It was with great pleasure that on January 24th 2011 Project Ocean Founder Corey Engstrom and Treasurer David Knisley had the opportunity to give a presentation to the staff and students of Wyandot Elementary School.
During this presentation, Wyandot Elementary School students were briefly introduced to the Project Ocean non-profit organization and then spent some time learning about sea turtles. Thanks to the great National Geographic web site (http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/games/puzzlesquizzes/quizyournoodle-leatherback-sea-turtles), the students got to work along with their teachers to take a very fun and informative quiz on leatherback sea turtles. It is simply amazing how much fun a group of people can have working together to answer ten questions.
Once the quiz was completed, the students were introduced to ways that they might be able to see sea turtles. These included swimming in the oceans, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, or possibly even by visiting zoos like the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The highlight of this portion of the presentation came with School Principal Mr. Pfeiffer walking out with a complete set of SCUBA gear including the button up shirt, tie, and khaki pants. Many thanks go out to Principal Pfeiffer for his participation in our presentation. By all means he was the star of the show.
The staff and students were then introduced to a few of the issues that are causing all seven species of sea turtles to be on the endangered or threatened species list. These included some of the following items.
- Water pollution – Such as plastic bags in the oceans which are being mistaken as jelly fish and eaten by sea turtles
- Oil spills – Such as the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which impacted both sea turtles living in the area and newly hatched sea turtles that were making their way into the ocean for the first time just to find oil contaminated water.
- Artificial light – Due to beach front developments, artificial light is causing sea turtles to get confused when returning to the ocean after laying their eggs on beaches or when hatchling sea turtles are making their way to the water for the first time. These sea turtles rely on the natural light of the moon to find their way safely to the water.
- Fishing Nets – Over the past twenty years, it has been stated that millions of sea turtles have lost their lives due to being caught in fishing nets. Today there are new nets called TED’s (Turtle Extracting Devices) that could significantly reduce the number of sea turtle deaths if all fishermen would use them.
How To Help
Everyone was then introduced to few simple ways they could help ensure that sea turtles are still around for future generations to see. These included the following items.
- Supporting non-profit organizations that help protect the oceans and all aquatic life.
- Showing their support
- By wearing supporting materials such as T-Shirts and supporting wrist bands.
- By talking with others about how help is needed.
- By volunteering even if that is simply picking up a plastic bag off a beach while on summer vacation.
- Reduce Reuse Recycle
- Installing compact fluorescent light bulbs
- Conserving water
The Great News
Over the next several days, the students and staff of Wyandot Elementary School are going to help raise money for Project Ocean and Sea Turtle Conservancy (http://conserveturtles.org). It is our understanding that the grade which raises the most money will be able to select one of several sea turtles currently being tracked by satellite from the Sea Turtle Conservancy web site to adopt on behalf of the entire school. Once adopted, the students and teachers will be able to follow the turtles migration path via a special online map.
Special thanks go out to Cheryl Fournier and Beth Sagun of the Wyandot Service Committee for working with the administrative staff at Wyandot Elementary School and getting Project Ocean the opportunity to share our presentation.
Special thanks also goes out to Sarah Engstrom of Priority Mortgage (http://www.sarahengstrom.com) for sponsoring our presentation. Sarah’s support allowed us to provide all students and staff members with a Project Ocean silicone support wrist band.