Local Kids Lobby To Save Turtles

By: Liza Park Email
By: Liza Park Email

It's Monday afternoon and instead of sitting in a classroom, Phoebe Scott is taking a stand with fellow students from Cornerstone Learning Community at a Capital Regional Transportation Planning Agency meeting.
About 50 students, their teacher and area environmentalists are trying to persuade officials to save these little guys from becoming road-kill on Highway 27.
"The most amount of turtles in the world and all animals get killed there and it's really important to us," says Scott.
This busy, one mile stretch of Highway 27 has more documented attempted turtle crossings than any other place in the world.
That's why some folks want an ecopassage built underneath the highway.
It would re-connect Lake Jackson which was split in the 1960's to build Highway 27...disturbing the ecosystem.
"So what they're going to do is build a series of culverts under the highway that allows safe passage for wildlife and then a barrier wall that prevents them from getting on the highway and that'll direct them into the culverts," explains Dr. Matt Aresco, the president of Lake Jackson Ecopassage Alliance, Inc.
Agency members agreed to give the ecopassage priority to federal funds set aside for such projects ... and these students learned some valuable lessons.
"Talking about civics, talking about ecosystem fragmentation, talking about restoration and talking about the impact of humans and animals in an interactive environment," says Jason Flom, a fourth grade teacher at Cornerstone Learning Community who accompanied the kids to the meeting. Flom was the teacher four years ago for Scott and other current eighth graders when they first began advocating for the ecopassage.
So these students don't just learn about government in action, they're a part of the action.
In all, around 2-thousand turtles are killed each year along Highway 27.
The Florida Department of Transportation says about 4-point-2 million dollars were already earmarked for the ecopassage and now it needs about 1-point-8 million more.
For more information, click onto the website link below.


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