During sea turtle nesting season each year Linda Spangrud wakes with the sun and walks the beaches in search of eggs to help protect.
Protecting means daily walks on the beach, late nights watching for hatchlings to emerge and now educating future generations about the importance of protecting the giant, gentle creatures with her new book.
Tomorrow Spangrud will be on hand at the Groovy Goat at OWA in Foley to sign copies of her first children’s book, “Miss Ella and the Turtle People.”
The story of Miss Ella is based on an elderly lady Spangrud said she met during one of her daily walks on the beach.
Spangrud said Miss Ella (not her real name) moved to the beach as a girl, married there, bought a house and lived happily ever after. After her husband passed though, she was lonely and sat on her porch and watched the volunteers work.
When a mama turtle choose to lay her nest in front of Miss Ella’s house, that is when her story and that of the Share the Beach volunteers begins to weave together in a tale of shared love for the turtle.
“Through her the children learn about the sea turtle program, what we do, how we protect the turtles and all kinds of information about the turtles,” Spangrud said.
The real Miss Ella had never seen baby turtles emerge from the nest and asked the volunteers to come get her when they appeared. They kept their promise to wake her at any hour, and brought Miss Ella out in her pajamas to see the tiny turtles make their way to the sea.
“She was so good to us. She brought us blankets at night, water, food, the illustrator really captured that,” she said.
The book is illustrated by Linda-Bell Schorer.
On Saturday, Spangrud will be available to autograph books. Visitors can also enjoy the bluesy sounds of the Defrosters, a local band who wrote a song about Miss Ella’s adventures with the turtle people.
“It is so cute, so catchy,” Spangrud said.
The book is also available at Desoto’s Seafood Restaurant, Spoon and Fork in Orange Beach and Tacky Jacks, Orange Beach.