Grade 6'ers write about sea turtles

Artwork and an essay for the children of the world by
Melissa A, Amber C, Uday K, Nevett M,
Allison R, Kevin S, Mike S, Hilary W
Grade 6 students
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

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For the children of the world


This work was created as a class project. Each thumbnail displays an original drawing and a haiku poem by the students. The drawings were done in black and white, then scanned and coloured by their teacher. The thumbnails are linked to 640x480 JPEGS.

Sea Turtles

They outlived the dinosaurs

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Our Earth is called the Earth but 74% of its surface has water on it. It is really an Ocean Planet. Sea turtles have been on this planet for over 100 million years. They have outlived the dinosaurs and the Ice Age.

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Turtles lay their eggs on land


Turtles are interesting in many ways. For example when they reproduce they return to the same beaches where they were hatched. Scientists aren't really sure how they do this. Turtles lay their eggs on land. Turtles' eggs are the size of a ping pong ball. A female turtle will nest several times in a season but won't nest again for another 2 to 3 years after that. It will take 50-60 days for the eggs to hatch.

When the baby turtles hatch it can take them up to two days to dig their way up to the top of their nest. If the baby turtles feel warm sand they will stop because the warm sand indicates it is daytime. They stop digging and wait until it cools down which is a sign the sun has set and it is night.

Their long journey to the ocean

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The reason they wait is because they might dry out on their long journey to the ocean. This arrangement also works out because this will reduce the chances of predators catching them before they make it to the ocean. After the turtles burst out of the sand they head for the brightest area and that is usually the sea because the moon is shining on the ocean.

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Baby turtles get killed because they go the wrong way


Sometimes the brightest place is not the ocean because condos and hotel lights are a lot brighter than the moonlight over the water. Every year baby turtles get killed because they go the wrong way and head for shopping malls and other bright lights. They get killed crossing roads and getting dried out because they are disoriented and fooled into going the wrong way.

There are different kinds of turtles in this world. They include the Leatherback, the Olive Ridley, the Kemp's Ridley, the Green turtle, the Black turtle and the Loggerhead. Of all these the Kemp's Ridley is the smallest and most endangered.

Archie Carr and his friends put tags on adult turtles

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A while ago there was a great sea turtle hero. His name is Archie Carr. Archie Carr devoted his life to sea turtles. He also started a sea turtle sanctuary called the Caribbean Conservation Corporation. Archie Carr and his friends put tags on adult turtles and would give five dollars to whoever found a tag. The reason they put tags on them was to see how far they travelled. He got a tag returned that was sent all the way from Venezuela. He would not put tags on baby turtles because they were too small.

That makes baby turtles hard to track. Archie Carr hoped to find where the hatchlings go once they leave their beach. Scientists did not know where the baby turtles went. Archie Carr spent a long time trying to find the answer to this big question. Luckily he found out just before he died where the hatchlings go. He found out that the hatchlings go to a special place in the ocean and find a kind of seaweed called Sargassum and live and feed on it. Sargassum is good because it camouflages the baby turtles from predators.

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They will eat plastics


The only problem is the Sargassum grows where pollution accumulates and they are too far away from the turtle scientists who can protect them. They will eat plastics and tar balls because they mistake these things for food. Many baby turtles get killed from eating bad things.

Archie Carr also spent a long time looking for the nesting beach of the Kemp's Ridley. One day he saw a movie that was made in 1947 only he saw it in the Sixties. It showed 40,000 female Kemp's Ridleys that went on the beach as Rancho Nuevo to lay their eggs. Now hardly any nest there. In 1994 only about 500 females showed up to lay their eggs.

Turtles have a tough time surviving. They have many predators. The worst one is people. Japan is the number one place for sea turtle marketing. They make many sea turtle products. These include turtle shell mounts, stuffed baby turtles and meat. The skin of turtles is used for the leather industry.

Another major problem that is killing turtles is the shrimping industry. They have caused so many turtle killings that the US government created the T.E.D. (Turtle Excluder Device). The TED virtually eliminates the turtle deaths and bycatch. Shrimpers don't want to use TED's because they think they will catch fewer shrimp and they don't like the government to tell them what to do. We hope shrimpers will be more mature and responsible about helping the turtles.

Poachers are also a big problem

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Poachers are also a big problem. Most poachers take the eggs to feed their families but some poachers will kill nesting females. This is very bad because it takes nature a long time to grow an adult female turtle. When poachers kill adult females they are endangering the species more than if they took the eggs.

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Many turtles were saved from extinction


There are many researchers trying to save the turtles' habitat. They strive every day to keep the turtles, hatchlings and nests safe from poachers and their natural enemies. They are called Archie's Army and were inspired by Archie Carr. Hundreds of researchers are dedicated to saving the lives of turtles. This was all possible because of Archie Carr. Many turtles because of this were saved from extinction.

Archie Carr died in 1987. He worked to save turtles all his life. Archie Carr is a memorable person.

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Last modified 04/03/20
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