Posted by DivingTop100 in Dive News

Sea Turtle Hospital News

Sea Turtle News is credited to KAREN SOTA

The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center


Topsail Beach, NC –  There’s no question that our year-round staff of about fifty hospital volunteers is as dedicated and hard working as they come. But dedication doesn’t stop the calendar, and although the hearts are still willing the bodies are slowing down a bit. That’s why we’re always happy when Jean delivers a fresh crop of interns to (literally) lighten our loads. Now one of our favorite winter interns is leaving us for a new life half-way around the world.

Wyatt Allen arrived in early January after graduating from Wake Forest University. He applied for our internship because it gave him “a chance to live out my childhood dream before making a commitment to employment or further education.” With a BS in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Japanese he had a few options for his future, but in the end it was his love of the Japanese language and culture that began in high school and continued throughout college (including time as a student at the Temple University Tokyo campus) that won out.

We all know how difficult it is to get your first real job out of college, but Wyatt had to dance hard and fast to best the enormous number of applicants vying for the relatively small number of positions available through CLAIR (the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations) which is part of the Japanese National Government. The application process evaluates overall education, interest in Japan, Japanese language ability, special skills, previous work experiences and the desire to improve relations between the US and Japan. After passing the application process he was interviewed at the consulate in Washington DC, with a portion of his interview, which included teacher-student role-playing, conducted in Japanese. Several weeks ago Wyatt was notified that he got the job, and we couldn’t have been prouder of him than if he were our own child!
Wyatt won’t find out until June exactly where he’ll be assigned, as the individual boards of education inform CLAIR of openings/desires for English speaking teaching assistants. Specifics of the position will be determined after he arrives in Japan in late summer. At the moment he expects that he will be team teaching (with a Japanese born English teacher) writing, grammar and some conversational acquisition to Japanese students in grades 1-12. There’s also the possibility of adult education through a community program known as Eikaiwa: (ei= English) (kaiwa=conversation.)

Wyatt notes that Japan has three written alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana which he can read and write with ease, and Kanji (the Chinese characters) used in script that are a bit more challenging. At his “peak” several years ago he says that he could read and write about 1,100 of them. Our mastery of Japanese at the turtle hospital is limited to ordering sushi, so we’re pretty useless in keeping the conversation going beyond that. Wyatt is, we have no doubt, devoting most of his limited spare time to working hard every day to polish those skills.

When he finally departs for Japan he’ll literally be taking basically the clothes on his back (with his special orange hat) and a camera. Shipping costs are prohibitive, so he’ll buy what he needs once he moves into an apartment. He expects his biggest challenge to be adjusting to the staples of the Japanese diet, seafood and pork, and learning how to cook them in traditional methods. He could be in Japan for as long as five years (a one-year contract renewable annually, based on the progress of his students) so he’ll have lots of time to master the art.

When I asked what I thought would be a trick question; “How will this be different than taking care of sea turtles?” he turned the tables on me. He said: “Taking care of sea turtles and helping to educate children are not terribly different at the fundamental level. Both require a lot of patience and set routines to ensure that the children/turtles are comfortable in their environment so that you can cater to their needs without adding stress. Both love to eat, and occasionally make messes, too.” Wyatt says that he’s  thoroughly enjoyed his time at the hospital and “would love to carry my problem solving skills and patience that I have developed though working with the turtles with me to Japan so that I can pour as much passion into the school as I do into the hospital.” Now you know why we’ll miss him.

Nesting season’s here…
The official start of nesting season (May 1st) has come and gone, but mama sea turtles are famous for their complete and total disregard of our calendar.  They’ll come when they’re good and ready, and that could be as early as this week or sometime towards the end of the month. But now that our Topsail Turtle Project team has hit the beach running when they do show up their efforts won’t go unnoticed as their nests are verified, marked and monitored.

Please report any and all local sea turtle activity (nestings, strandings, injured or sick turtles) immediately to our Director of Beach Operations, Terry Meyer at 910-470-2880. Terry can be reached at:   topsailseaturtle@aol.com for non-emergencies. You can also call our Director, Jean Beasley (910-470-2800) or the hospital (910-328-3377) to report activity if you are unable to reach of Terry. All sea turtles are federally protected and harassing or harming them in any way will result in hefty fines and/or imprisonment.

Gift shop business booming
Activity really increased last week at our gift shop with early arrivals stopping by the hospital wanting to add our exclusive turtle-wear as part of their spring wardrobe. You can visit our gift shop annex every Tuesday until further notice. Just knock on our hospital door between 9 AM and 11 AM and tell us you’re there to shop. Preview some of the items we have available online at our website before you come and remember, we can only accept cash and checks at this time. You can also shop for our logo T’s year-round at QuarterMoon Bookstore in Topsail Beach. Thanks, Lori.

Of course you can use our online ordering service at your convenience because our website never closes: www.seaturtlehospital.org. Stay connected with our patients and the progress of the new hospital. We’re stocked with clothing and other gifts and goodies perfect for turtle lovers. Follow the links to “Adopt-A-Sea-Turtle,” we have some pretty high maintenance patients who need all the financial and moral support you can provide. There’s still time to add your family’s name to our wall of fame with the “Family Giving Challenge.”

Questions, comments, suggestions??
Please direct any questions, comments or suggestions re: this column to me at: flippers@att.net. To be added to the newsletter list e-mail me at the same address:  flippers@att.net. If your e-mail address has recently changed please send me your new one so I can update my master list. You can also access the newsletter from our website.


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