When it comes to most things but especially the environment, if you want to
change the world start with children. But it has to be interesting and fun.
This is what the organisers of Çalış Kids Club believe.
So, following their successful Sea Shore Savers ‘Clear up the beach day’ in April,
DEKAMER‘s rehabilitation centre, where they learned all about the sea turtles of Dalyan and the
struggles they face every day just to survive.
Kaptan June’s sea turtle tales
On Saturday 16th May a large group, including 25 children, arrived at Kaptan June’s hut where
they were divided into two smaller groups with one group going to DEKAMER first whilst the
second group spent the morning at the hut.
Kaptan June told the story of how she arrived at Dalyan 30 years ago and at the grand age of 92
is still doing everything possible to protect not only the sea turtles but also the place she calls home.
She explained how turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, which they eat, and the implications of
feeding turtles in the Dalyan River as part of a tourist day trip and how badly this affects them.
The children were enthralled and had many questions that June gamely answered.
A great way to spend your pocket money!
The children were very happy to spend their pocket money in the gift shop,
as both Kaptan June and DEKAMER rely solely on donations to operate.
They also drew some fabulous turtle-inspired pictures before joining
together with the other group for a picnic lunch.
The afternoon was spent at DEKAMER where James the volunteer guide
(volunteering between a University degree in Wildlife Conservation while
studying for his Masters Degree in the autumn – well done James!)
showed the children the injured turtles that are being cared for at the facility.
Four injured sea turtles
There are currently four patients with injuries ranging from a cracked skull caused by a
fisherman hitting her with his oar to stop her taking his fish, to propeller wounds, which can take up to three
years to heal sufficiently for the turtle to be released back in to the sea.
The life cycle of the turtles was explained and the sad fact that only one in a thousand hatchlings
surviving to the age where it can reproduce made the children even more determined to do all they
could to protect them.
Climate change and pollution also affects the sea and the negative implications that has for
sea turtles not just here in the Mediterranean, but in the oceans worldwide also brought home
to the children how vulnerable these very special creatures are.
A grand day out
The children all had a great day and were inspired by everything they saw and heard.
A big thank you to both Kaptan June and DEKAMER for hosting the group,
and everyone who made it such a special day.