Eleven-year-old sea turtle activist and 2009 Ocean Hero nominee Casey Sokolovic and her parents visited Oceana HQ in Washington, DC last Friday. Coincidentally, I was in North Carolina last week on the sea turtle nesting expedition you've been reading about, so I didn't get the chance to meet her. We traded places -- she was in the office, and I was looking for sea turtles nesting and visiting the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center where she volunteers. To raise money for the Center, she has held bake sales (with turtle-shaped cookies, of course), and has worked with NC coffee brewery Joe Van Gogh to create an organic sea turtle blend. Her coffee is now being carried in Whole Foods stores throughout the Carolinas, with 10% of the proceeds going to the center. Casey has also been in contact with NC Senator Marc Basnight about taking legislative action to reduce the use of plastic bags to protect sea turtles. Plus, she's starting a website to document her work, and she hopes to start a non-profit of her own to help save sea turtles someday soon. Even family vacations involve sea turtles. The family travels to volunteer with sea turtle groups and see nestings, and they're hoping to see a hatching this fall. Though she didn't win this year's Ocean Hero contest, she's clearly a winner in our book. You can look forward to hearing more about collaborations between Oceana and Casey -- I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
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