Dr. Amy Keagy, Lecturer
Faculty Mentor Department
The Green Sea Turtle is a piece I produced as a part of my final portfolio for the Scientific Illustration course I participated in during the summer semester of 2022. The Green Sea Turtle is a watercolor and gauche painting on Bristol paper that was created as part of a collection representing each of the five sea turtle species native to the Florida coasts. Green sea turtles (Chelonia Mydas) are the largest species of hard-shelled turtle in the world, they are also unique because of their specialized diet which consists primarily of sea grass and algae. Green sea turtles, like all sea turtle species, are endangered due to human impacts. Green sea turtle populations have been devastated as a result of hunting, pollution, and habitat loss and it is estimated that fewer than 100,000 nesting females remain in the world today.
I was inspired to paint this piece after spending a year as an intern at the Marine Science Center (MSC) in Ponce Inlet, Florida. During my time at MSC, I worked up close with sick and injured sea turtles, including many green sea turtles. The most frequent cause of injury to these animals was discarded plastics which they either ingested or became entangled in. It was deeply upsetting to see so many of these beautiful animals dead or injured because of human carelessness. I want to help raise awareness for how serious the problem of plastic pollution truly is. I hope by creating art like this piece I can help people to feel a deeper connection with these majestic creatures, even if they never get the chance to interact with them personally. In some small way, I hope I can do my part to motivate people to be more conscious of their choices when it comes to the products they buy and the people they vote for.
I am a junior at the University of North Florida where I am majoring in biology, with a concentration in coastal and marine biology, and minoring in environmental studies. As a science major, I felt I had to give up most of my more creative, artistic interests but participating in the Scientific Illustration course helped open my mind to new possibilities of how I can combine art and science to help reach people about issues in our environment. I am extremely passionate about educating people and communities about endangered species, pollution, and climate change. I feel we are at a critical turning point regarding our environment, and it is vital that we take steps towards protecting our planet before it is too late. After graduation, I plan to continue working with marine animals and I hope I will be able to inspire more people to care for the planet through my art.
Brown, Sierra Rhiannon
"The Green Sea Turtle,"
PANDION: The Osprey Journal of Research and Ideas: Vol. 4:
1, Article 17.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/pandion_unf/vol4/iss1/17