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Do You Sea Turtles?

Updated 201 days ago

The uniqueness of Galveston Island and love for our wildlife knows no bounds; but more recently, we’ve upped the ante. If you frequent local entertainment hotspots - like Moody Gardens and Market Street - you may have noticed pieces of authentic artwork popping up. More specifically, grand sea turtle statues! We can attribute that to a project called “Turtles About Town,” a partnership between locally-owned Clay Cup Studios and one of the world’s leading advocates for our oceans, Turtle Island Restoration Network.



Turtle Island Restoration Network has a pretty unique history. In 1987, biologist and wildlife activist Todd Steiner traveled to Nicaragua, where he found a dedicated group of environmentalists living under a tarp and working with almost no resources, in an effort to save and preserve the longevity of sea turtles. Soon after - in 1989, Steiner began his own Sea Turtle Restoration Project. 

That same year, tagged sea turtles from Nicaragua began to appear in southern Mexico. Steiner was soon stunned to discover that southern Mexico, at the time, had legal turtle slaughterhouses lining the coast. This prompted him to mobilize an international campaign to outlaw the commercial killing of sea turtles in Mexico. As a result, the Sea Turtle Restoration Project saved hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and other marine life. 

By 1997, the Bay Area-based program was in full swing, with its efforts reaching all the way to Costa Rica, where it soon became known as Turtle Island Restoration Network. 

The mission of Turtles About Town is to bring together art, awareness, and advocacy. And what better way to do so than with attractive sea turtle sculptures placed around town!  

Once a sculpture is sponsored, it is then carved, molded, and distinctly painted by a local Galveston artist. Each turtle sculpture has an original story and is completely unique. These works of art are stationed at favorite locations around the city, so when you find a turtle take a peek around! 

Turtles About Town Hunt!

Locations & Information:

  • The Protector Turtle: 823 Rosenberg, City Hall 
  • Inspiration by Night Turtle: One Hope Blvd., Moody Gardens Discovery Museum 
  • Myrtle the Turtle: 2201 Market Street, Clay Cup Studios (Coming soon…) 
  • Bronzed Turtle: 2222 28th St., Menard Park 
  • Ruby the Turtle: Here’s some EXTRA fun! Ruby is passed between local business around town! When you find her, take a picture and post it to the Facebook Page “Turtles About Town,” where you could win some cool stuff! 

Around twenty turtle statues will be popping up over the next year. For more information peek here.

Big thank you to Joanie Steinhaus of Turtle Island Restoration Network and Amy Owens of Clay Cup Studios for your relentless efforts to help, inform and enrich the community! 

Learn more! 

Article written by Ashley Byrd

After earning her master's degree, Ashley moved to Chicago where she attended The Second City's writing program while managing the The Laugh Factory Chicago comedy club. Later, she relocated to Los Angeles in order to manage the The Laugh Factory Hollywood. A Galveston native, Ashley loves the beach, a good book and, of course, writing a good story.