by Roberta Dean
When reading The Wetlands newsletter this winter, I was drawn to the news about this year marking the 25th Anniversary of the Diamondback Terrapin Conservation Project. I immediately realized what that meant to me — I would be preparing for my 25th turtle release with my kindergarten class at Stone Harbor Elementary School.
This June, Dr. Roger Wood attended the 25th turtle release and The Wetlands Institute presented me with the 2016 Citizen Conservation Award honoring my 25 years helping the Diamondback Terrapin Conservation Project. As I prepared for this year’s release, which is also my last since I am retiring, I figured out that I had probably made more than 11,000 turtle cookies (which we still sell for 25 cents each) and that we had given The Wetlands at least $2,500 over the years which was matched by Sturdy Savings Bank — $100 each year. Together $5,000 came from the kindergarten turtle cookie sale.
The turtle project was a fascinating and fulfilling classroom project which gave my kindergartners great joy every year. I estimate that 473 children participated in this project over the years. As I retire, I will take with me great memories of my 25 turtle releases. Thank you to everyone at The Wetlands for continuing this project with my class for so many years.