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Public Safety

State of Texas
International Sea Turtle Society Gives Lifetime Achievement Award
News Release
Friday, February 23, 2018

Corpus Christi, Texas - Our very own Dr. Donna Shaver is being recognized for a lifetime of working to save the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles by the International Sea Turtle Society (ISTS). The Lifetime Achievement Award will officially be presented at the ISTS’s 38th International Sea Turtle Symposium in Kobe, Japan on Friday February 23rd. In Dr. Shaver’s absence her former professor, Dr. David Owens, from Texas A&M will accept the award on her behalf.

“Currently, Kemp's ridley sea turtle nests have sky-rocketed from an all-time low of 702 nests in 1985 to almost 27,000 nests in 2017. I believe, without a doubt, that Dr. Shaver's hard work and dedication has contributed greatly to this recovery.”

Dawn Gardiner
USFWS Assistant Field Supervisor

Dr. Shaver has led sea turtle conservation and recovery efforts at Padre Island National Seashore for over 30 years. She has dedicated her life to sea turtle conservation and has been instrumental in efforts to save these animals, particularly Kemp's ridley and greens. There is still a lot of work to do to ensure the survival of endangered sea turtles, but Dr. Shaver has built a strong foundation for efforts to continue into the future.

Dr. Shaver began her work with sea turtles as a Student Conservation Association volunteer at Padre Island National Seashore in 1980. She soon discovered a passion for sea turtles and their conservation that would shape the rest of her career. She was a member of the team that conducted the Kemp's Ridley Head-starting and Imprinting Project from 1978-1988. She joined the National Park Service as a Park Technician at Padre Island National Seashore during the summers of 1981-1984 and became a permanent employee in 1985. By 1986, she was leading the park's sea turtle conservation efforts.

For more information about the Padre Island National Seashore sea turtle recovery program go to: or visit the park webpage at:

Remembering Jim Guidry

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