We were extremely lucky this year to again be selected as a host work placement for two Canada World Youth Students! Valérie Savane and Stellah Mokiwa volunteered three full days a week for the last nine weeks and are now moving on to the next stage of their program – all the way to Africa!

Stella and Valerie

Valérie, a Canadian from Quebec, couldn’t wait to get her hands dirty working with the turtles! Her enthusiasm was contagious. She would arrive each day ready to conquer any task – regardless of how mundane it might be. While she would tirelessly spend hours entering data, we would always make sure that there were turtles that needed to be clean and/or fed. Valérie would always do that little bit extra, like mopping the floor or disinfecting a tank, while using her amazing creativity to leave lovely turtle doodles around the centre for everyone to enjoy.

Stellah, an African from Tanzania, was not quite so sure about turtles at the beginning. While she was apprehensive, as where her fellow Tanzanians, she realized that someone had to step forward to take the position. She bravely accepted the position and arrived with incredible optimism. Realizing that we were going to have to sell her on turtles, I explained how healthy turtle populations can help contribute to keeping our water clean. Her interest was sparked and she took to her new role with great gusto. By the end of the nine weeks Stellah was in love with turtles – she now wouldn’t hesitate to chop up worms for the young hatchlings or pick up a 20 lb snapping turtle!

Thank you, Stellah and Valérie, for all of your incredible hard work and dedication to the turtles!