Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sea Turtle Rescue Tree in Beaufort's Festival of Trees

Caroline Hospice in Beaufort, SC hosts a Festival of Trees each year to welcome the holiday season and raise money for the organization. This year, the three turtle nest protection groups from the Beaufort area, Fripp, Hunting and Harbor Islands, sponsored a Sea Turtle Rescue Tree in the festival. How exciting to decorate a Christmas tree with sea turtles!

First on the list of things to do was make turtle ornaments. Sea Turtle Rescue Program staff and volunteers got together at volunteer Patricia DeVito's home one evening for a decoration making "soiree". It was great fun as you can see from the photos below!

The dough ornaments were baked and then the creativity in all of us kicked in!

Although a few of the turtles looked like they were recuperating from missing limbs and boat strikes, most were beautiful! Over 100 sparkling sea turtle ornaments were created with lots of TLC, much like the care we give to our patients.

The tree decorating took place on Sunday, December 5th, while Sea Turtle Rescue Program staff were attending a conference in Florida. Although we hated to miss the culmination of our ornament making efforts, several hospital volunteers offered to take the lead in decorating the tree in Beaufort.

Barb Gobien is showing off one of the photo ornaments of turtles that have been rehabilitated in the Sea Turtle Hospital. Our photographer, Barb Bergwerf made these fantastic ornaments that tell the story of the patients. Not pictured here is the wonderful sea turtle tree skirt that Barb Gobien made. How did we get such talented volunteers?

This little Santa turtle is part of the tree topper - so cute!

The tree is BEAUTIFUL! It went up for auction fully decorated and was won by none other than Janie Lackman, head of the Fripp Island Turtle Team. We hope you enjoy the tree, Janie!

The Sea Turtle Rescue Program Volunteers are pictured with leaders of the Fripp and Hunting Island Turtle Teams. Clockwise from bottom: Fran Nolan (Hunting Island), Barb Gobien, Patricia DeVito, Jackie Huffman, Bev Ballow, and Janie Lackman (Fripp Island)

Not only was this a great way to spread the good word about the wonderful work being done to rehabilitate sick and injured sea turtles at the South Carolina Aquarium, but it was great fun for rescue staff and volunteers. We would like to send a huge thank you to Janie, Fran and Buddy from the Beaufort turtle teams and also to our wonderfully talented and dedicated volunteer staff! We are so fortunate to have each one of you working with us!

Merry Christmas from all of us at the South Carolina Aquarium!