Thanks to the generosity of the organizers of the 37th Northwest Aviation and Trade Show in Puyallup, Washington, Turtles Fly Too (TF2) was invited to attend and solicit support for its programs. This event was sponsored by the Washington Aviation Association (WAA) with over 13,000 attendees this year. Founder Leslie Weinstein and advisory board members Nathan Weinstein and Robert Dey, DVM represented TF2, sharing two combined booths donated by the WAA with our conservation allies SR3, a Washington-based whale rescue group and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The booth was a popular spot at the event with each of us distributing educational handouts and fielding plenty of questions by attendees.
With increasing requests for potential TF2 flights on the Pacific coast, our three goals were to meet and bring awareness of our expanding mission to a diverse general aviation community, to meet and recruit pilots and planes located near the Pacific coast for future flights, and to meet and discuss operations with our partners at SR3 and USFWS.
TF2’s unique connection to the general aviation industry gave us a great opportunity to distribute new promotional material and use taxidermized sea turtles for hands-on education. These were invaluable tools that generated attention, questions, and great stories. Visitors universally gave us positive feedback and encouragement. Our pilot recruitment met our goals with 43 new pilots registered! Working with the SR3 group was a great cooperative effort to help get attendees questions answered and better understand what each of our organization’s needs and capabilities are and how to assist their operations most effectively in the future.
TF2 received product donations that were used for drawings for pilots who signed up to fly our missions. Donations ranged from hats, shirts, bags, reusable straws, admissions to aquariums, dolphin and shark encounters. These donations were graciously provided by Washington Aviation Association, SR3, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Seattle Aquarium, our corporate sponsor Bose, Gulf World Marine Institute, and the New England Aquarium. We would like to extend a special thank you to each of them for their support.
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