A Wentzscope microscope houses current sea turtle patient blood smears allowing guests the opportunity to see into the unique world of hematology.
Lori Hunt shows off a “larger-than-life” model of a turtle barnacle (Chelonibia testudinaria).
The interactive station brings the science of wildlife rehabilitation to GSTC’s audience.
The Discovery Station allows guests a hands-on experience with a life-sized sea turtle model.
EDUCATION: GSTC Exhibitry
By Katie Higgins, JIA Education Coordinator
The Jekyll Island Authority’s (JIA) Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) is pleased to announce the installation of the brand new Discovery Station exhibit brought to our public through the generous support of the Jekyll Island Foundation (JIF). This interactive display is designed to bring the cool science of wildlife rehabilitation to our general audience. Using museum grade microscopes, this exhibit allows guests to view blood slides from our current turtle patients and discover which patient is healthier depending on the number of red blood cells they see. Another scope focuses on epibiota, or hitchhiking organism, specimens harvested from the shells of our incoming debilitated sea turtles. These organisms range from barnacles to leeches to Columbus crabs. Larger than life models allow guests to get even closer with a hands-on experience.
The exhibit not only enriches the guest experience, but also provides our volunteer environmental educators a centralized station for engaging with the public. A built-in water table gives the opportunity to temporarily house smaller aquatic organisms behind the safety of its plexiglass lid. Removing the lid allows for hands-on activities such as our marine-debris focused “Sink or Float” activity where guests can use a stop watch and predict what kind of materials will sink or float in the water.
The installation of exhibit upgrades has been achieved through collaboration and creativity amongst JIA and JIF employees. The GSTC’s education department had a vision and a focus for content, while JIF supplied ongoing support for purchasing and coordinating materials. JIA’s maintenance and marketing teams built and executed the vision. The result is a sparkling new addition which fits beautifully within the original exhibit gallery theme and purpose. Continued improvements are planned, bringing content on sea turtle conservation up to today’s standards. Blending science with public engagement is the kind of turtle twist that only the GSTC can provide.