Meet Nicole Pelletier and read about her 10 weeks as an intern at the Whale Shark Reseach Project in La Paz, Mexico.
Who am I/Why am I here?
My name is Nicole and I am one of the research interns for the Whale Shark Research Project this season. I am from Rhode Island, the smallest state in the US, and decided to join the project this year because I wanted to learn more about these amazing animals.
I’ve been a PADI dive instructor for just over two years and have been very lucky when it comes to Whale Sharks. I’ve encountered them on dives in Thailand and the Philippines and was able to snorkel with them again in the Philipinnes, Utila, and Isla Mujeres. Last spring I worked for a conservation organization in the Philipinnes as a dive instructor and after some time at home, I decided my next adventure needed to be with an organization working to help the whale sharks.
Being in La Paz, I’ve been able to learn a ton about photo identification of sharks, whale shark biology, eco tourism and the research being done towards conservation of the sharks.
jIn addition to getting out to visit the sharks, we’ve also done some education work with local children and gotten involved in community events.
We were also able to visit a turtle camp just south of La Paz in November and we got to experience releasing baby sea turtles. I’ve also been blogging about the intern experience at http://whalesharkrp.blogspot.mx/2015/12/marine-education-at-orphanage.html if you want to read more about my time in Mexico. It’s been an amazing few weeks and I encourage you to come and volunteer!
What can others do to save the ocean?
Nicole;Do something that will last and not add extra unnecessary trash to our world. Plant a tree, fundraise, hold a beach clean up, find an alternative to wasteful balloon releases.
Something you can do to help our oceans? Stop releasing balloons!
Please stop releasing them for events and awareness! What goes up must come down, the rules of gravity and physics still apply for balloons.Even the biodegradable balloons are a problem as they take a long time to actually degrade.
Just this season, we found a fairly new balloon in our whale shark search area. Whale sharks feed upon anything in the water in front of them and they definitely aren’t supposed to be eating balloons (or plastic bags)!
Please encourage people to stop releasing balloons, every little bit counts. The birds, whale sharks, penguins and other creatures will all thank you!