Hadrienne Mendonsa

This poster, essay and artwork are the works of a wonderful volunteer, Hadrienne Mendonsa, who passed away in 2005.  She was a very hard worker whose passion for wildlife was apparent to everyone she worked with.  These works were provided by her parents, and are a gift to the Caretta Research Project community.

Her essay and art are below.  Also, please look at her poster that she created after being inspired by seeing a nest hatch:"Congratulations on seeing your first clutch hatch!"ESSAY:  by Hadrienne Mendonsa

“Have you ever sat on a beach and cried from exhaustion, frustration and happiness? I have, and three words bring these emotions and memories back to my mind: Caretta Research Project.

For the past two summers I have spent a week on Wassaw Island (off the coast of Savannah, GA) doing Loggerhead turtle protection and research. It has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. The Island challenged me both mentally and physically. Physically I was exhausted after night after night of beach patrol and layings. In the day the heat was exhausting and I rarely ever slept. The environment was the complete opposite of my Tennessee lifestyle.  There was electricity, no air conditioning, no hot water and no indoor shower. By the end of the week my body is running on autopilot. There is very little I can do without struggling. Mentally,  my brain cannot function. I became confused easily and have a hard time concentrating on much at all. I’m tired and hungry and confused. Not much makes sense and not much affects me anymore. All I want is sleep. 

As tough as the week is I know that’s what I want to do the rest of my life Though physically I’m worn out I’m also encouraged. The reward of a hard week is that hour a night when a turtle comes up from the great ocean and crawls up the beach in the moonlight. When we record data, tag her, measure her carapace, draw blood and observe her, I see where I want to be. When we relocate the nest to an area to protect the clutch then I know I’m making a difference. And when I see that clutch hatch and dozens of hatchlings emerge from the warm sand, then I know this is what I’m meant to do.

I love the turtles. I love being a part of their survival. I love working to keep their existence.  That is what I want to do, I want to be a researcher. I’m willing to do whatever I can to become one. I have has a taste and I’m ready for the whole meal. I will do research!”

Hadrienne Kathleen Mendonsa
Senior English Journal
Entry 14
Brain Storm College Essay