A group of students from Anacortes High School and the Anacortes Home Education Partnership are raising money to go to Costa Rica this summer to participate in Ecology Project International’s sea turtle program. Students will spend time doing course work and research while helping protect the endangered leatherback sea turtle. Pictured, from left, are Amelia Tomayko, Seth Harrold, teacher Mira Lutz and Amber Paszkowski. http://www.goskagit.com/.../students_will_help_endangered_sea_turtles_in_costa_ rica/Photo Credit Kimberly JacobsonAmela Tomayko (far left in photo) joined Gwen on Whidbey Chat today to share her upcoming educational science trip to Costa Rica.


Amela Tomayko joined Gwen on Whidbey Chat today to share with listeners her upcoming science trip to Costa Rica.

Amela is the daughter of Chris and Rita Tomayko.  A 10th grader, Amela, along with her two brothers, is enrolled in the Anacortes Home Education Partnership (AHEP).  AHEP partners with the Anacortes Public School District in order to provide students and families with a home school alternative supported by the public education system.  Amela maintains an A average and plans to go into journalism – preferably with the National Geographic.  

On June 18 Amela will be one of a group of students who will travel to Costa Rica on a science based field trip with Ecology Project International (EPI).  EPI’s mission is to improve and inspire science education and conservation efforts worldwide through field-based student-scientist partnerships and this will be the 9th year EPI has offered the Sea Turtle Ecology Program.  Amela is excited to be one of the students who’ll have the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and work at the field site on applied research projects with Leatherback Sea Turtles.  For more information visit http://www.ecologyproject.org/programs/costa-rica/

Amela has been working as a waitress at her parent’s restaurant in order to help raise funds for the trip.  The student’s will also hold A Garbage-a-Thon (like a walk-a-thon) on Saturday, April 17 as another way to raise the needed dollars to afford this unusual educational opportunity.  At the Garbage-a-Thon the students will clean up parks, roadways and school yards for sponsorships.  To sponsor a bag for the garbage-a-thon, e-mail teacher Mira Lutz at mlutz@asd103.org.   A car wash is planned this spring.

Coming to the island from Ohio with her father’s US Post Office job, Amela says she and her family love the area.   Since arriving on the island Amela’s parents, Chris and Rita, have opened the restaurant Mosquito Fleet in Coupeville.  Rita commented to Gwen when talking about opening the restaurant that they “needed a job”. Only one year old, the restaurant won the 2010 Chowder Contest at Coupeville’s annual Mussel Fest.  Amela said it was a difficult recipe.  Looks like difficult tasted pretty good and paid off.    http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/whidbey/wnt/lifestyle/86017377.htmlhttp://www.pnwlocalnews.com/whidbey/wnt/business/45859382.html

During the show Amela’s two brothers, Max and Gus, dropped by as in-studio audience.   Gwen is going to get them on the show sometime soon to talk about the woodworking classes they are taking right now along with their college prep courses. 

Best of luck on your trip Amela!!   We’ll be looking forward to hearing all about it on your return.  

Leatherback Sea Turtles have been here for over 65 million years.  Their habitat spans the globe from the North Atlantic close to the Arctic Circle down to the South Pacific in the area of New Zealand.  Leatherbacks are the largest turtle, reaching a shell length of 1.7m and a mass of 700kg.  Leatherbacks migrate hundreds of miles every year. Males never leave the water, but females come back to land for a short time (1.5 hours) to lay eggs. Each female leatherback has the potential to nest up to ten times in one nesting season, and return every 3-4 years for as long as thirty years! No leatherback on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, however, lives long enough to make this kind of contribution to her species. Most Pacific leatherbacks only nest once because they are killed at sea.