Brower Youth Awards

Zander Srodes

Placidia, FL

When Zander was not sailing or golfing in his hometown of Placidia, Florida, he was doing everything he could to save the loggerhead sea turtles from extinction, reptiles which weigh up to 350 pounds and measure about 3 feet in length. Listed as threatened since 1978, loggerheads rely on Florida’s beaches as critical habitat – habitat that is unfortunately littered with man-made debris. At the age of only eleven, Zander received his first grant of $1200 to educate other students about loggerhead sea turtles. Incorporating costumes, computers, and even a sandbox, Zander developed an impressive interactive curriculum that emphasized the youth role in safeguarding the loggerhead’s future. In 2005, Zander published the Turtle Talks Activity Book, 10,000 copies of which are now in print. 3,000 copies of the Spanish version of the book, Charlas de Tortugas Libro de Actividades, were printed, as well. While the sea turtles were Zander’s main focus, he knew that his teachings were relevant to other species. “If you’re protecting sea turtles you’re protecting a lot of other creatures in the environment,” he said. “They represent the larger topic of environmental awareness.”