It's been more than a month now since my first trip to the Gulf of Mexico to report on the Deepwater Horizon/BP/Transocean oil spill/leak/explosion/debacle. Covering this ongoing story has been the highlight of my journalistic career (eclipsing even a college football national championship game), yet it has only come as a result of a national tragedy, the scope of which is barely being realized.
It was easy, even a pleasure to tell the story of people like Mike Reynolds, Alabama's Turtle Tsar. The Gulf Shores real estate broker has given countless hours of his time over the past six years organizing an army of volunteers to identify and protect sea turtle nests.
Reynolds' regiment of retirees marches over 47 miles of Alabama coast line every morning before most tourists get out of bed, marking new nests with protective barricades and signs warning the frolicking masses of the $100,000 fine imposed on those who disturb the nests. It's a purely volunteer organization, run with a precision that would make Nicholas II proud.