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This Week’s Creature Feature ... Trash-Talking Turtles

Student-artists show why turtles and balloons make a bad couple

When the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response team found Kermit washed ashore, the small green sea turtle was wasting away. X-rays showed balloons and plastic bags blocking Kermit’s throat.
    Kermit and many turtles like him inspired the students at First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach to use the trash to get people talking. The student-artists created turtles stuffed with the balloons collected on the beach to demonstrate what turtles swallow.
    The trash-talking turtles are now on display at refuges along the Bay, including Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, along with pledges from the trash sculptors promising never to release another balloon.
    Want to extend the lesson?
    It takes two hours, some creativity, chicken wire, cardboard and trash picked up from your local beach. Go to to get step-by-step directions. See what others have done and post your turtle on the Trash Talking Turtle Facebook page.