Volunteer Gracyn Davis ‘re-ups’ as turtle hospital summer intern

Intern Gracyn Davis

Intern Gracyn Davis settles an ICU green down for her afternoon nap.

Published: Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 01:33 PM.

This self-proclaimed military brat isn’t new to the sea turtle game. In fact she’s been coming in to work every Sunday and Tuesday since last November. June through mid-August our regular volunteers get a much needed break once our interns make it through sea turtle boot camp. When Gracyn learned that her status as a “volunteer” would mean that her hands-on time with turtles would be greatly curtailed during the summer she found a way to keep on turtl’in — she signed up for our 12-week program!

Because she has been with us for a while she’s been a great help in acclimating the new recruits and passing along the backstories of our patients. After our series of June releases (where Grayson freed our little green “Mustang”) we’re still housing a couple dozen turtles in various stages of rehab. While during the winter she worked primarily in our ICU she now rotates between Sick Bay and our big room, Sea Turtle Bay. 

Grayson notes that being at the hospital on a daily basis has made her more aware of the subtle changes in our patients over even short periods of time. She enjoys seeing them come out of their shell (not literally!) and develop distinct personalities as they start to feel, and look, better. And there’s always a reason to celebrate when one of our ICU turtles graduates and moves into the big house!

Grayson’s future career plans involve working in an environment that stresses education. She enjoys talking to the public during our tours and is amazed at the number of interesting questions our visitors ask. One of the most frequent kid queries is: “are turtles fish?” (You’ll have to visit us to hear the answer.) Grayson feels that education is one of the most important aspects of the tour because it puts the public in a position to see first-hand the consequences of humans on the environment. “It’s easier to ignore what’s going on if you don’t see it,” she says. She feels strongly that once they leave our hospital most people “get it.”

Grayson very much enjoys the camaraderie of her fellow interns, and considering their various backgrounds and life experiences is delighted at how well they all get along. She will return to UNCW in the fall as a rising senior completing her work towards a B.S. in environmental studies. Next stop is graduate work at George Mason for a degree in zoo and aquarium management. In addition to researching ways to provide stimulation for captive animals she hopes to focus on education through “program animals.” That would be “amazing, Grayson.” 

Sand traps!

Please, please do not leave our beaches looking like they have been in a war zone. Unfilled holes and litter are treacherous to our two-legged and four-flippered visitors. We’ve had many hospital guests remark on the danger of trying to navigate open holes up and down the island. Please fill them in and pick up your trash before you leave for the day.

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