Senior Emily Horgen is among three semi-finalists chosen from a pool of international applicants to receive the Loggerhead Marinelife Blue Hatchling Award, which honors a recipient who has contributed significantly to local marine conservation efforts.
Horgen was recognized for illustrating and publishing a children’s book in both Mandarin and English to educate young people at home and abroad about the perils facing sea turtles. The book, Lee the Sea Turtle Swims Free, was created to spread awareness about the importance of sea turtle conservation in China.
“I have been studying Chinese for eight years and I have always loved Chinese culture, so when I started my internship at LMC and began researching areas where sea turtles face threats, China immediately drew my interest,” said Horgen.
“I realized the need for more educational materials in Southern China after researching that sea turtles in the South China Sea are poached for their meat and shells. I travelled to Hainan, China in the summer of 2018. While I was there, I established a partnership with Dr. Lin, a marinelife professor at Hainan Normal University. With the help of Dr. Lin, my mentor Katie O'Hara at LMC, and my friend Eudora (Xiaohan) Song, who assisted me with the translations, I published my self-written, self-illustrated children's book in the summer of 2019,” said Horgen.
Horgen received a grant of over $7,000 from the Hong Kong Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, to distribute the books to children in China.
Horgen said she hopes her book inspires children to protect sea turtles instead of poaching them. After reading the book, the children in China will fill out a survey that gauges whether reading the book changed their mindset about sea turtle conservation.
Dr. Bob Ballard, best known for his discovery of the RMS Titanic, will present the Hatchling Award winner at the 11th annual Loggerhead Marinelife Go Blue Awards Luncheon at the Kravis Center on October 25.