UNION — The study of the environment often inspires people to get involved with trying to save it and that’s what lead a group of students at Foster Park Elementary School to do their part to try and help save an endangered species.
The third grade students in Mrs. Perette Candler’s science class at Foster Park Elementary School are studying a variety of ecosystems, including the ecosystems of the world’s oceans. As part of their study of ocean ecosystems, the students learned about loggerhead sea turtles. One of the things the students learned about loggerhead sea turtles is that they are an endangered species.
According to the WWF website (panda.org) the “main threats which affect marine turtles” including loggerheads are:
• Habitat loss and degradation
• Wildlife trade
• Collection of eggs and meat for consumption
• Incidental capture (bycatch)
• Climate change
The website states that “the main cause of mortality is attributed to fisheries bycatch, and abandoned drift nets continue to drown loggerheads in unknown numbers. In the Mediterranean and the USA, habitat loss or disturbance and pollution are the main threats to this species. In Florida for example, beach ‘armouring’ to prevent erosion, increase in human beach activity, and beachfront lighting have all affected nesting turtles.”
This loss of nesting areas and the threat it poses to the continued survival of the loggerhead sea turtle is what the students in Mrs. Candler’s class decided to do something about. The students decided to raise money to adopt a loggerhead sea turtle nest. To do that, they made a banks out of chip canisters to put that money in and they raised that money by doing extra chores their parents let them do to raise the required amount.
The students proved to be quite industrious, because within two days they’d raised more than the $25 needed to adopt a nest. Excited by their rapid success, the students decided to adopt a second nest and set about to raise the remaining funds needed to do so. Before the week was up, they’d raised enough money to adopt that second nest.
Why is it so important to save the loggerhead sea turtle? According to the WWF website, marine turtles like the loggerhead “fulfill important roles in marine ecosystems.” It states that “loggerhead turtles eat many types of invertebrates, in particular molluscs and crustaceans, and can change the seabed by ‘mining’ the sediments for their favourite prey. Also, loggerhead turtles carry veritable animal and plant cities on their shell. As many as 100 species of animals and plants have been recorded living on one single loggerhead turtle.”
In other words, like the rest of the world’s animal and plant life, the Loggerhead Turtle is part of the vast, interconnected, and complex ecosystems of nature and plays its part in sustaining and maintaining those ecosystems which collectively make up the biosphere of the Earth. The human race is also part of that biosphere and is connected to its ecosystems just as the loggerhead sea turtle and the other animals and plants on Earth are and, as the only sentient lifeform on the planet, has a unique responsibility for recognizing the interconnectedness of all life forms and doing its part to sustain and maintain the ecosystems of nature.
The students in Mrs. Candler’s class recognized this great responsibility and did something to carry it out. It’s time for the rest of humanity to do the same and ensure that future generations of third graders will be able to learn about the loggerhead sea turtle — and other plants and animals — as a living species and not an extinct one.
The students in Mrs. Candler’s third grade class at Foster Park Elementary School have been studying the ecosystems of the world’s oceans. In the course of their studies the students learned that the loggerhead sea turtle is an endangered species and they decided to do their part to help save the animals. The turtles are in danger of losing their nesting areas to development and so the students decided to “adopt” a loggerhead nest in order to protect it. By doing extra chores they raised enough money to adopt two nests. Here they display the certificates they received for adopting the two nests. The students are (first row) Miracle Smith, Ben Balkum, Jakamron Beaty, Charlie Shores-Smalley, Marley Poole, Jared Santos, (second row) Destiney Lucre, RJ Bobo, Elijah Lindsey, Nevaeh Eison, Camden Erwin, Treyvon Meadow, Ke’Asia Hill, (third row) Ethan White, Jayden Lanzot, Levi Gentry, Adaria Brannon, Ayden Thompson, Da’Prasha Puckett, Chloe Bailey, Kamrin Song, and ZyCorrian Jeter. Not pictured is Cameron Lindsey.