Behind the Scenes banner
Quintin and his parents watch as Sea Turtle Healing Center Coordinator Jess Patterson examines Amaretto the green sea turtle.

Quintin and his parents watch as Sea Turtle Healing Center Coordinator Jess Patterson examines Amaretto the green sea turtle.

During a very special educational experience at our Sea Turtle Healing Center, 8-year-old Quintin and his parents, Denise and John, met a few of our sea turtle patients receiving scheduled medical treatment. Two green sea turtles, Hiccup and Triceratops, caught their attention for the same reason this North Carolina family left an impact on our Zoo staff.

During a previous Virtual Zoo Summer Camp, Brevard Zoo’s Education team talked about the ways our animal care staff help our sea turtle patients, including feeding tubes.

Green sea turtle Jellybean

Jellybean the sea turtle received their nutrition through a feeding tube for part of their stay at our Sea Turtle Healing Center.

Jellybean, a green sea turtle, was getting their nutrition through a feeding tube – just like Quintin. The then-6-year-old shared his own experience with our staff and his fellow students.

“I wanted to share that, because I have the same thing that Jellybean did,” Quintin said recently. “I think it made Jellybean happy, because then she knew someone like her.”

After an 8-month rehabilitation with us, Jellybean recovered from their illnesses and was released. The impact Jellybean had on Quintin hasn’t diminished.

“It also made him feel not alone!” said Quintin’s mom, Denise. “He tells everyone about the special connection he has with Jellybean and reminds everyone that we are all different and unique like him and Jellybean.”

These “Jellybean moments,” as our Sea Turtle Healing Center team coined them, make lasting impressions on children – and adults. Helping form this relationship between people and wildlife is crucial to the survival of threatened and endangered species, said Shanon Gann, our Sea Turtle Healing Center manager.

Green sea turtle Jellybean

After an 8-month stay with us, Jellybean the green sea turtle was released back into the ocean.

“The reality is that many of these students may never see a sea turtle in real life, but through virtual educational programs, hearts and minds from all over the world will be forever changed about what they can do to make life better for sea turtles,” Shanon said.

Connecting children to nature is one of the main focuses of almost all our Education department’s programming. Our Education team strives to give our students those moments by immersing students in habitats, encounters or activities.

When students in our programs relate to the animal we are focusing on, we can increase their empathy for wildlife, said Amanda Cummings, education program manager.

“Our goal is to spark a love of nature and the compassion that goes along with that. We love those unprompted moments of sheer joy and understanding between the animals in our care and our program participants. We always strive to share our love of the natural world with the next generation,” Amanda said.

Interested in one of our programs for a child in your life? You can learn more about our classes and experiences here. >>