Interning with the National Park Service

Working with the National Park Service has been a fantastic experience I won’t forget. During this internship experience, I was able to get first-hand experience of coastal field work projects, including sea turtle nesting, bird surveys, and marine necropsy. I also gained insightful experience from GIS and cultural resource management projects associated with the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Lost Colony site.

This internship provided many interesting activities and opportunities; however, my favorite project was working with sea turtle nests around the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. While waking up at 5 or 6 in the morning doesn’t sound like a fun task, the opportunity to regularly encounter sea turtle hatchlings during sunrise is definitely worth the early start. This section of my internship involved us driving across the beach around Hatteras Island, looking for sea turtle tracks and disturbances to nesting sites while performing expansions or excavations on the nesting sites. 

These excavations were always the best part, where, 3 days after hatching, we would dig up the nest and count the eggshells while finding hatchling stragglers. We would usually then release the hatchlings that morning or wait until the evening and watch them crawl toward their future in the ocean. 

Since the sea turtle nesting season ends in the fall, we spent the rest of our time in the field working on bird surveys and marine necropsy. While I won’t go into the specifics of our necropsy activities, I enjoyed being able to examine and pick apart large marine species that I have never been able to interact with up close. Working on bird surveys throughout this semester has slowly turned me into an avid birder. My favorite bird to encounter is the magnificent American oystercatcher. 

My mentor, Paul Doshkov surveying a protected area of the Bodie Island spit for sightings of threatened/endangered bird species
Excavating a nest while counting and examining the eggs and looking for straggler hatchlings








Not only were my internship activities fun and interesting, but my mentors were too. I give special thanks to Lindsay, Michael, Kegan, and Paul, who made my internship something to look forward to throughout the week. Interning with the National Park is a perfect way to gain hands-on field work experience while learning about conservation and management efforts in beautiful locations. In my opinion, my internship was the best out of our field group.

Fin Whale washed up on the northern tip of Pea Island


The American oystercatcher captured through a sighting scope

OBXFS 21: My Favorite Experience

While there have been many unique experiences during this semester so far, I would definitely say that our long adventure day in Corolla was my favorite experience. This trip started like many others, a talkative van ride where we wondered what escapades we would encounter together. 

We started at the beautiful Audobon sanctuary, where we were shown around the property and introduced to the planned bird conservation projects. We then traveled to the wildlife center, where we learned the history of Duck and Corolla and the towns’ cultural origins through the museum and a movie.  

After we climbed a random tree waiting for our lunch to arrive, we climbed something you are supposed to, a lighthouse. A few of us ascended into the Currituck Lighthouse,

where we could see miles in every direction of the beautiful landscape that we would soon explore further. We could even see the long dock where we would later launch our kayaks into the water. 

During our kayak tour, I had the best kayak partner, Rebekah, who had just turned 22 the day before. While we undoubtedly would have beaten anybody in a race, we decided it was best if we just enjoyed the scenery and did not embarrass any challengers. Thankfully I didn’t get too dirty considering all the milfoil and wild celery we encountered; however, not all of us (Steve and Joseph) were that lucky.

My favorite part of the day was the bumpy and windy ride across the beach in the back of the wild horse tour truck. The best times of the field site are when everyone is together and able to talk about our unique and exciting experiences. This was actually the first time I encountered the wild horses, and I was surprised by how many we saw grazing in people’s front yards. We were able to get quite close to the horses, and Joseph came feet away from a charging stallion. While the details are fuzzy, let’s just say that that horse was lucky it decided to swerve away. 


After another spirited ride back, we quickly ate down our Corolla pizza, which I would say is better than most other towns’ pizza, except for Nags Head which still stays #1 for me. We were blessed by two dogs who smelled our delicious food and came over to greet us. We thanked them for their presence with a few of our crusts and attempted to teach them tricks.

I don’t remember much about the ride back, considering I fell asleep from the busy day we all just had; however, I’m sure the rest of the field group cheeringly looked back on the perfect day we just experienced.