Youngster raises money for turtles and shorebirds

Youngster raises money for turtles and shorebirds
Spencer, center, and parents Allison and Patrick Quinlivan on a tour of a lifeguard stand after raising funds for Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring. - Tom Vaught | Sun

Spencer Quinlivan is a 9 1/2-year-old animal lover from Pinellas County with a soft spot for sea turtles and shorebirds. He visits the Island regularly, staying in a house owned by his grandparents, and quickly became aware of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.

A few weeks ago, he decided to raise money as a school project by selling lemonade, bananas and cookies on Pinellas Trail. According to his father, Patrick Quinlivan, it was cool and windy, and not too many people needed to cool down.

“Luckily, there was a busy police station with a lot of foot traffic,” Patrick Quinlivan said. “They all came by and if they weren’t thirsty, they just donated money. He ended up with $215.22.”

The family visited the Island a couple of weeks ago and found Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring Director Suzi Fox, who was impressed with Spencer. She arranged a visit to the Manatee County Marine Rescue headquarters, on Sunday, April 28, thanks to rescue chief Joe Westerman, and Spencer got a Turtle Watch ATV ride down the beach in addition to the Marine Rescue ride personnel Morgan Bakulski and A.J. Nelson gave him.

Fox took the money and applied it to AMITW’s education fund, and Spencer went home with a box of promotional and educational items.

“This is what is so right about our Manatee County,” Fox said.

Spencer said he learned a lot about sea turtles.

“I found out that the wrong lights at night are dangerous,” he said. “We have to use the right lights so the turtles don’t come to the shore instead of out to sea.”

Related coverage

An even start to turtle season

Turtle season is here