Sea turtle replica teaches conservation, marine life to Ruston residents

Feb 15, 2012 | Education, General News

Her name is Lola. She is a … sea turtle? Why, yes, she is. Senior Ruston High School students in Amy Guerin’s marine science class last year created a replica of sea turtle, named Lola, that was recently donated to Louisiana Tech’s IDEA Place to help students who come through their doors learn more about conservation.
Lola The Sea Turtle

Students from Amy Guerin's marine science class and students from Louisiana Tech's Early Childhood Education Center show off Lola, a sea turtle replica.

“In the spring we study marine animals and all of my students really liked the unit we did on sea turtles,” Guerin said. “The year prior my class had made a life size humpback whale, so I figured we could make a life size leatherback turtle just as easily.  I gave the students a picture and they did the math calculations to figure out how big she needed to be in real life.” Lola, an 8-foot by 10-foot replica, was created to teach conservation and was made from recycled materials. The replica is filled with more than 1,000 plastic grocery bags, which actually can kill sea turtles, Guerin said. “When plastic bags get into the ocean they are mistaken by Leatherback turtles as jellyfish – food,” she said. “The students became aware of how big the turtle is in real life and the fact that what we do in Ruston does have an impact on the ocean.” Guerin said Lola helped her class learn about marine life conservation and how Ruston students have an impact on oceanic life. Lola was donated to the IDEA Place after the seniors visited the Early Childhood Education Center at Tech and heard a presentation about sea turtles. Lindsey Keith-Vincent, IDEA Place’s museum educator, said Lola will be used to help with presentations and activities about marine life and conservation. “We’re extremely appreciative of the gift and ability to talk to kids about important issues and using student creations to do so,” she said. Dr. Glenn Beer, director of the IDEA Place and an associate professor of education, said he is glad to have teachers in the parish who work with the IDEA Place. “I appreciate the partnerships with the schools,” Beer said. “The more we work with them, the more we can be a better resource for them.” Lola can be viewed at the IDEA Place, which is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is $4 per person.