Monday, January 17, 2011

Cabin Fever, Sugar Cookies and a Charismatic Turtle

It's always fun to hear how a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium can capture the imagination and inspire individuals to view nature in a different light. "Oscar," one of the Aquarium's green sea turtles, is a prime example of an animal that many people connect with in a special way.

We get a lot of questions about Oscar. He came to the Tennessee Aquarium from the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, Florida. This little turtle was in trouble when he was found on May 1st, 2003. He was missing his tail, right rear flipper and about a third of his left rear flipper. The wound on the right rear flipper was most likely an old injury, because it had already healed. He also had a deep cut from a boat propeller that slashed deeply into the top of his shell and into the bottom of his shell. When he was discovered, Oscar was covered with stringy, green hair algae from head to toe making him look like the Sesame Street character Oscar the Grouch.

After being nursed back to health in Florida, Oscar was brought to live at the Tennessee Aquarium in 2005 where he has more room to move about and grow. As with many turtles that have been hit by a boat, Oscar has buoyancy control issues. But as you'll learn in this video Oscar, and the Aquarium's other green sea turtle Stewie, get plenty of expert care and are quite at home with the other reef creatures they live with.

The recent winter weather has given some people reasons to visit the Aquarium's Ocean Journey building for a tropical retreat away from the snow and ice. Others, turned cabin fever into cabin fun while recalling a recent Aquarium visit.
Such is the case with Joel. On a recent visit with his parents, he learned about many of the Aquarium creatures, including Oscar. Joel's mother describes the lasting impression their visit:
"My son is a sympathetic soul and was touched by Oscar's story and it didn't hurt that he heard it from the diver in the tank! When we went to look for a souvenir, we found a turtle shaped cookie cutter. When I was taking the cookies off the cookie sheet, I accidentally tore the back feet off the cookie, but we decided that one would be Oscar. We had a great time decorating the cookies and shared the cookies plus stories from the aquarium with our neighbor friend. I also have lots of pictures of my son running to the next exhibit because he was so excited to see all the animals plus a picture of him shielding a butterfly from the fans keeping them in the exhibit because he didn't want it to have to work too hard to stay on the flower. Like I said, he's a sympathetic soul!" - Iris, Bremen, GA

Thanks for sharing your story and picture with us. We hope you'll visit again soon!


WeldrBrat said...

Such are the efforts that instill wonderful education into the minds of children. And the memories of fun times learning become like icing on the cookie!

Joe-Anna said...

Hurrah TN Aquarium !!!I love y'll & visit as often as I can from Nashville. It is a Tennessee Treasure everyone in TN NEEDS to visit. Was also glad to read about lil Joel and his love & sympathy for wildlife. VERY glad to hear a Mom who supports that love & is not trying to "macho" it out of him...GREAT JOB Mom...JoJo