Kayaks, Turtles, and Bird nests!

The starting weeks at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore have been a truly amazing experience. The past few weeks I’ve expanded my knowledge of the local ecosystem, wildlife, and plants that reside at this National Park. I’ve also had the ability to connect with visitors and help them learn more about everything this park has to offer. We have many programs at Cape Hatteras for all ages of people to attend and I’ve had the opportunity to shadow a ranger in quite a few of them! Some of these programs include kayaking, soundside explorers, surf fishing, and bird walks.

One of the programs that I really enjoyed was kayaking. We went to the Salvo sound access and allowed the community a great experience of kayaking on the sound. There were really cool findings such as jellyfish, tiny crabs, and sea pickles! The water in the sound is fairly shallow and clear so it allowed those kayaking to easily see the wonders beneath the water!

I’ve also had the opportunity to shadow the resource management team as they patrol the shore for turtle and bird nests! The patrols allow for the protection of these nests so that the populations of these wildlife can thrive. In the picture to the left, I was able to collect the eggshell of a newly found turtle nest for DNA testing. This testing allows for biologists to know when a turtle comes back to the same area to nest, and even when her mother and/or grandmother came to the same beach to nest as well!

A few times during the week, I also set up a resource cart near the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. My resource cart is about fishing and it has taught people of all ages that come by how to tie fishing knots, types of fish at the outer banks, how to cast a spin rod, and which fish are inshore and offshore fish. I created a game that allows for people to play and learn 10 fish of the Outer Banks that are either inshore or offshore!

I’ve also had the opportunity to help out in the museum on some days. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has a museum in one of the historic keepers’ quarters of the lighthouse. Here people are able to learn more of the history of the lighthouse move, the lighthouse itself, as well as the Outer Banks area. To the left is a picture of me with a Girl Scout troop that came into the museum. I was able to help them complete a scavenger hunt in the museum and in turn, they all got to pick out a free seashell!

Overall, the Fish and Feathers Internship program at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore has been an experience of a lifetime! I can’t wait to continue to learn more and see what the next weeks have to offer!

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