Saving turtles off Cairns inspires USC student | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Saving turtles off Cairns inspires USC student

Helping return a green sea turtle to the ocean after it had recovered from illness has inspired USC student Daniel Walker to pursue a career in saving marine life.

This experience on Fitzroy Island, off Cairns, was part of Daniel’s recent work placement with the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (CTRC) as part of his USC Environmental Science degree.

“I enjoyed everything about my volunteer placement but my favourite part was assisting centre founder Jennie Gilbert with her research by placing satellite trackers on three turtles that were released while I was there,” said Daniel, 21, of Sippy Downs.

“The highlight during my time there happened on my final day when we released a green sea turtle named Ava who came to the centre 18 months ago due to severe malnutrition. Releasing Ava was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

“I met so many amazing, like-minded people who are passionate about saving marine wildlife and I experienced so many incredible things. I am extremely grateful to all the volunteers for having me and allowing me to be a part of Ava’s release.”

Workplace Learning Coordinator Lyris Snowden said work placement was a vital part of the Environmental Science degree.

“As well as allowing students to network and learn to make career decisions, work placement is the perfect time for each student to put their theory into practice,” she said.

Science students are offered a work placement elective in their third year. The placements are usually for five weeks, but some go for longer, with a current student working in the Amazon rainforest for two months.

— Kristy Wright

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