SeaTurtles.org partnered with the California Academy of Sciences to celebrate World Sea Turtle Day with over two thousand people! The event was a glowing success, combining activism, science education, and fundraising into an unforgettable night. The San Francisco Examiner interviewed Executive Director and sea turtle scientist Todd Steiner and printed the story below about the event.
Hundreds of people were inspired to take action for sea turtle conservation and signed our petitions in support of increased TED use in the Gulf of Mexico and to name the Pacific leatherback the official marine reptile of California.
Tag a sea turtle, and tag yourself, in our photos on Facebook! Click here to view our Facebook photo album. We’ve posted fun photos from the evening, featuring Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols, Mr. Leatherback, Assemblymember Paul Fong, Program Director Teri Shore, and marine biologist Dr. Chris Pincetich.
Sea Turtle Awareness at Academy of Science’s Nightlife
June 17, 2012. By Jenny Sherman, SF Environmental News Examiner
What has ancient qualities, is on the Federal Critically Endangered list and migrates to our Northern California coasts every year? If you guessed the leatherback turtle, you are one of the few aware of its presence near the San Francisco Bay.
That’s why on Thursday June 14th the California Academy of Science teamed up with the Sea Turtle Restoration Project as well as other groups to raise awareness of the dwindling numbers of Leatherbacks.
“These young people could be out in bars,” said Todd Steiner, Executive Director of TIRN (Turtle Island Restoration Network), of the crowds coming into the Nightlife event thrown by the Academy of Science. “Instead they are here to learn about sea turtles.”
Leatherback turtles migrate tens of thousands of miles from their breeding grounds near Indonesia to feed in the chilly waters off the California coast. Along the way, they get caught in fishing nets, a problem contributing to their drastically low survival rate. TIRN is working to pass a law that requires nets to have a metal grate and escape opening for turtles and any other larger sea creatures to escape certain unwanted death.
“A fisherman actually came up with the idea,” explained Steiner. “He created (the grate) to keep trash out of his net.” The conservation groups have improved on the idea to preserve the populations of turtles.
The awareness campaign was replete with pamphlet-laden tables, waterway conservationists, a sea turtle spotlight planetarium show, tortoise shell displays, a meet and greet with Sea Turtle Researcher and Outside Magazine coverboy Wallace J. Nichols, remarks from Assemblyman Paul Fong who sponsored a bill protecting Leatherbacks off the California coast, and, of course, interpretive dance.
Nightlife, an event held every Thursday at the San Francisco Academy of Science, opens a portion of the museum to adults looking to enjoy a cocktail while brushing up on their biological science. With a rainforest, aquarium, special exhibits and different DJ every week, it is an affair to attend over and over. And of course, you could walk out armed with the knowledge to help.
Looking upon the interpretive show of a “turtle” struggling to escape a fishing net, Steiner smiled. “Artists dancing, (politicians) writing bills, and lawyers helping turtles in Federal Court, we’re trying all kinds of things to raise awareness.”