Dedicated to all the unsung heroes of animal rescue - an essay
Updated: Dec 13, 2022
By Staci-lee Sherwood
Tonight I went to the beach to watch 2 sea turtle nests. At 11pm 3 young college kids, two girls and a guy, came over. I had met them 2 weeks ago when they asked what I was doing sitting by a nest. I told them about the sea turtles and they sat there for several hours with me getting an education about sea turtles and other imperiled marine life. We watched the nest but nothing happened. The next night they were curious so they went to check on the same nest at about 11pm. It had started to hatch. They were sure the hatchlings would go toward the water. They had no buckets or flashlights, they couldn't call me because they didn't have my cell (which I think everyone on the planet must have by now and knows I'm on call for animal rescue 24/7)
The nest started to hatch with 80 babies racing toward the dune. They remained calm and using their jackets made a sack which held the disorientated hatchlings. They gently picked them up and released them into their new home the ocean. They waited to see if more would come out. After awhile they went home and sat on their sofa thinking out what had just happened. They saved a whole nest of an endangered species. Not something most people ever get the chance to do.
They told me tonight what had happened. I felt so proud that they got it, from just that one night sitting with me on the beach. Apparently what I had said and more importantly their wanting to learn had sunk in. That experience forever changed them. They helped the nest tonight when all 93 hatchlings went away from the ocean and toward the dune.
I'm writing this to show that you never really know the effect you have on people, you never know what seeds you plant will grow into awareness, compassion and action. We can only hope that they do. We have to have that hope that blind faith. That is what keeps us going, that the drive to protect won't die with us but will live on with the next generation of people we have inspired.
For the animals
Also published as a poem April 20, 2022 on Fevers of the mind