Making a Difference In Local Communities
Myla Osborne, Community Outreach Coordinator,
National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation
At times, I feel like I am not making the progress I had anticipated and moving at a snail’s pace when setting up a new chapter to the National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation here in Northeast Florida. With the already established organizations locally, I can sometimes be overlooked in comparison to the already active established conservation groups. Luckily, with my monthly table display filled with pamphlets, plush turtle toys, and stickers at the North Beaches Art Walk, the locals are able to see that I am here to stay and help. Knowing that I needed another approach to spread awareness and meet more people, I went back to the drawing-board and was able to rethink my approach as to how to reach the community and branch out.

Finally a glimmer of hope. The most curious, inquisitive often informative visitors to my art walk table are those who stand usually no more than 4 ½ feet tall and are front and center of my table each and every month. Walking away with pockets overflowing with turtle literature, sea turtle stickers for every family member, and plush turtles peeking out of moms tote, we part ways until next month. Like most children, the local kids I have met are eager to learn more and ready to listen to what you have to say.

In an effort to expand the National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation’s awareness and conservation vision and efforts, I found that often the most enthusiastic conservationists leave the smallest footprints in the sand. However, without a doubt, they in turn influence the largest of footprints. Within the small community of Atlantic Beach, Florida, lies the local Atlantic Beach Elementary School. Built in 1939, this funky little retro school is painted pink, surrounded by palm trees and bustling with children walking, biking, and skateboarding to school. ABE is tucked away in the residential neighborhood just blocks from the beach. Truly a gem of a school with that old school charm.
I was lucky enough to team up with one of the most passionate and open-minded teachers at the school this year, Liz Hullender. With 27 years in the classroom and by far the most patient, enthusiastic, loving teachers I have met, I knew that this partnership was just the ticket to reaching the community as a team. I knew together we could reach these future environmentalists by educating them on the ecosystems surrounding them and ways to improve the environmental path we are headed in a fun and engaging way. We taught them the cycle of everyday items used that are detrimental to wildlife such as balloons, plastic bottles, nets, etc. Our main focus was on sea turtles. Using turtle skulls, ping pong balls to represent turtle eggs, artificial hatch-n- grow turtles that help visualize the earliest stages of the sea turtle lifecycle, pictures, slideshows and coloring, we created fun and interactive learning. With turtle nesting season quickly approaching, it was important to us to introduce them to the visitors that share the beach that they frequent regularly. I assure you that they are the hope that is needed for the future! Together, we can coexist.
“It is not until the last tree is cut down, the last fish is eaten and the last stream is poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.” --Alanis Obomsawin
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National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation
4419 West Tradewinds Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale Florida 33308
(954) 351-9333 – Toll Free (877) Turtle 3
State of Florida Registration Number CH-2841. Internal Revenue Code 501 (c) (3)
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