Welcome to the second of the TREE interviews! Click HERE to read more about the TREE program and its relevance to my book, RIVER’S EDGE.
Today I (Erin) am interviewing Jaymie Reneker!
E: Hi Jaymie! Tell us the year you were at Thomson Causeway.
J: I participated in Turtle Camp during the summer of 2011.
E: At the time, were you a student in high school, college, or graduate school? If you were conducting research, what was your focus?
J: I was an undergraduate student helping with Dr. Janzen’s research as well as conducting my own research project. My focus was on how successful different painted turtle nests were based on the female who laid them. We compared the size and shape of the female with how many eggs she laid and how well the nest hatched to better understand the painted turtle.
E: How did you first decide to participate in the TREE program?
J: I was an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Janzen’s lab for the semester prior to Turtle Camp. Dr. Janzen asked me to help him with his research over the summer and I could not have been more excited to do so. It allowed me to continue research in the field with great colleagues.
E: What was your favorite part of TREE?
J: My favorite part was definitely the people I got to meet and spend the entire summer with. Everyone that participates in TREE is hard working, dedicated and excited to learn more. I got to work with high schoolers all the way to post doctorates and professors. The wealth of knowledge from everyone was incredible. I also really enjoyed being in the field 24/7 doing research in turtles and other reptiles.
E: Can you share an anecdote or funny story about your time there?
J: I spent the summer with 3 other undergraduate students. We all instantly clicked and were inseparable for the entire summer. The summer that we spent at the Thompson Causeway was accompanied by no water. This forced us to ride our bikes across the island to get water for showers. It was never a dull moment at our camp. We spent a lot of our time doing research but in our off time, we made dinner and hung out by the camp fire. We even played pranks on each other and our supervisors. It was a never ending cycle of fun!
E: How did TREE benefit you later in your education or career?
J: After my summer with TREE, I finished my senior year in college. I was then accepted for an internship with the Bald Head Island Conservancy doing sea turtle research, which was always my dream. The skills I learned at Turtle Camp greatly impacted my selection into the program as well as made me feel confident in my new internship. The Bald Head Island Conservancy then hired me to be their Sea Turtle Program Coordinator for this coming summer. I would not be where I am today if it were not for my summer with TREE.
E: Who would you recommend the TREE program to, and why?
J: I would recommend TREE to anyone interested in field research. You learn everything from basic field techniques to how to live and work with fellow researchers in the field. It will give you the experience and confidence you need to continue in a biological and research based field.
E: Is there anything else you’d like people to know about TREE?
J: TREE is an incredible program and opportunity for high school students and college students alike. You will meet incredible people and do amazing research. It is definitely a summer I, and you, will never forget!
Jaymie, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions! And congratulations on your new job as Sea Turtle Program Coordinator—that’s awesome!
Readers, don’t forget that 10% of April sales of RIVER’S EDGE will be donated to the TREE program. Help support future turtle research and young biologists! 🙂