Person of Interest: Taylor O. Adopts Endangered Sea Life

Green Sea Turtle hatchling making its first steps from the beach to the sea.

When you live a thousand miles from the ocean, it’s easy to overlook the challenges and suffering sea creatures endure on a daily basis. Threats such as boat propellers, pollution and climate change have a significant effect on the population of harmless sea life while upsetting our precious ecosystem.

Global Connections Human Resources Generalist Taylor O.’s recent trip to Captiva, Florida, was as eye opening as it was fulfilling. And because of her humanitarian ways, she came away adopting a few new friends: a manatee named Brutus and a sea turtle nest in Sanibel, Florida.

“If you’re in Kansas and you love sea creatures, it’s not like you can just go volunteer,” Taylor said. “Donating is really the only way to support them here.”

Taylor (right) with sister.

A short string of events led to her generous donation. First, she stumbled upon volunteers from the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) helping baby sea turtles scuttle safely into the water.

“I saw volunteers looking for nests and it was so cool,” Taylor said. “When the baby turtles run up to the shore, shore birds can get them. But volunteers stand by to make sure they get to the ocean OK. I caught the end of it, but I saw the baby turtles rush into the water. It was so cute.”

Later during her vacation, Taylor went jet skiing and the woman helping them set up warned the skiers about hurting the manatees. The woman caught one of the boats going 50 mph and threw a fit because that’s how manatees get their injuries.

“Manatees stay around the same area and specialists identify each individual by the scars on their back from the boats,” Taylor said. “They can get a lot of health issues. So when you adopt a manatee, the funds go to their rehabilitation and medical costs.”

Brutus the manatee.

The final trigger was a book she was reading while in Florida: “How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero. The book recommends ways to live life to the fullest, one of them being to donate to your favorite charity or cause.

So upon returning home, Taylor researched groups dedicated to helping sea turtles and manatees. She adopted a sea turtle nest is through the SCCF and her manatee, Brutus, through the Save the Manatee Club, donating once per year to each.

Having loved animals all her life – from stuffed animals to dogs to goldfish – this seemed like Taylor’s calling.

“I’ve never been this passionate about animals – besides dogs – because I saw the turtles and manatees in action,” she said. “I realized what I can do here, which isn’t much. But I fell in love with these guys and thought donating would be perfect. It makes me so happy.”

Taylor is doing her part to help protect sea life, and if you want to know how you can help, visit the Save the Manatee Club and SCCF websites for more information.