Learning Through Loggerheads: Madeleine Kern’s ’13 Summer Internship in the Marshes (Part 2)

Madeleine Kern ’13, the author of this post, is one of two 2012 recipients of an unpaid internship grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.  Madeleine was an intern with a program called Learning through Loggerheads.

The several weeks I have spent working in Edisto Island, South Carolina have definitely made for the most exciting and fulfilling summer I have experienced. My only regret is that I fell ill and had to return home a little earlier than planned. However, that was simply one of the many lessons I came away with over the course of my internship, as being able to recognize one’s own limits is a fairly useful skill.

Since my last post, I have continued mentoring kids of varying ages out in the marsh. I worked with some new volunteers that had heard about the work I was doing from others who had come out with me and their parents, as well as a few students who were basically involved all summer long. One of the girls who I mentioned in my last post invited me to dinner so I could meet her family. They all wanted to thank me for giving her a summer of adventure and learning. I was informed that she had never done anything remotely like what she worked on with me this summer. Before she would not even get dirty and you would never have known it by the way she was tromping around in the mud with me looking for terrapins. I also found out that she plans to start taking more of the extra science courses that are offered at her school, especially those related to biology, which was never something she had considered before. As if I was not already ecstatic about how well the summer had gone based merely off this one mentee’s new found passion, I certainly was when I read a thank you letter she handed me while at the dinner and told me I had to read later when I got home. In this letter, she explained that she learned so much not just about turtles or science or nature, but also about people and the world. She also told me that even though I may not recognize it, I am a great teacher. That was probably the most encouraging thing someone could have told me after this summer.

Throughout the last several weeks of my internship, I also had a few opportunities to share parts of my work with various family members and friends. I was even able to explore the marshes from a totally new perspective in a kayak. Being able to simply go at my own pace and sit and enjoy the beauty around me was a wonderful experience, even when the tide and wind started going against us and I had to tow my friend back to the landing.

During my entire stay in Edisto Island, I was lucky enough to meet and work with some of the nicest and most helpful people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Thus, I would like to end my final post by saying thank you to several people. First, I am so thankful for all the kids and their parents and other volunteers for their interest, help, and enthusiasm about learning. I would also like to thank Bess and Bruce of the South Carolina DNR for always being there to help me out when I needed them most. I would also like to thank Ty for helping me out with the many motor problems I could never have hoped to tackle by myself. And finally, I would like to thank Meg Hoyle and The Jolley Foundation for having faith in me and making this amazing experience possible.

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