Meet Our Field Biologists: Laura St. Andrews

Have you ever wondered what daily life is like for a sea turtle biologist? We invite you to meet our sea turtle biologists!

We are so grateful for the many sandy miles our biologists walked at all hours of the night during the 2016-2017 nesting season. Together, we're creating a future for sea turtles. 

Learn about more opportunities to get involved.

Laura St. Andrews

Hometown: Queensbury, NY

Degree: Environmental Science, Government, St. Lawrence University, New York

Photo by Quintin Bergman

What attracted you to this field position?

Sea turtles and field biology! I came to Playa Grande in 2015 as an Earthwatch employee and saw first hand the plight of the rare Eastern Pacific leatherback, olive ridley and green sea turtles. I have always been interested in working with sea turtles and knew that the people at The Leatherback Trust would be amazing to learn about this work from. I am also interested in marine policy and conservation and working within Las Baulas National Park has been a really cool learning experience.

Describe your typical day on the job.

The beauty of this position is that every day is totally different. Whether we are woken up to run down the beach and scope out a nesting sea turtle early in the morning, or sleeping in until 11 to go to Kike’s after a late night on the beach, days are never mundane. There is always at least an hour or two of day work that needs to be completed, and then there are days that are full of unpredictable turtle adventures. But, we also have our share of days that we can enjoy a long game of soccer on the beach and a refreshing swim after. Each day wraps up at Kike’s for dinner and then we come alive at night for patrols! 

What is the best part of your job?

My absolute favorite part of this position is the excitement of walking up a turtle track and not knowing exactly what I’ll find the turtle doing. It is really special to be able to see an amazing animal doing something that very few people get to see. The team that we have this year is also really amazing. We are all from very different places and have a lot to learn from each other. We are able to be serious and silly and really compliment each other. I’ve loved learning about the world through each of them. Living on the beach isn’t too shabby either!

How has your experience inspired you?

This position has inspired me in a million ways. I know that I want to continue working to protect and learn more about sea turtles. Ocean conservation is more important than ever to me now.

What has been the funniest moment thus far?

I’ll never forget being totally covered in flying sand the first night that our team worked a leatherback. We had finished getting measurements and the turtle began covering her nest. I didn’t get out of the way in time and her flippers threw sand that covered me head to toe. I had sand in my eyebrows, ears and down into my shoes - I only had to learn that lesson once!

Describe Costa Rica in three words.

Pura Vida y bonita!