Edgrens, Almeda named Sadie Award recipients
Bud and Gretchen Edgren accept their award from AMITW Director Suzi Fox.
SUN PHOTO/LAURIE KROSNEY
BRADENTON BEACH - They are usually out on the beach at sunrise, sometimes covered with sand from relocating a nest, sometimes dripping with sweat as the days get hotter and more humid, but last week, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch volunteers were dressed in their best shorts, slacks and Hawaiian shirts for the annual awards banquet.
Each year, the volunteers gather to celebrate the mid-point of their season and to honor those among them who have gone above and beyond.
This year’s Sadie Award was given to Bud and Gretchen Edgren, long-time volunteers and section coordinators.
"The Sadie Award, which we have given every year since 2000, is given for endurance," AMITW Director Suzi Fox said. "It’s named after a loggerhead turtle that fell off a groin down at Coquina. Her plastron (bottom portion of the shell) was cracked, and we found her lying on her back, unable to move."
Fox related the story of how Sadie was carried off the beach and put into the back of a truck to be delivered to Dr. Charlie Manire at Mote Marine Laboratory.
"We learned a lot from Sadie," Fox recalled. "Her plastron was mended with stainless steel plates and screws, and ultimately, we were able to release her back into the wild. We all like to think she’s swimming around out there and coming back to lay her eggs."
The Edgrens came forward to be recognized grinning from ear-to-ear.
"We never expected this," Gretchen kept repeating.
The Edgren’s picture was on the front of the banquet brochure.
"They told us they were just using the picture, we never thought it was because of the Sadie Award," she said.
The Edgrens were given a basket of goodies donated by Sweet Peas.
After a round of applause from their peers, the Edgrens thanked everyone and especially commended the volunteers who walk in their section.
The Rookie of the Year Award went to David Ross.
"The rookies give us so much energy," Fox said. "Every year we get new walkers, and that’s what keeps this program going. Every year, one rookie stands out, and this year it’s David Ross."
Ross volunteers to walk the beaches weekend mornings, looking for signs of turtle nesting activity, and as the summer wears on, like all the volunteers, he begins scanning for signs of hatching.
Frank Almeda, one of the founders of the original turtle watch program was given a lifetime achievement award.
Fox thanked all the AMITW volunteers and let them know how much they are appreciated.
She also thanked the Moose Club for giving AMITW the use of the banquet room at cost.
Project Sea Turtle’s season ends
With only a little over two weeks until school starts again, the kids in the last of the six 2008 one-week camp sessions of Project Sea Turtle held their own gala.
It began on the beach with the excavation of a nest to count eggs for the official records and to check for stragglers remaining in the nest.
Then it was on to Bayfront Park for snacks and a game of Turtleopia where kids shout out the answers to questions about turtles or the environment.
"How did the green turtle get its name?" was a question. The kids, all sitting on picnic tables and benches, shot their hands up into the air, vying to answer the question.
"Because it’s fat is green."
"And why is its fat green?"
"Because of all the grass it eats."
Then it was on to a picnic table closer to the bay, where the annual food fight put squirting bottles of chocolate, strawberry, and butterscotch sauce, canned garbanzo beans, squirting whip cream and other fine foods into play as weapons.
Kids and counselors alike were covered in multi-colored foodstuffs.
It wasn’t until the supply of food weaponry ran out that everyone plunged into the bay for cleanup and swim.
Left behind, the sea gulls had their own banquet cleaning up the leftover beans and other food. They appeared to be having a fine time.