Kindergartners Help Conservationists Save Turtles By Setting Them Free

Jun 10, 2022

Thought Question: Think of a time when you performed an act of charity. What did you do?  How did you feel afterward?

One of Aesop’s most famous morals is, “Slow and steady wins the race.” No doubt that would apply to saving endangered turtles, one at a time. A group of kindergartners did just that Wednesday. They released 17 rescued turtles into the wild. 

The turtles were hatched from eggs recovered from mothers run over by cars. They were released into New Jersey wetlands. The kids are participating in a special program. It has rescued thousands of injured and unhatched turtles from dangerous places. Kids from Stone Harbor Elementary School release the turtles every year.

The program is managed by the Wetlands Institute. The group is a nonprofit. The nonprofit helps injured turtles heal. It also collects eggs and incubates them. Then, it helps care for hatched turtles until their first birthday. 

The group's work is important. Turtle populations are declining. There are 356 turtle species around the world. According to a 2018 study, roughly 6 of 10 of the species have either gone extinct or are under threat. Lisa Ferguson, the institute’s director of research and conservation, told the Associated Press (AP) that southern New Jersey loses as many as 550 female turtles from road accidents every year.

The kindergartners are a big help, though. Through a partnership with the local school, children get to bond with the turtles. They name and draw pictures of them. The kids also hold bake sales to raise money to help save them.

“It’s a great community connection,” Ferguson told the AP. “It showcases how conservation works, and that everyone has a part to play, from adults down to kindergarten students.”  

Photo by David Troeger courtesy of Unsplash.

What is the best evidence that kindergartners at Stone Harbor Elementary School made a difference for turtle conservation? (Common Core RI.5.3; RI.6.3)
a. The kindergartners at Stone Harbor Elementary released 17 turtles into the wild that would not have survived without help.
b. Roughly 6 of 10 of the world’s 356 turtle species have either gone extinct or are under threat.
c. Southern New Jersey loses as many as 550 female turtles from road accidents every year.
d. The kindergartners at Stone Harbor Elementary hold bake sales to raise money for turtle conservation.
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