Beasley that she would be applying; “I’ll be back!”

After a month with us she has a newfound appreciation and respect for our year-round volunteers and is in awe of the amount of work and responsibility that goes into caring for and rehabilitating the sick and wounded. She exclaims, “I’ve never been this exhausted!”

She’s found this opportunity “amazing” and is “extremely happy” with her decision to return. She is studying three disciplines at UNCG (majoring in environmental biology with minors in chemistry and political science) and hoped that she could solidify a move in one of those directions. Now she says that the conservation of marine life, specifically coral reefs, is definitely in her future.    

So far the best part of the summer has been when she released little Kemp’s “Blue.” As she rode to the beach with Blue on her lap she says she smiled so much her cheeks hurt. She says it was great to be on “the other side of the crowd” this time, and she could feel the energy radiating off of them as she moved down to the surf. Although she was happy to send him home she says she worries about all the turtles we released, wonders where they are and if they’re OK. We know how that feels.

Tracy is originally from Nairobi , Kenya . but spent most of her life living various places up and down the east coast of the U.S. (“My mother likes to move!” she said). She’ll spend summer of 2014 studying abroad at James Cook University near Australia ’s Great Barrier Reef , where we’re sure she’ll make friends with even more sea turtles.

Hospital not open for tours



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