27th July 2018
We hope you have been following her across our Facebook and Instagram channels, but here’s a bit more on KORI’s current intern – who comes all the way from the USA.
Bryce Talsma (aged 23) grew up in a small town in west Michigan, and from a young age wanted to get be a vet, but also held an affinity with the ocean and marine life.
‘I remember when I was a little girl, I kept a jar of money that I would continually add to so I could swim with dolphins. It was my dream. I had dolphin everything…stuffed animals, towels, paintings, puzzles, earrings, rings, and blankets.’
When it came time to choose a university programme she was torn between marine biology and veterinary medicine and, in the end, decided on the latter.
However, when the opportunity arose for her to join the Creation Care Study Programme (CCSP) in Kaikōura, she jumped at it.
During her time at CCSP she was taught by KORI’s own Jody Weir, and began volunteering with our team monitoring the South Bay penguin colony. Whilst she returned to the US for her studies, Kaikōura was never far from her mind.
‘Kaikōura is one of those places you can’t help but fall in love with… I’ve been planning my return since the day I left.’
Fast-forward a little, and Bryce is back!
Bryce has been interning at KORI since June 1st, and has proved herself a hugely valuable member of the team.
We have kept her busy. As well as assisting with our marine mammal surveys and the Kaikōura penguin colony, Bryce has a number of projects of her own.
We hope you have seen her out on the peninsula where she has been developing methods to monitor the humpback migration, along with our other marine mammals, as they move through the area from a shore-based lookout station.
As well as noting group sizes, behaviours, and the timings of sightings, she is hoping that this is a project the community can get involved with.
‘There is a wealth of knowledge in this town, and this is a wonderful opportunity to share with one another.’
Her other focus has been on the same penguin colony that began her involvement with KORI in 2015.
‘The Secret Life of Penguins’, has been running across our Facebook and Instagram profiles for the last few weeks, and shows feeds from hidden cameras setup in the South Bay penguin colony. This has been particularly exciting as it has given us the first-ever footage of Kaikōura penguin mating behaviour.
As well as analysing the footage Bryce is researching the benefits of our purpose-built-nest-boxes for reducing penguin predation and determining if there are ways we could improve them.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and Bryce will be heading home on July 31st, but it seems like she will be leaving with some great memories…
‘Kaikoura has become a home to me and the people I have met and the wildlife I have spent my days studying have so greatly impacted me. I think I’m living my 5 year-old self’s dream.’
Here’s to Bryce.