Farewell to New Orleans and good will to all the rescuers

Hello again good people,

It is with mixed emotions that I write this blog from a coffee shop back in Massachusetts. My last two days in New Orleans were very busy with more groups of sea turtles coming in each day. Wednesday I flew home but unfortunately spent the majority of my day in airports since my original flight was canceled.

I am finding it difficult to allow my mind and body to rest. The past two weeks have been a firestorm of activity, both mentally and physically. Each little animal is imprinted in my mind and I'll worry about them until I learn of their release. It's difficult to let go after investing so much in their therapy. Fortunately the animals are in skilled hands.

So, you've seen your share of sea turtle photos from New Orleans, heard my detailed accounts of the long hard days, read descriptions of the extreme heat (and sweating profusely), and learned about some of our medical cases. There isn't much to add to all that so I'll close my New Orleans blog series by discussing some of the "behind the scene" things you don't see.

First, the team of people that came together for this rescue and rehabilitation effort are unique and dedicated folks. I'm proud to have worked side by side with each of them to save these endangered species. Generally people in this field are easy going and tend to have a great outlook on life. That certainly makes it a pleasure to work with them. We had a lot of great laughs during our time together, some of which I'm still chuckling at! Below are some photo of the non turtle related parts of my adventure, enjoy.

New Orleans is home to creatures very different then what I'm used to here in Massachusetts. Below are a few critters I encountered. The animal on the left is in the beetle family while the animal on the right is a cicada.

Dr. Boylan (from the South Carolina Aquarium) tells me this is a green frog. This tiny animal had very sticky feet.

In the photo below, Dr. Boylan and Marina (Biologist from North Carolina) search for three mink that ran across the road in front of us. We couldn't see them very well in the dark but they did chuff at us. We made our exit after the chuff--no need to stress them ... or take a mink bite to the face!

Check out Dr. Boylan's t-shirt below. I spotted this and had to have a photo. Apparently the South Carolina Aquarium received a grant or a gift for a new digital radiograph machine. Funds weren't enough to cover the entire cost so they raised the money through a turtle party (not entirely sure I have that story correct--Dr. Boylan or others from the SCA please feel free to set me straight here). I just love this shirt!

Dr. Boylan and I had bad luck with bridges during our stay in New Orleans. On two occasions, we got stuck in bridge traffic when draw bridges failed to operate. In the photo on the left, they never got the bridge operational and we all had to back down off the bridge. This was particularly annoying since we were tired and hungry and just trying to go up the road to a popular eatery when we got caught. An hour later we ended up back at the hotel with no meal! I was little help with the good doctor's frustration level, adding to it I'm sure by laughing. Not a helpful response--sorry doc!

Thanks again to all for reading these blogs. Special gratitude goes to those of you who posted comments of support. I shared them with the other members of the team during our long hours together and all were touched and very grateful.

To Candace, thanks again for sending the Dancing Deer treats. They were delicious and on several occasions became lunch or supper! If you live within driving distance of the New England Aquarium, I would like to invite you in for a personal tour of our sea turtle clinic. Please message the Aquarium on facebook with your email address and our web team will make sure I receive it.

Time now for some well needed rest. I'll turn the blog back over to Adam and Kerry for a few days while I re-unite with my family. While I was gone Adam, shipped several or our sea turtles to Virginia for release (news story here). Look for a post shortly on those events. I'm not completely finished with the oil spill blogs, I'll try to post updates from time to time. One area of interest to me is the press conference held by Congressman Markey in Boston a week ago. He made some powerful and important statements at that time. After a weekend of rest I'll provide some insight into his press conference.

- Connie


  1. I always appreciate the efforts which are done to save the animals or reptiles life.Specially when they provide all the necessity food to the animals.

  2. Welcome back, Connie. Those turtles look so LITTLE! I get a lot of questions on how people can help with oil spill clean up--especially with turtles and other threatened animals. In what ways can people help? Are there any organizations that are taking volunteers?

  3. Dear Connie,

    I too am sad that you are back. I have very much enjoyed your updates and blog posts over the last few weeks. Thank you for all of the time and energy you have spent not only in helping the turtles, but in keeping us updated! The world is blessed to have people like you and the team working in New Orleans.

    Sea Turtles and the Gulf of Mexico have both been very close to my heart for some time now. With the recent oil spill I, like many others have been looking for ways to help. I am working on a program to raise money for donations to assist in the recovery of oiled turtles.

    In looking for an organization to donate to I found your blog and quickly realized LMMSTRP to be the one! You're blog is the most informative in what's actually going on to help the turtles. I hope that you and other team members in LA will continue to write and keep us informed.

    Best of luck!

  4. Hi all,

    I will continue to update you on oil spill efforts in the gulf with a focus on sea turtles and marine mammals. I'll plan to post once a week on the oil spill - I am preparing a blog now which I will launch shortly. To answer Inge's question - the volunteer situation remains the same - hazardous material training and clinical training with sea turtles is necessary. There are few opportunities at this point for people without this experience. If that changes I will let you know.

    As for places to donate - BP is funding these efforts ans supporting the organizations involved, including flying in experts to help, staffing, supplies and more. I'm not quite sure of the best place to send funds if you want them to directly impact the sea turtles. I usually recommend sending items that will directly impact the animals. This is a difficult situation since BP is footing the bill. Ultimately it is up to the person donating where they want their money to go.

    Stay tuned for more oil spill updates.


  5. Two of my favorites..New Orleans and sea turtles..God Bless you for all your efforts..

  6. looks to me like a southern or upland chorus frog