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Southwest Orange Tuesday, Jun. 13, 2017 5 years ago

A Windermere Elementary School project helped save sea turtles

Windermere Elementary School students raised $1,800 to support sea turtles this year.
by: Brittany Gaines Reporter

Five sea turtles at The Turtle Hospital are living happier, healthier lives thanks to a $1,800 donation from the students at Windermere Elementary School.

Every year, science teacher Lynn Tidmus organizes a project for the students to teach them to help the environment, and this year their project was to adopt endangered sea turtles. Each student was sent home with a plastic, Easter egg and told to collect as much spare change they could to help raise money for the turtles. The goal was to raise $820 by the end of the project.

“They had art projects, they learned about sea turtles, it was a full-circle project,” said Leigh Andrus, whose first-grade son participated in the project.

The Turtle Hospital, located in Marathon, opened 1986 with the goal of rehabilitating injured sea turtles and returning them to their natural habitat. However, not all injured turtles can survive in the wild and the hospital has several turtles that permanently live there.

“There are five turtles that you can symbolically adopt to help support them,” Andrus said.

In addition to having the students collect spare change, the school held an Earth Day art contest. The goal was to create and sell T-shirts with the winning design. Out of 150 submissions, fourth-grader Rocco Sioson created the winning piece, and another $400 was raised from selling the T-shirts.

“We are excited about continuing this tradition at Windermere Elementary School with our annual Earth Day Art Contest,” said art teach Tracy Gore. “We are so pleased with how our students responded with a generous donation to The Turtle Hospital.”

In addition to raising money, the students learned various ways they can help save sea turtles - such as picking up trash and turning off lights when they are at the beach.

“There are so many things our kids can do by themselves that will help save sea turtles,” Andrus said. 

Andrus said that from the start of the project, her son was enthusiastic about raising money to help the sea turtles.

“He was so excited he came home with this note in his hand about what the project was,” She said. “He said, ‘Mom, we have to help the sea turtles.’ This particular topic was near and dear to me and our family, so he was super excited about it. He did special chores every day, and he did not forget. He was on it for weeks. And every time he did something particularly nice or helpful for his little brother, I would give him 10 cents. He did all kinds of helpful, nice things, and he raised more than a dollar every single day.”

By the end of the project, the first grade class raised the most money during the project and was awarded with a popsicle party. 

“They certainly surpassed the goal that they had,” Andrus said about the money that was raised during the project.

The five sea turtles that the school symbolically adopted are April, Bender, Bubble Butt, Montel and Rebel, and they are all permanent residents at The Turtle Hospital.



Contact Brittany Gaines at [email protected].

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