Friday, February 15, 2013
Love A Sea Turtle
A third grade school field trip to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in 2005 sparked a passion within me to want to help the sea turtles. Coming home that day, I talked to my mother about the visit and how sad I was for the sick and injured turtles and wondered what I could do to help and “make a difference”. I developed a plan and, like many others my age, decided to hold a bake sale and sell lemonade. Science fairs, school open houses, farmers markets, civic events and most anywhere I could sell cookies and lemonade and talk about sea turtles, you would find me. A couple dozen cookies have turned into more than ten thousand cookies baked and sold.
I wanted to help the sea turtles “last” and from that my mother and I came up with Help Them L.A.S.T. - Love A Sea Turtle. My passion for sea turtles has grown from baking and selling sugar cookies into a thriving local grassroots organization with passion, purpose, a strong non-profit, collaborators and community support.
The mission statement of Love A Sea Turtle is committed to saving the world’s sea turtle population, inspiring young people to get involved, and providing hands-on environmental educational experiences and summer camps to underprivileged youth.
My work with the sea turtles has opened my eyes that there is a genuine need to get every student involved in volunteerism. I developed and filmed an educational video and in the last two years, have spoken to more than 5,500 students - showing the video (click here or see below) and speaking to them about sea turtles and getting involved.
In late summer of 2007, coffee was added to go with the sugar cookies in an effort to attract adults to the cause. A visit to the roasting facility for Joe Van Gogh Coffee in Hillsborough, North Carolina, led to the creation of a Fair Trade Organic “Sea Turtle” blend of coffee. Joe Van Gogh agreed to donate 10% of net profits of the Sea Turtle Blend to the Sea Turtle Hospital every year.
In the spring of 2008, Joe Van Gogh took notice of my sales of Sea Turtle Blend. The marketing team at Joe Van Gogh created an exciting logo and custom label. The big “public” launch for Sea Turtle coffee was in May of 2009. I was asked to set up my information display at several locations in Chapel Hill. The Sea Turtle Blend was a top seller in the Whole Foods Stores in NC/SC for Joe Van Gogh during the spring and summer. This fall, Fresh Market began carrying the Sea Turtle Blend in stores nationwide, and it continues to be a top seller.
Great Bake has raised awareness and resulted in thousands of dollars being donated to multiple ocean related efforts. Love A Sea Turtle will be promoting bake sales for ocean conservation groups during National Week of the Ocean, March 31 – April 6. It’s simple: hold a bake sale and donate the proceeds to your favorite ocean conservation group.
Another of my fundraisers is a trail run that includes a 5K and 10K along with a nature walk. The run will be March 2nd and it is the 4th annual event.