Lamcot Blog

May 04 | Carly's Internship With Lamcot

Hi, my name is Carly Pearson; I am a junior from St. Lawrence University in New York, USA. I am studying Environmental Studies and African Studies and have been living in Kenya for the past four months, as a part of my university’s study abroad program. I was taking classes at Nairobi University, traveling around Kenya and Tanzania, and then I came to Shella on Lamu Island to intern with the Lamu Marine Conservation Trust.

I have been here for four incredible weeks, and have really had a full learning experience! The first day I was here, I met the staff of LaMCoT and figured out the projects that I was going to be working on. I have spent my time here working on a few independent creative projects for LaMCoT. I put together a booklet, for distribution to the local houses and hotels, that discusses the many projects that are run under LaMCoT, as well as how the hoteliers can have a fun, yet sustainable experience while visiting Lamu Island and its surrounding attractions. I also created two brochures, one, a general brochure for LaMCoT, and the other specifically for the Manda Toto Conservancy project, which discusses general guidelines for visiting coral reefs, to ensure that recreational activities are carried out sustainably. These were much-needed brochures that will help educate the local and tourist communities about LaMCoT and the efforts it is making in conserving the archipelago’s ecosystems and animals.

I spent an incredible day snorkeling in the Manda Toto coral reef that LaMCoT has worked hard to make a community conservation area. I visited Manda Toto Island and some of the other small coral islands around the reef as well. I have never seen so many bright, colorful organisms in one place! I spent another afternoon visiting the Manda Island turtle-nesting beach. I met one of the patrollers of the beach, Odo, who used to be a poacher of turtles, but is now a protector.I was also able to write a proposal for the first time! LaMCoT is attempting to get funding to purchase a traditional dhow, and I was the one to write the proposal. It was great to get that experience!

While I was here, I also got to help out with two Green turtles that were brought to LaMCoT by local fishermen. One was just brought in for tagging, so I was able to see how that is done. There is so much more to do than just tag it! Tourists gathered around, which is an opportunity for them to ask questions, learn more about what LaMCoT does, and, of course, see a marine turtle! At the beginning of my last week, fishermen brought LaMCoT a sick green turtle that may have eaten a plastic bag that created an air bubble in him. This was making him float on the surface of the water. I was able to get some experience rehydrating and feeding the turtle, as well as keeping an eye on him, until he was moved to Watamu for further testing. These experiences were my first with marine turtles; I had never seen them before now! The last project I did was to write up a blog post on to put on LaMCoT’s website about the sick turtle, dubbed Prince William.

It was great to have the opportunity to see how LaMCoT works as an organization and see all of the projects that it sustains, and great to help the organization out by putting together the much-needed booklet and brochures. The field experience I got with the tagging and taking care of the Green turtles, snorkeling at Manda Toto, and visiting the turtle-nesting beach on Manda Island was great too! All in all, a great four weeks, I will remember for the rest of my life! Thank you LaMCoT for everything!