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In the media center at Tommie Barfield school on Monday, April 29, four one-week scholarships to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida youth summer camp were awarded by Friends of Tigertail board members to fourth graders, with the event broadcast to all of the school classrooms.

Students won the scholarships by participating in an annual essay competition sponsored by the Friends of Tigertail, fulfilling a mission to support education and preservation.

Thirteen students submitted entries, which were judged by members of the Friends of Tigertail board of directors. Each award includes the $285 camp fee, and an additional $25 to cover transportation costs.

Hannah Ali, the recipient of the Anthony Pampalona memorial campership, submitted one of the essays discussing the plight of sea turtles and possible measures to help this threatened species, including a picture of a mother turtle with recently hatched babies.

Another essay describing the issues facing sea turtles and protective measures that can be practiced by local citizens was entered by Sarah Friedhoff, who researched and referenced internet sites for information.

Reviewing Southwest Florida's 2018 gulf and fresh water algae blooms leading to water quality issues, Aeden Chustz, the winner of the Ken Kubat memorial campership, described the need to "take action to make the water better in our waterways to protect the wildlife and our health."

The declining status of coral reefs was the topic of the fourth scholarship recipient, Kyleigh Haueter. She described the importance of reefs to the health of the sea, fish, and ultimately humans, as well as the problems of ocean water warming, pollution, and careless anchoring leading to the bleaching and destruction of the coral.

For more information about the organization and it's programs, visit their website at FriendsofTigertail.com, or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FriendsofTigertailBeach.

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