Amazing Women of the Suncoast: Peg Magee

VENICE, Fla. -- This week's Amazing Woman of the Suncoast has succeeded and enriched her community in two very different careers -- one paid, one volunteer -- in two very different parts of the country.

Peg Magee and her husband moved to Venice 10 years ago, and ever since, she's thrown her heart and soul into helping the wildlife in our area.

She dedicates her time and talents to protecting and rescuing wildlife with several different organizations. "Turtle patrol is one, wildlife rescue for Wildlife Center of Venice, and I'm also their education director."

As a member of the turtle patrol, most mornings she arrives at Venice Beach about 6:30 am, looking for turtle tracks, monitoring and documenting the turtles’ activities. She is one of five people in Venice permitted to actually care for the turtles.

The other volunteers call them if they find anything. "We look at it, we decide if it's a nest, if the turtle has laid eggs…we verify the nests, which means we have to locate the eggs."

Then they stake it out, put up the orange tape, and document it.

That information is shared with many environmental groups. "I think it's that sharing of information that has helped the turtle population rebound. The green sea turtle population last year was the biggest it's ever been."

And with Venice's Wildlife Rescue, she's on call 24 hour a day. "I'll get a call from someone, I am on my way to the north jetty, there is a pelican with a line around it, it is limping. ‘I can't do it alone. Can you come and help me?’"

Recently she was part of a team that tried to rescue a pelican on Marker 2 in the gulf. "I was able to jump up on the ladder, and when I pulled on the line, the bird flew away and it still had a lure on his shoulder."

She was heartbroken, but most rescues are more successful.

Recently she rescued a rare roseate spoonbill. "The bird was down among the mangroves, which thank God for yoga. I had to pick my way through and get into awkward positions. And trying to get out with your net and the bird tricky."

And yes, she does yoga on the beach every morning. She says it is a tremendous help.

She and her husband moved to Venice from Washington DC. Her husband was an interpreter and she a psychologist working in emergency services. "A lot of metal health cases, suicidal people, homicidal people, and kids in trouble and people off their meds and all that."

She also served as chaplain at a hospital and was honored by the New York Police for her work as a part of the critical incident stress management team in debriefing first responders at Ground Zero after 9/11.

The Magees moved to Venice to be near her grandchildren, and she shares her love for wildlife with them.

Peg Magee is truly an amazing woman.

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