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Stories from our ancestors, Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Wildlife Thursday: Sea turtles

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George D. Garcia
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A photograph titled "Baja Morning" by George Garcia, who is a photographer and a trauma surgeon at the Ryder Trauma Center with Jackson Health System in Miami. His artwork will be featured in this year's Coconut Grove Art Festival.

Losing a high school can be a big issue for a community. That’s what happened to a small Black community in the '60s with Attucks High School. One of South Florida's biggest arts festivals is back. And it’s Wildlife Thursday and we’re talking about sea turtles and the role you can play to help these beautiful sea creatures.

On this Thursday, Feb. 17 edition of Sundial:

Stories from our ancestors

High school plays a big part in the person we become.

It has its fun times and its challenging times. We develop an emotional attachment to these kinds of places that make an impact on us. Now imagine that significant place changing — and your memories starting to fade.

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That’s what happened with Attucks High in Hollywood, Florida. The school was desegregated and turned into a middle school.

This hurt some people in the community.

“We don't really talk about the impact of black high schools closing in the state of Florida,” said Emmanuel George, a historian for South Broward County's Black History. He's the filmmaker behind the documentary ‘Stories From Our Ancestors, an Ode To Attucks High School.’

“It was several Black high schools that all were either forcefully closed down for good or turned into middle schools or vocational schools. And the impact that it had on communities was tremendous."

"Many teachers lost their jobs. Many teachers forcefully had to quit their jobs when they went to integrated schools. Many students were now going to schools where the teachers don't look like them, and they did not have that community support where they once had.”

You can see the film Friday at The Circuit at Destination Sistrunk in Fort Lauderdale at 7 p.m. There's a second screening on Thursday, Feb. 24th at Koinonia Worship Center in Hollywood. Find more information here.

Stories from our ancestors
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Coconut Grove Arts Festival

Art has the power to bring people together.

Throughout much of the pandemic, all of that came to a halt. Artists faced new obstacles to create and sell their pieces. Physically coming together also became more difficult.

The Coconut Grove Arts Festival took a break from its 58-year streak because of COVID-19. This year, the festival is back, beginning Saturday through Monday.

Sundial was joined by Monty Trainer, the president of the festival and the original owner of Monty's Raw Bar in Coconut Grove. We were also joined by one of the artists participating in the festival, photographer George Garcia, who is a trauma surgeon at the Ryder Trauma Center with Jackson Health System in Miami.

Coconut Grove Arts Festival
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Wildlife Thursday: Sea turtles

Sea turtle nesting season starts next month in South Florida.

“Sea turtles actually exhibit natal homing, and so they return back to the same areas where they hatched as sea turtle hatchlings,” said Stephanie Kedzuf, the Broward County's environmental project coordinator. She oversees the county's sea turtle conservation program.

“They ride around in the ocean currents and hide in the Sargassum for quite a few years of their lives and then managed to make their way all the way back to South Florida beaches to nest.”

One of the factors that put the hatchlings — and the South Florida sea turtle population as a whole — at risk is artificial light from the city and beachfront businesses.

“Turtles were going in the wrong direction,” said Richard WhiteCloud, the director and founder of Sea Turtle Oversight Protection.

He’s referring to the fact that the hatchlings will use the moonlight as a guide to go into the ocean, but car lights, streetlights, and other lights from the city guide them to go the wrong way at night — putting them at risk of dying by being run over or getting tired out.

“We would have a hatch emergence and any of the ones that made it to the ocean were left on their own accord to go into the water on their own. And the ones that were going towards the infrastructure over urbanized beaches, we would rescue them and release them at the water's edge,” said WhiteCloud.

Wildlife Thursday: Sea Turtles
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Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.