TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An inspired little girl and her three friends from Connecticut got together and formed a “Turtle Team” to raise money for The Florida Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Apollo Beach.

8-year-old Eliza was told an impactful story from her grandmother, Barbara, who lives in Lakewood Ranch.

Barbara visited the aquarium one summer day and they just so happened to rescue 10 turtles, who arrived from New England for rehab.

Eliza’s heartstrings were instantly pulled, and she formed the “Turtle Team” with four of her friends. Eliza is the “Turtle Team Treasurer.”

The note, dated June 12, 2023, read:

“To whom it may concern,

I am a second grader at East Farms Elementary School. After my Bibi (grandmother) told me about your turtle rescue, my friends, Sofia, Allie, & Inara and I started Team Turtle. We raised money in school from students. They all wanted to support the turtles.

Enclosed is a check for $40.89 which is the money we collected over the last two and a half months. School is ending so we are sending the money now. We hope this will help you take care of the turtles!


Turtle Team”

Earlier this week, Eliza and her friends got a virtual tour of the Rehabilitation Center, where sea turtle biologists also joined to answer all their questions.

“The Florida Aquarium team is proud to share their critical conservation work with these inspired young ladies, who are potentially the next generation of sea turtle biologists and is thankful for the Turtle Team raising money and awareness of their mission,” the aquarium said in a press release.