Sea Turtles Released on Kiawah Island

July 26, 2009


Three sea turtles were released Sunday, July 26th at 3pm at Beachwalker County Park on Kiawah Island, SC. Below is more information on the turtles released and the story of a young boy in Canada that has been raising funds for the hospital since he was 4 years old. Although he was already a fan of sea turtles, Ethan was especially moved by one of the patients he met 2 summers ago, "Wadmalaw", a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle that was released.

Ethan is not alone among children that willingly give up birthday gifts and allowance money, or give time to have lemonade stands and bake sales in order to help save sea turtles. His story only stands out because of his age, his fundraising persistence year after year and his location in Ontario. All of the children involved in this program are commended and greatly appreciated for their passion for the conservation of sea turtles.


All photos courtesy of Kelly Bragg ~ My Scribe Photography

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Kelly Thorvalson, Ethan and his mother.    
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Ethan presents $1000.00

to the Sea Turtle Hospital

at the SC Aquarium.

One Boy, One Turtle, a World of Difference
One extremely passionate seven-year-old boy, one very sick sea turtle, four garage sales, three craft shows, 500 homemade turtle chocolates and numerous 10-cent bottle refunds add up to a winning combination for patients in the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program. Ethan, inspired by a behind-the-scenes tour of the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital, has worked diligently for over two years raising funds to support the hospital patients. To his honor, on July 26, 2009, Ethan will join Aquarium staff in releasing Wadmalaw, the Kemp’s ridley whose story first inspired him to educate others about the plight of sea turtles and work towards raising money for their treatment.

Meet Ethan
Ethan, a resident of Caledonia, Ontario in Canada first came to the Aquarium when he was five years old to deliver $214 he had raised for patients in the Sea Turtle Hospital. On his initial visit, Ethan met Wadmalaw, a critically ill patient. Inspired by his encounter with Wadmalaw, at home he continued to educate others and raise money to aid in the medical care of these threatened and endangered species. His passion to-date has added up to enough money to feed eight sea turtle patients for an entire year or to cover a year’s worth of medication and procedures for a patient in the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital.

On July 26, Ethan presented a $1,000 donation to the Aquarium during the beach release on Kiawah Island. With the July 26 planned gift, Ethan’s donations total $2,274. He continues to raise money for the hospital through his own fundraising ideas and has most recently “asked for turtle donations in lieu of gifts from his friends for his birthday” said his mother Shelley Harrison. In school in his hometown of Caledonia, Ethan uses show-and-tell to educate his peers about sea turtles asking them to stop using plastic bags “because sea turtles eat them thinking they are jellyfish” he said. He purchased a reusable bag for each child in his class and asked them to use the reusable bag instead.

In June, Ethan won his school’s 'Principal's Award for Student Leadership' due to his conservation efforts for sea turtles and the environment. He was also nominated for both a ‘Junior Citizen’ award and for an 'Amazing Kid' contest on a local radio station.