#YearInReview: August, 2021

I am a wannabee biologist. When I went back to school in my 30s to begin collecting degrees, I chose the field of communication, and I love that field and taught in it for many years. I was afraid of the math requirements for doing natural science. But I was and still am a wannabee biologist.

In retirement, I’m finally doing it. Not a degree. Haven’t time for that. But studying the natural world none the less, and hanging out with biology faculty–my former colleagues at the local university.

Ouachita Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis)

So it was that I got involved in Dr. John Carr’s turtle research and photographed a turtle hatchling release in August 2021.

Carr and his graduate students monitor a stretch of natural sand beach tucked in a bend in the Ouachita River where it passes between Monroe and West Monroe, La. They use “game cameras”–cameras in housings designed to be strapped to a post or tree and left behind to take time lapse photos of an area–to monitor the beach for turtles coming ashore to lay eggs. They then “rescue” the eggs from almost certain predation by, most likely, raccoons, hatch them in the lab and release them back on to the very same beach.

Each half-dollar-size hatchling placed on the sand made a beeline for the water. Of course, not all will survive. That is the seemingly harsh way of nature. Nevertheless, what a blast!


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