Sunday, December 29, 2013

Let's Make It A Conservation Christmas; Sea Turtles

This holiday season, we thought we would celebrate by spotlighting a few species in desperate need of saving and the fantastic organization working towards that goal.  As always, we ask that you help our conservation partners, but during the season of giving we wanted to focus on a few other organizations as well. It’s our “Conservation Christmas” series!

I will never forget the first time I travelled to Hawaii.  It was when I was in college and after a long and exhausting journey I walked across the street to try and wake up a bit in  the waters of Waikiki Beach.  I swam far out beyond the crowds to relax and float for a few minutes in peace, something hard to find in this tourist-filled area.  I was in maybe eight feet of water and dove down under to get my face wet for the first time, hoping this might return some life to my tired eyes.  I opened my eyes and looked down on the sea floor only to be startled by something big moving beneath me!  I backed away quickly thinking it might be a ray, but as the sand cleared I could see it was a sea turtle, a beautiful, and very large, sea turtle.

For a kid from New Jersey, this was an exhilarating sight.  I tried to swim after it and catch up but, alas the turtle was a much faster swimmer than I.  For the remainder of my visit to Hawaii, I noticed the influence these turtles have in the islands, with images of them throughout the island’s artwork and even in souvenirs and the like.  They are an important symbol in Hawaiian culture and my encounter with one left a lasting impression on me.

Disney has a close relationship with Sea Turtles as well.  Since the opening of their Vero Beach Resort, Disney has been promoting and helping maintain Florida’s turtle population.  And they are not alone.  Florida has a few organization working to help keep these endangered creatures from extinction.

One such organization is the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton.  They protect an array of endangered plants and animals within their 20 acres of protected barrier island reserve including caring for more than 600 turtle nests a year within a five mile span of beaches and rescuing injured turtles and releasing more than 6000 stranded hatchlings each nesting season.  You can visit them in Boca Raton and you can also read about what they do, learn more on sea turtle conservation and donate to them by going to their website

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

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