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Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Curriculum

As part of our education program, we offer a Pacific Leatherback sea turtle curriculum for K-12 classrooms. Co-created Moss Landing Marine Labswith Dr. Simona Bartl at Moss Landing Marine Labs, these activities are available for download at the bottom of this page.

In September 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1776. The legislation formally designated the Pacific Leatherback sea turtle as California’s state marine reptile; officially made October 15 annual Leatherback Conservation Day; urged educators to incorporate information about the sea turtle into curriculum where possible; and encouraged state and federal agencies to build cooperative relationships with the Western Pacific island nations.

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A Leatherback postcard created by a student from Bradley Elementary School in Watsonville. Photo by Marina Maze

In response to the legislation, a small local group of educators, policy makers and researchers began working together to create materials for schools in the Monterey Bay region (where Pacific Leatherbacks feed) and in isolated areas of Indonesia (where the same Leatherbacks nest). Students now have the opportunity to learn about what life is like for Indonesian school children, participate in Pacific Leatherback-focused activities, and suggest ways to improve these activities for other students around California and in West Papua, Indonesia.

In an effort to make a connection between local students and children in Indonesia, our program participants create Pacific Leatherback-themed postcards for them. Deasy Lontoh, a former Moss Landing Marine Labs graduate student, then hand-delivers the postcards to villages near Pacific Leatherback-nesting beaches. When she returns to the U.S., she brings back postcards created by the Indonesian students.

Indonesia Students - Leatherback Postcards 2

Students in Indonesia create Leatherback postcards to send to California students. Photo by Deasy Lontoh

There are many ways for teachers and students to engage with our Pacific Leatherback sea turtle curriculum. Teachers can download the materials on this page and share them with their classes. Students can also provide input on how the activities can be improved for children in Indonesia. This is a great opportunity for students to consider the lives of children in another part of the world. Teachers that want their students to see postcards from West Papua and have their students send postcards across the Pacific, should contact Rachel, SOS Program Manager, at rachel(at)

Activity Downloads

• Presentation on Leatherbacks and Indonesian students
Introductory Leatherback Presentation
• Photos of students in Saubeba and Warmundi making postcards
Card-making in Indonesia
• Activity Packet for California classrooms that is also sent to students in Indonesia. Most appropriate for grades K-3.
Leatherback Activities Packet
• Leatherback Survival Game (Also located in the Leatherback Activities Packet)
Leatherback Survival Game

Indonesia Students - Leatherback Postcards

Students in Indonesia pose with Deasy Lontoh and their Leatherback postcards. Photo by Kesy Salosso