Casey Sokolovic, Love a Sea Turtle

The world’s sea turtle population is in crisis but with activists like fifteen year old high school student, Casey Sokolovic, working to protect them, their fate is bound to be much brighter! In her hometown of Greenville, NC and across the nation her work is making a positive impact.

Casey is the founder of Love A Sea Turtle (L.A.S.T.), an organization dedicated to preserving the world’s sea turtle population.  Over 7 years ago, her third grade class took a field trip to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital; as Casey toured the facility and observed so many sick and injured sea turtles, she was inspired to do something to help them last.  As an eight year old, Casey knew that she had the power to make a difference.  She began began baking and selling sea turtle-shaped sugar cookies everywhere she could, donating all her profits to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital.

As Casey grew up, her dreams for L.A.S.T. grew as well. Her ideas and outreach blossomed from social media sites and t-shirts to an annual 10k/5k trail run fundraiser.  Her efforts inspired a Fair Trade Organic Sea Turtle Blend Coffee with Joe Van Gogh Coffee; with 10% of net sales going to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, it can be found in Fresh Market stores nationwide.

Throughout her work Casey has continued to reflect on the power of L.A.S.T. and investigate new ways to grow awareness for her cause. After volunteering at the Boys & Girls club, Casey discovered that many of the members had never been to the beach or had the opportunity experience the water through kayaking or snorkeling.  She also realized that many of the students did not enjoy some core school subjects such as Science and Math.  Casey saw a need that L.A.S.T. could help fill and prepared to take action.  Three years ago, Casey, L.A.S.T., and her local community brought the Upstream Downstream Connection summer camp program to life.  The camp gives students from local Boys & Girls Clubs the opportunity to trace freshwater sources to the coast, discovering the connections in our water planet and conducting service learning projects along the way.

Throughout the year, Casey keeps students engaged through service learning opportunities such as MLK Day of Service, Earth Day, Global Youth Service Day, Kids Day for Play, and Make a Difference Day.  She also speaks to youth and adults across the US about the plight of sea turtles and inspires others to get involved.

When Casey is not working with students through L.A.S.T., she dedicates some time to one of the many activities and clubs in her high school. She is an active member of the Health Occupations Students of America, Beta Club, Students Athletes for Sports Integrity, Revelation peak Performance Track Club, SCUBA diving club, and the cross country team. In her downtime, Casey enjoys running, reading, baking, and a variety of outdoor activities that will bring her close to the water.

L.A.S.T. began small, with just Casey and an idea, but with Casey’s dedication and enthusiasm it has grown to reach hundreds of students and help protect countless sea turtles.  Casey’s advice for students everywhere is to “find your passion, pursue it and be the difference.” She believes that everyone can make a difference and that by acting locally, we are able to create global change.