Kids love sea turtles. I’ve given presentations to hundreds of kids around the US and one of my favorite parts of my job is seeing their faces when they see and learn about these animals and ask questions about them. Students are a big part of how we save hatchlings through our annual Billion Baby Turtles School Fundraising Contest. This year, more than 200 students at 9 schools helped to raise more than $3,000 to save over 15,000 endangered turtle hatchlings at important nesting beaches.
2018 was the sixth year we have run this contest and it’s impact has been huge. Roughly 1,900 students at dozens of schools have helped to raise about $25,000, resulting in the saving of an estimated 125,000 baby turtles! For their hard work, students receive prizes from our sponsors, including Endangered Species Chocolate, Nature’s Path/EnviroKidz, EcoTeach, Pura Vida Bracelets, Eartheasy, and others.
Here are a few of the inspiring efforts undertaken by classes this year to help save turtles:
· Jefferson Elementary (Missouri): The class wrote commercials promoting donating during Sea Turtle Week. The students shared facts about turtles and why they are in danger and they were recorded giving them in front of a green screen. The students also made a sea turtle fund collecting machine, which is a container made from various materials like milk jugs, wall paper from wall paper books, and cardboard that sat in the classrooms. The students would go collect it and bring the money back to class and then deliver postcards for donations. Jefferson has participated in the contest since 2014 and have won prizes every year since then.
· Middle School at Parkside: Two art classes with 47 students worked together to hold a bake sale, sell our hatchling postcards, and sell coffee to teachers to raise funds. All together, they raised $350 that will help save 1,750 hatchlings and were runners-up winners in the contest. This effort was part of a lesson called “Bringing Awareness to Endangered Species with Art” where students will display their art (some of the great examples below). This was Parkside’s first year participating in the contest.
· Jefferson Elementary (California): These students gave up their lunch recess for a week to make which were hung all over the school. We spent an additional lunch recess reviewing sea turtle facts and how the project helps protect sea turtles. I had 2-3 students sign up on a calendar to help me sell post cards and stickers every morning before the school day started. We had a little cart that had a simulated sea turtle nest (large bowl filled with sand) and eggs (ping pong balls). The students would explain that sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach and that the ping pong balls were about the size of the eggs and identified the species of sea turtle on the postcards and give a few facts. The “Sea Turtle Ambassadors” have participated and won every year since 2014.