Sea Turtles and You

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Writing letters is a very important tool to inform governments of the public’s concern for endangered species protection. Letters can be the culmination of several lessons from diverse areas. Students first need to learn why it is important to save endangered species. Use the preceding information about turtle natural history, their biology, and the threats to their survival in your lessons. You can discuss where sea turtles nest and their migration patterns using the enclosed migration map for reference.

By writing to the President of the United States, the Governor of Florida, Walton County Commissioners, and or any other elected official, students can learn the workings of the government, and how, in a democracy, opinions can be voiced. Students will also learn the proper way to write a formal letter. Writing to government officials is a “real world” writing assignment and students often receive a reply. 

An example of how powerful letters from students can be is the Earth Island Institute International Marine Mammal Project’s campaign to make tuna “dolphin-safe”. Thousands of students wrote to tuna companies expressing their anger over the dolphin kills. Tuna companies felt this pressure and have changed their practices. We can make a difference!
Write letters to government officials demanding that laws, which protect and restore endangered sea turtles be implemented and enforced. Students can write letters asking for stronger endangered species legislation. A complete list of elected officials is included in this packet. For more information on endangered species protection at the local level, students can contact the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) at 850-267-0299 at Topsail Hill and ask to speak to a Ranger.

Writing an article for the school newspaper can
help your students inform others about the issue. 
The article could include sea turtle natural history 
and biology, their endangered status, and facts on TEDs. Students may include a student produced map and explanation. Students will learn the difference between journalistic writing and letter writing.

If your school does not have a newspaper, your 
class may want to design and produce a newsletter on the issue to be distributed to the school. Working 
alone or in groups, children could write on different 
aspects of the issue (natural history, biology, why they are endangered, TEDs). Including art work produced by the students would add visual interest to your newsletter and increase participation by class members. 

Along with the science, geography, writing, and art,
children will learn what is entailed in the production 
of a newsletter, the design (masthead, table of contents, etc.), and layout.

Students may want to share what they have learned 
about sea turtles with the community. As a class they 
could write a letter to the editor of the local paper urging people to support efforts to protect endangered turtles, the oceans, and our environment. The following are addresses of local newspapers:

Ron Kelley- 892-3232 
P.O. Box 1546
DeFuniak Springs, FL 32435

Gwen Break – 267-4555 
P.O. Box 2363 
SRB, FL 32459
Debbie Wheeler – Reporter

TELEPHONE: Toll-free: 800-755-1185
Editorial: 850-863-1111 - Circulation: 850-863-1212
Crestview: 850-682-5608 - Destin: 850-267-8300 - Navarre: 850-936-8600
200 Racetrack Rd.
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547

After learning about sea turtles and their endangered status, younger students may not feel comfortable writing letters. They can still make their opinions known by expressing themselves artistically to the officials mentioned above. They still benefit from the science, geography, and social studies by voicing their opinion to the government without the intimidation of writing that some younger children may have.

Students could design ads, posters, or flyers on the sea turtle issue. These can be used as outreach tools to the rest of the school. These could be hung in the halls or the school cafeteria. Students might want to write a page to accompany their poster to explain what is happening with the sea turtles and what can be done to save them.

On a larger scale, your entire school could organize an “Earth Day”, Oceans Week”, or “Protect Our Environment” fair. These fairs are a great way for entire schools to participate in information-intensive festivals, which highlight a variety of environmental issues, from sea turtles to the ozone layer. Each class could be responsible for a different topic and for presenting their topic to the rest of the school. The presentations could include art and story contests, songs, pictures, demonstrations, T-shirt contests, and slide shows. 

Source: Sea Turtle Restoration Project







































South Walton Turtle Watch

Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program

Van R. Butler Elementary School


Last Updated: 3/06