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Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Orca (ID171) breaches off the coast of Scotland © Steve Truluck.

Watching whales and dolphins in the wild can be life changing

Whales and dolphins are too intelligent, too large and too mobile to ever thrive in...

Conservation is a family affair

It’s no secret that our office is the well run machine because of our amazing interns. And as August advances, we get closer to losing some of our summer interns as they begin to move on. While their leaving is sad for us, the process of progressing and moving onward and upward is exactly what an internship is all about. And that’s exactly what’s next for Brittany Sapyta, who at the end of the month will be leaving us for Mote Marine Laboratory for a sea turtle internship. While Brittany has been with us, we have been impressed with her ability to be flexible and roll with the chaos that we call life – Brittany is passing along these and other lessons. Here’s Brittany’s blog:

My love for marine biology started when I was five years old. It has truly been a life-long dream to work in this field, particularly in the cetacean world. Growing up, I tried to teach myself everything I could about whales, memorized the common names of all of them, and collected anything with a whale or a dolphin on it. Looking back it sounds crazy, but as a kid I knew what I loved and that I wanted to dedicate my life’s work to studying and protecting cetaceans. When entering the College of Charleston in South Carolina, I wasted no time in declaring myself as a marine biology major. It wasn’t an easy ride, but through blood, sweat and tears I persevered and graduated with that very degree this past December.

I am more than proud to say that I am now an intern for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. Entering this program in May, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no clue on the hours it took, the meticulous job of processing data, the many things that I still had to learn about cetaceans, or other great organizations involved and what it takes to keep the organizations going. However, I hit the ground running and immediately fell in love, and am still loving it. I finally found an amazing group of people that are just as crazy about my love as I am, and all who work so hard to save and protect these incredible animals.

One of the many things I have learned by being apart of WDCS is that conservation is contagious. As an organization who is passionate for work in conservation, all of us here naturally educate loved ones in everyday conversation on the importance of our work (also secretly hoping to instill at least a little bit of the same love and passion in everyone around us-don’t tell anyone!). Ultimately, in some way or other, we get our loved ones involved. A few weeks ago my dad, my brother and my boyfriend all came to visit me and got to see what it is I do on a day to day basis. Being the wonderful people that they all are, they more than willingly went on whale watching boats with me, and more than contently sat next to me at a computer screen for hours in the office trying to help me identify each whale. My boyfriend, Everett, even became involved in stuffing hundreds of mailing envelopes to send to our supporters, getting a real idea what working for a non-profit is like. Here’s a photo, where you can see Everett stuffing envelopes with Dot (Sue’s mom) and another volunteer.

Everett even helped out at an outreach event with us at Plymouth’s Maritime Day while he was visiting. It just goes to show that you don’t have to have to be crazy for the field to participate in some way in conservation. We all can have a role to play, and every role is big. If everyone played a part, think of the things organizations like WDCS could accomplish for conservation!

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.