On Saturday, our last day on St. Simons, we drove over to Jekyll Island to see some very special creatures, endangered loggerheads at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. As it turns out, the center was having its annual “Nest Fest” on the beach with crafts, games, and exhibits all aimed at educating children (and adults) about the various species of endangered sea turtles. The festival would culminate with the release of two loggerhead turtles who had been rehabilitated at the Center. We were incredibly excited when we found out that we would be able to see this somewhat rare event.
This is Superman at the SeaFest booths trying on a shark's mouth for size...
After doing lots of fun crafts and games and learning about different species of ocean life, it was time to see Simone and Duffy returned to their ocean home...
One of the turtles did not want to leave, while the other headed out to sea so fast that she left a huge wake behind her.
It was truly exciting to be able to see something this special. We also found out that both turtles had a tracking device attached to them, so we can go online and see their progress.
After the release, we left the beach and drove over to the Rehabilitation Center. Of course the Sea Turtle Center had a gift shop, and being the dedicated home schooling mother (read bibliophile) that I am, I picked up a couple of good children’s books about sea turtles.
Carolina’s Story - This is the true story of Carolina, a loggerhead turtle who was rescued off the coast of South Carolina and who was dying with turtle flu. The book describes how doctors and staff at the South Carolina Aquarium treated and cared for Carolina and then after several months released her back into the Atlantic Ocean. The photographs are wonderful and the storyline captivated everyone from the 3 year old to the 8 year old. In the back are some loggerhead turtle facts and activities. Because we had just seen two of these amazing animals released back into the wild, this story held special meaning for us.
Turtle Tide: The Ways of Sea Turtles - This book describes the life cycle of the sea turtle, from nesting and laying eggs, through incubation, hatching, and swimming out to survive (or not) in the open sea, and finally once again returning to the beach where she hatched to lay her own eggs.
Here are a few more books and resources I've found...
Turtle in the Sea by Jim Arnosky
HSS has a terrific free Sea Turtle Lapbook .
HSS also has a wonderful unit on the book Turtle Bay. We used part of this unit last year while studying the ocean.
More lesson ideas and sea turtle links at Education World.
There is lots of information at www.seaturtle.org. We will track Duffy and Simone’s whereabouts from this site. (Update: We have been checking in on Simone and Duffy, and it’s so amazing to be able to see where they are now. In the fifty-something days since their release, neither one has strayed terribly far from Jekyll. It will be interesting to see if they return there when they are ready to nest.)
O.K., it's late, but hopefully I'll be back tomorrow to let you in on our whereabouts. ;)