SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Emma Pontius attributes her deep connection with the ocean to spending countless days at the beach and playing in tidal pools.
As a recent college graduate, she has set out to work with sea turtles from around the country, which currently has led her to South Padre Island.
A select few college graduates are admitted each year into Sea Turtle Inc.’s summer internship program.
Emma is one of those selected graduates and says she feels “over the moon” to be accepted.
Each intern is required to conduct numerous tasks such as giving educational presentations, promoting adoptions and memberships, assisting staff with daily rehabilitation procedures and carrying out nesting conservation activities.
“It has been a great opportunity to be able to work with education, rehab and conservation all in one project,” she said. “I’ve had a great experience and have learned a lot.”
Growing up on the coast of Maine, it’s no wonder why Emma developed a passion for marine life.
“I was around the ocean pretty frequently and have fallen in love with working with sea turtles,” she said.
Before interning with Sea Turtle Inc., Emma was a volunteer with The Hawaii Island Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project based in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Emma said while in Hawaii, she monitored sea turtle activity and collected data on nesting hawksbills, nest excavations and relocations.
Emma said she wants to continue being involved with marine conservation and plans to work with sea turtles in Hawaii after completing her internship with Sea Turtle Inc. this month.
“There’s a really great staff here at Sea Turtle Inc. and it’s been unique to see all aspects of the facility,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from my supervisors and from this experience.”