What began as a third grade school field trip in 2005 to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center evolved into a passion for service and an exciting journey of discovery for Casey Sokolovic.
Impacted by her visit to the rehabilitation facility, Casey established Love a Sea Turtle with a mission to raise awarenessand find effective ways to protect these endangered creatures. Casey’s movement began in the kitchen, where she baked and sold turtle-shaped sugar cookies to raise money for the sea turtle hospital and other ocean conservation organizations. Over time, her mission grew into an educational outreach program for at-risk youth featuring a year-round calendar of service learning opportunities including a marine debris awareness and prevention project, plus outdoor environmental summer science camps that trace the path of fresh water to the North Carolina coast. Over a span of four years, Casey has raised $370,000 to protect sea turtles.
When she’s not safeguarding sea turtle habitats, Casey dedicates her energy to helping more young people discover nature by participating in conservation efforts, or simply experiencing the open water on a kayak. Casey created the Upstream Downstream Connection camps for local at-risk youth to attend for free. Participating youth spend time outdoors, with opportunities to try watersports activities for the first time, such as kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Campers also enjoy doing math and science through hands-on learning activities, trace the path of fresh water to the coast, participate and talk about the impact of human actions, good and bad, from land to sea.
Casey has found other innovative ways to keep young people involved in service learning opportunities when her camps are not in session. Throughout the year, and with the help of many volunteers, Love a Sea Turtle has provided service learning activities around MLK Day of Service, Earth Day, Global Youth Service Day, Boys & Girls Club Day for Kids and National Make A Difference Day.
Overall, thousands of volunteers have helped remove hundreds of pounds of trash from land and rivers, assemble and distribute 4,500 monofilament fishing line recycling containers and fund three new Love a Sea Turtle chapters in two states, plus provide four years of free camps for more than 700 at-risk youth. What started as a small baking project in Casey’s home evolved into countless hours of volunteer workand youth engagement for a better planet. Thanks, Casey, for making a difference from sea to shining sea.
Know someone like Casey doing amazing work in his/her community? Nominate them for a Daily Point of Light Award today!