By Melanie Stewart
Under the moon in the still of the night where the sugar white sand meets the sea,
to the beach she was born a sea turtle comes home, this time as a mother-to-be.
Deep in one egg in the clutch in the nest in a hole that she dug like a fort,
Is a daughter she named Theodora, though we call her ‘Theo’ for short.
And here it begins on the sugar white sands that we call the Emerald Coast-
The adventures of sweet Theodora, though she prefers Theo the most.
With a crack and a creak from her little egg beak young Theo’s shell breaks and she’s free!
Drawn to the water this sea turtle daughter can find her way… instinctively. Unless…
There are quite a few hurdles for every sea turtle when making their way cross the sand –
Not all can be helped or avoided but certainly some of them can.
Will You help Theo?
There are three ways that you can help Theo, it’s easy I’m sure you’ll agree:
Clean, Dark and Flat it’s simple as that to help her get back to the sea.
The first goal of every new hatchling, though sometimes it feels out of reach,
Is to climb from the nest she was born in, and make their way onto the beach.
From there it’s a race against time, against space, with obstacles turtles can’t see,
Like holes and sand castles, litter and toys, left behind on the beach when we leave.
If we forget to remove them, our toys can leave more than a mess!
A mother or baby sea turtle can get trapped or confused and distressed.
And we know that it’s wrong to litter, but it can be dangerous too!
For turtles see things that are garbage, and mistake them for their favorite food.
Another source of confusion, that could lead young Theo astray,
are lights from street lamps and houses, or a flashlight that points the wrong way.
To run to the sea in the dakness might sound scary for you or for me,
but the light where the sky meets the ocean is the only one she needs to sea.
There are three ways that you can help Theo, It’s easy I’m sure you’ll agree:
Clean, Dark and Flat, it’s as simple as that, to help her get back to the sea.
And sand castle bilding is awesome, or digging a hole can be fun.
Just knock them all down when you’re leaving and fill up the holes when you’re done.
For Theo a castle is daunting and something not found on her map,
While she is a great navigator, a hole in the sand is a trap!
There are three ways you can help Theo, it’s easy I’m sure you’ll aree.
Clean, Dark and Flat – it’s as simple as that to help her get back to the sea.
Under the moon in the still of the night, when the sea meets the sugar white sand,
A sea turtle daughter has just reached the water, so grateful you gave her a hand.
With sisters and brothers and so many others, she’ll learn all the ocean can teach.
So many adventures await her, beore she returns to the beach.
The Adventures of Theo coloring book is available for purchase all across South Walton and benefits the educational mission of the Friends of South Walton Sea Turtles- a local 501 (c) organization.