Any Girl Scout who has attended resident Girl Scout camp in the summer knows the phrase “turtle time.”
It is the time in the cabin after lunch to relax, play games and have some chill time.
As I was a camp counselor last year at Camp Casa Mare, I immediately knew that this had to be the title for my Gold Award Project.
See, ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by sea creatures like turtles.
When I was 10, I went to the Florida Keys and visited the turtle hospital in Marathon.
It was the first time I learned about the sea turtles’ plight. And it was that trip that would shape my Gold Award Project.
I thought it would be easy to start my project since I knew that I wanted to help turtles. However, finding the perfect project was difficult.
By the greatest stroke of luck, I happened across the Sea Turtle Restoration Project — www.seaturtles.org — where I found contact information for Joanie Steinhaus, who later became my projector adviser.
She met with me at Galveston Island State Park and gave me many ideas on different possible projects. And from there, my project began.
I started out by teaching three classes during the Labor Day Weekend at Galveston Island State Park. I taught the children — and some adults, too — about the different types of sea turtles and the threats to them.
I had pictures of different sea turtles that were recovering at the turtle hospitals and different props to show the kids how they got hurt and the things they can do to help.
With the help of my team, I was able to make monofilament receptacles that will be set up on fishing piers to throw fishing line in. I also planted sea grass, making a video about how to plant it.
In case of another storm like Hurricane Ike, my video can be a resource for replanting the sea grass.
Along with those actions, I decided to teach more classes. I went to several schools around Galveston to teach the students about the sea turtles and their plight, my Gold Award and the scouting program.
It was great to be able to encourage the students that they, too, could make a difference in the world.
I also was able to participate in the Sea Turtle Saturday in Galveston, where I had a table where I could speak to people about my project and helped with the children’s section. I have designed a Girl Scout fun patch about sea turtles that I am hoping my council will adopt.
Finally, I was awarded the ABC Summer of Service Youth Award for $1,000, which I used to have a large sign made about sea turtles.
This sign went up on the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier where many people will be able to see it and become aware of the sea turtle’s plight.