Birdhouses for sea turtles

By Jaime Rebhan | Aug 09, 2010
Photo by: Jaime Rebhan Catalina Giron, 11, and Isaiah Hall, 12, were in charge of selling birdhouses at the annual CARE Fair.

The Wareham Public Schools summer CARE program raised $500 - nearly all in quarters - during the annual CARE Fair on August 4. The money will be donated to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay.

Students created everything from placemats to birdhouses to colorful planters, in which they grew herbs, during the five-week summer program. They sold the goods at the fair along with snacks and hosted games for attendees to play. All money taken in was donated to the National Marine Life Center.

"We sold a lot of popcorn and birdhouses!" said CARE program director Jane Fondulis.

The CARE (Community, Academic, Recreational and Enrichment) program aims to build upon what students learn in school, helping at-risk students improve grades and MCAS scores. The summer program is an extension of the after-school program offered during the school year.

Students in middle school take one intensive course in the summer, while courses are "buddied" for elementary students so they can receive both English and math help. Courses include media technology, robotics, wood shop, FitMath, art with math, and drama.

Kathy Zagzebski, president and executive director of the National Marine Life Center, was grateful for the donation. "It's really great to get that support from the community," she said.

The money will go toward finishing the second phase of the center's new hospital - a room designed for sea turtles - which is slated to open this fall.

Sea turtles often follow warm currents into Cape Cod Bay's shallower depths, which keep the water warm later in the fall. If they stay too long, however, they become marooned when surrounding waters cool, become "cold stunned," and wash up on shore.

The center treats many sea turtles that become "cold stunned," but in 2007, the roof began collapsing in the warehouse in which the center operated, requiring that staff move tanks for a few sea turtles into the visitor center. Since then, staff have been only able to treat a small number of animals.

The center must raise between $2.5 million and $3 million dollars to complete the entire hospital.

CARE program director Jane Fondulis gives an envelope full of quarters to National Marine Life Center president and executive director Kathy Zagzebski and executive assistant & outreach coordinator Joanne Nicholson. Students in the program raised $500 for the center. (Photo by: Jaime Rebhan)
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