Teens4 Turtles is a Rye, NH based organization created by two 7th grade friends, Lucy Yakola from Heronfield Academy, and Carina Fujimoto from Newton Country Day School.

Influenced by science teachers, librarians and environmental mentors in their schools and communities, the girls spent their summer cleaning beaches, selling lemonade, and raising awareness about dangerous plastics in the ocean—particularly the impact on sea turtles.

But why is this important to them?

Great question! Below are just a few facts about our collective impact on turtles alone that inspired Lucy and Carina to take action:

The population of sea turtles is ingesting more plastic than ever before, blocking their immune system and causing them to die. 

More female turtles are being born due to climate change as a result of global warming. The temperature of the water while turtle eggs are incubating determines the turtle’s gender. This gender discrepancy affects the future population of sea turtles.

Seagrass eaten by Green Sea Turtles is digested and turned into neutrons for other sea animals to eat, so it’s important for all marine life that sea turtle populations become healthy again. 

In oceans worldwide, sea turtles’ gastrointestinal tracts are filled with micro-plastics which get stuck and cause them to die. Even more disturbing, sea turtles mistake plastic bags floating through the ocean for jellyfish. When turtles ingest the bags, they die. 

To learn how trash—especially single-use plastic straws and plastic shopping bags—directly impacts sea turtles and marine life, we invite you to learn more here.

Lucy and Carina have already raised over $850.00 to date, and have sent their donations to the Sea Turtle Conservancy to support their efforts. The girls placed a straw recycling bin at the Rye Transfer Station and have collected over 1,300 straws. Throughout the summer and during the school year, Lucy and Carina organize monthly beach clean ups to collect trash, plastics and micro-plastics found on the shores of our local beaches. Heronfield Academy students will join this effort during an all school beach clean-up on September 23rd!

If you ask Lucy and Carina whether one less straw and plastic bag make a difference, their answer is a resounding, “YES!”

Thank you Lucy and Carina for all of your hard work in raising awareness of our environmental impact. Cheers to changing the world!

Special thanks to Heronfield Academy for sharing the work of these inspiring, young locals!