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Roswell fourth-grader wants balloon release ban to protect wildlife
by Joan Durbin
jdurbin@neighbornewspapers.com
August 14, 2013 10:20 AM | 8890 views | 12 12 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cameron Koporc, 9, has won a scholarship from Kohl's for her work on raising awareness of dangers facing sea turtle population. Pictured, Cameron with her dog Tebow and a book that she wrote and illustrated about sea turtles.
Cameron Koporc, 9, has won a scholarship from Kohl's for her work on raising awareness of dangers facing sea turtle population. Pictured, Cameron with her dog Tebow and a book that she wrote and illustrated about sea turtles.
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Cameron Koporc is just nine years old, but she is already an activist.

Sea turtles are the Roswell girl’s particular passion.

“I fell in love with sea turtles on my seventh birthday when my family surprised me with an ‘adopted’ sea turtle nest. I got to meet a really amazing volunteer who told me all about sea turtles and how they are endangered,” she said. “I was sad to know that it is humans who are causing them to go extinct.

“There are so many simple things people can do to save sea turtles, like not polluting our waters, leaving sea turtle nests alone, keeping beaches dark, knocking down sand castles and removing umbrellas, tents and chairs from the beach each night.”

Seeing so much trash on beaches disturbs Cameron because of the potential consequences.

”Plastic bags and balloons are especially dangerous for sea turtles as they ingest them thinking they are their favorite food, jellyfish. Many sea turtles get sick as a result of the trash they consume and die,” she said.

That is why Cameron is working to get mass balloon releases banned in Georgia. In a blog she wrote for the online Environmental News Network, she noted the National Audubon Society’s discovery of a deflated balloon from a science fair 1,300 miles away from its release point.

She has an online petition to ban balloon releases at www.change.org/petitions/georgia-politicians-make-mass-balloon-releases-illegal.

“My goal was to get 2,000 signatures and I’m less than 200 away,” Cameron said last week. “I have signatures from people around the world.”

She has written and illustrated a book, “Juno’s Journey,” about a sea turtle, and is currently finishing another about the turtle returning to the beach to lay its eggs.

With the help of her mom, Amie, Cameron also makes homemade chocolate turtles and sells them to raise money for Flagler Beach Sea Turtle Patrol in Florida.

For her efforts and commitment, Cameron has recently been awarded a $1,000 Kohl’s Cares Scholarship. Winners are chosen based on initiative, leadership, generosity and project benefits and outcome.

A fourth-grader at Sweet Apple Elementary School in Roswell, Cameron aims to be a marine biologist. “Science is my favorite subject. My school has a science lab and we get to do lots of hands-on activities. I really enjoy art too,” she said.

“When I grow up I want to work in a rescue center for ocean animals. I just hope it isn’t too late by then.”

She has an older brother, Carson, a sixth-grader at Fellowship Christian, and a younger brother, Ryan, who is a kindergartener at Sweet Apple.

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