Sponsored by the world famous Clearwater Marine Aquarium, this was the 6th annual Sea Turtle Awareness Day held right next to the beach in Clearwater, Florida. The event brings together some of the state’s top environmental organizations and vendors to help teach about the wonders of sea turtles, and educate the public on the ways we can help save these remarkable creatures from the scourge of mankind.
My involvement with the even actually goes back to a a workshop I did at The Crayola Experience in Orlando. Crayola was having an “ocean” month, and invited me to demonstrate how to draw various sea creatures each weekend while representatives from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium gave a more educational aspect to it. On one of those weekends I met a turtle biologist named Yvette (pictured below). She saw the value of drawing as part of the learning experience, and invited me to last year’s Sea Turtle event. Obviously that worked out well, and I was back again for this year.
This also also brought together a massive beach cleanup effort that had over 1,300 people register. And let me tell you, I’ve quite a few beach cleanups, and that is a huge number. (Getting 100 people is usually considered big). But because of this incredible turnout, we were able to collect over 1000 pounds of trash from the beach and surrounding area.
If you are not familiar with beach clean ups (or cleanups in general) you are like me for most of my life. When I first heard of such a thing, sad to say, I thought it was a little odd. I think that’s because it’s all too easy to think problems like litter are someone else’s responsibility. But once you flip that on its head, and actually make it your mission to find and collect litter, it’s surprisingly fun…like you’re searching for treasure. And, oddly enough, it'‘s like the crazier the find, the more valuable it is.