SCA 1980, Padre Island National Seashore
“It was the first time I saw the ocean or a sea turtle,” says Donna Shaver, recalling her SCA internship at Padre Island National Seashore nearly 35 years ago. “It changed my career and my life.”
Indeed, she’s been at Padre Island ever since. Dr. Shaver’s internship convinced her “to dedicate my career to helping recover dwindling sea turtle populations and study these animals. I have spent my working career doing so.”
Development, fish and poaching have taken a terrible toll on the once thriving Kemp’s ridley species, but Shaver – Padre Island’s chief of the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery – is credited with enabling tens of thousands of endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles to safely hatch and scurry home to the Gulf of Mexico.
“Some of the turtles that I incubated from 1978 to 1988 have come back and laid their eggs and I have incubated them as well,” Shaver once told ABC News. “Mother hen, grandmother hen.”
“These creatures have existed for four million years,” she adds, “and human activity nearly eliminated them. Our job is to right a wrong by protecting the turtle’s place in the web of life.”
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times named Dr. Shaver their Newsmaker of the Year. Read their extensive profile here.