We are so excited to welcome Amanda Eskridge, our final Marine Mammal Conservation Intern of 2023! Amanda - who is always planning out her next hiking or camping trip - brings her sense of adventure to our Marine Animal Rescue and Response program. She will gain invaluable experience responding to stranded marine mammals this fall, while also supporting our Education and Outreach programs.
Meet Amanda Eskridge!
Hometown: Columbia, SC
Favorite food: any and all cheese
Song that pumps me up: Rasputin by Boney M
Movie I can always rewatch: 2005 Pride and Prejudice
First concert: The Hush Sound and Panic! At The Disco
Tell us the story of what sparked your interest in the environment, conservation, and/or whales and dolphins
I’ve enjoyed learning about the ocean and all its creatures since I saw the movie Jaws for the first time when I was six years old. I briefly thought about pursuing marine biology as a career when I was younger, but I thought I was bad at math, so I figured a science degree wasn’t an option. For my first degree I got a BA in Political Science and History instead. I travelled and worked in the hospitality industry for several years, but decided I needed a career change to something that was more meaningful to me.
The climate crisis really pushed me into thinking about the importance of the ocean and its critical role in the health of the planet as well as humans. I went back to school and got my BSc in Marine Biology, proving my younger self wrong - turns out I’m not actually bad at math!
Why did you want to be an intern with WDC?
After reading the internship description I thought it seemed like such a fantastic opportunity to gain a variety of skills and experiences within the field of marine conservation. I really appreciated that the internship was designed for people like me who don’t have any experience yet. Also, WDC has a commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that was reflected in their application process and requirements that I found really refreshing.
What are you most excited to learn/do during your internship?
I am honestly excited for everything I’ll be doing and learning during the internship, but I am most excited for the potential stranding response work. My ultimate career goal is to work in marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation, so any hands-on experience I can get in the field and doing necropsies will be invaluable.
What is your favorite fact about marine mammals?
Beluga whales are super unique when compared to most other cetaceans. The neck vertebrae of most whales and dolphins are fused, meaning they can’t move their heads around, but in Beluga whales the neck vertebrae are not fused! This means Belugas can move their heads side to side and up and down. Their melon is also very flexible, which allows them to make different facial expressions.