A green sea turtle named Moonlight is now in its forever home in the Caribbean Sea, thanks to Grade 2 students at Cayman International School.
The 2-year-old turtle, which was raised at the Cayman Turtle Centre, was released at Governor’s Beach on Friday, 29 Jan., as part of the students’ project, “How are we connected to the sea?”
“In this project, students [took] on the role of environmentalists to research and develop a sequence of public service announcements on ocean-based environmental issues,” said their teacher, Amanda Brown.
“They [completed] individual research projects and then worked in teams to combine information, connect understandings and grow ideas.”
Turtles like Moonlight are considered ‘head-started’, students were told by Shona McGill, the centre’s education programmes officer.
“The young turtles are raised within the safe environment of Cayman Turtle Centre until they are 1-2 years old, before being released into the wild,” giving them a head start, she said. “At that age their large shells make them big enough that only a few large predators, such as sharks, for example, would try to eat them.”
Brown said at the heart of the project was the question, “How can we, as environmentalists, use what we have learned about ocean-based environmental issues to advocate for them, inspire others, and make change?”
She added, “Because we live on an island, the ocean is a daily presence in our lives. It impacts us in ways that are personally, culturally and economically significant, and often dictates the ways in which our daily needs are met.”
The children also learned more about how they can each do their part to protect wild sea turtles by reducing the amount of plastic pollution in the ocean, McGill said. “Getting kids involved in conservation from a young age is very important. They are very interested in the environment, and it helps them to learn very easy and simple habits to take into adulthood to help them conserve species.”