In September 2018, the world lost a passionate sea turtle advocate with the passing of long-time STC Board Member Carmel McGill. To honor Carmel’s amazing life and her dedication to the cause of protecting sea turtles, earlier this year Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) established the Carmel McGill Scholarship to provide annual financial support to aspiring young women entering the field of sea turtle research and conservation. STC is honored to announce that the first recipient of the McGill Scholarship was Evelyn Marichal, an early-career sea turtle biologist working in Cuba. The scholarship subsidized Evelyn’s participation in the 23rd International In-Water Course on the Biology and Conservation of Marine Turtles, which took place this summer in Bermuda.
The In-Water Course is conducted each year as part of the Bermuda Turtle Project, a cooperative project by STC and the Bermuda Zoological Society. Participants in the course come from around the
world and include primarily young biologists wanting to gain knowledge and experience in the techniques used to study sea turtles in their marine environment. Evelyn was selected by STC to receive the McGill Scholarship in part because her participation in the course helps expand the capacity for in-water turtle monitoring and conservation in Cuba, where STC has been conducting collaborative research since 2015. Evelyn also happens to be a very capable biologist with an infectious personality and a passion for sea turtles—traits that made her a fitting choice to be the first recipient of the McGill Scholarship.
This year’s In-water Course was led for the first time by STC staff biologists Dr. Dan Evans and Rick Herren. Students were given specialized training in the techniques used to safely capture turtles in the water, as well as the methods used to tag, measure, weigh, collect genetic samples and satellite-track turtles. Other course instructors included Drs. Anne and Peter Meylan, Jennifer Gray and Dr. Gaëlle Roth, DVM.
In addition to gaining practical field experience, Evelyn and the other students participated in discussions on sea turtle life history, feeding biology, physiology, reproduction, migration, conservation genetics, threats, conservation and management options.
Following her experience with the In-Water Course, Evelyn returned to her position in Cuba with the Coastal Ecosystem Research Center, where she is applying her newly-gained knowledge toward future marine turtle conservation projects in the Jardines de la Reina archipelago and other areas in Cuba. STC is proud to have awarded the McGill Scholarship to Evelyn Marichal and looks forward to following her career and collaborating with her on future projects to benefit sea turtle conservation in Cuba.
For inquiries about the McGill Scholarship, including how you can contribute, email STC Executive Director David Godfrey at email@example.com.