Several years ago, I went on a trip to Hilton head, South Carolina, and I woke up in the morning really early and went to the beach. This is something I always do when I am by the ocean, because you get to find some really cool stuff in the morning. And this time I found the best thing ever, or the two best things ever!
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I saw two baby sea turtles make their way to the ocean. Members of their nest likely hatched the night before, and these two were stragglers. I got to see them make their journey to the ocean.
One of the coolest parts was that is that the sea turtles were right in the middle of this tourist spot. And that they were basically co-existing with humans on this busy beach for a short period of time. Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to talk to somebody about sea turtles conservation and science.
I invited sea turtle biologist Dr. Christine Figgener on the podcast who is not only a sea turtle expert, but famous for sparking the movement to reduce plastic straw use. She is the one who took the video of the sea turtle who had a plastic straw up its nose. In this podcast, we talk about everything sea turtles, plastic, and conservation.
Specifically we talk about:
- How Christine got interested in sea turtles and science
- The steps Christine took to become a scientist
- What Christine does on a daily basis
- What sea turtle research is like
- The biggest threats to sea turtles
- Easy tips that you can do to help out sea turtles (all from home)
- How the straw video went viral
- How sea turtle releases can be harmful, why hotels do them, and why you shouldn’t support them
Resources and Sources in Sea Turtles and Straws
Stephanie Manka, Ph.D. is a wildlife biologist with 20 years of experience in mammal ecology and conservation, education, and outreach. Read her story to find out how she went from the daughter of a jeweler to a Ph.D. in wildlife biology.