Bubbles the turtle warms the hearts of a classroom

Bubbles the turtle warms the hearts of a classroom

CHICO — Marcie Lynn was driving along Ceres Avenue in Chico in 2018 when she saw what looked like a rock and drove around it. However, when she glanced in her rearview mirror, she saw that the rock was moving.

Turns out, it wasn’t a rock at all, but a very energetic red-eared slider turtle. Lynn scooped up the turtle and brought her home. She advertised online to see if the turtle had an owner. No one came forward to claim her.

  • Marcie Lynn and the red-eared slider turtle she rescued, Bubbles Shelly Turtle, hang out together Monday, Dec. 20, 2021 in Lynn’s backyard in Chico, California. (Jennie Blevins/Enterprise-Record)

  • Bubbles Shelly Turtle hangs out in Marcie Lynn’s backyard Monday, Dec. 20, 2021 in Chico, California. (Jennie Blevins/Enterprise-Record)

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Bubbles ended up in Lynn’s son Logan’s class at Sherwood Montessori school in Chico, where she is enthusiastically cared for by by teacher Marlo Knox and her students, who named the turtle Bubbles Shelly Turtle. After Lynn found Bubbles, Logan wanted to share Bubbles with Knox’s class and brought Bubbles for show and tell. The class didn’t have a pet at the time and the kids thought she would be a great class pet. Lynn agreed and Knox and her class worked on setting up a home for Bubbles in the classroom.

“I asked Logan why she had three names,” Lynn said. “He said, ‘everyone has a first and last name!’”

Lynn’s other child, Paige, is also now in Knox’s class, where Bubbles resides. The Lynn family is taking care of Bubbles during the school’s winter break. Bubbles swims madly around her tank and likes to be taken out for exercise in Lynn’s backyard, where she roams around a rock circle, grass and walkway.

Chris Sternet, the owner of Pond Pros Plus, is donating his time and experience to renovate Bubbles’ tank.

Sternet has assured Knox that Bubbles is healthy. She requires a 65 gallon tank. Bubbles is now 10 years old, and will probably live to be 25 or 30. Because Bubbles is an invasive species, she can’t be relocated to a pond or stream.

Lynn and Knox are hoping to raise $500 for the renovations to Bubbles’ tank. Lynn said that the tank needs constant cleaning, but that isn’t the problem. She needs a heater and other parts for the tank, such as silicone spray and gravel.

Bubbles is an extremely energetic and social creature. “She’ll swim right up to the window of the tank and look out at people and watch. People will ask, ‘does she need anything’?” Knox said. “No, that’s just Bubbles!”

The class has held bake sales to raise money for Bubbles’ care. Bubbles eats dandelions, shrimp brine and pellets.

Bubbles’ environment is an ecosystem, so the children in Knox’s class are learning a lot about turtles and their habitats. She has a land environment and an aquatic one, according to Knox.

“This gives students the unique opportunity to learn,” Knox said.

“She teaches real-life lessons,” Knox said. “That’s what we strive for in Montessori. Kids have the same feelings as we do. Children are empowered to help.”

The children are learning about turtles from books and how to feed turtles and the parts of the turtle.

Lynn says that the children are learning pride ownership. Paige will get excited and say “It’s my turn to feed her!”

“It’s the one job we all want to do,” Lynne said. “Bubbles loves being in the classroom.”

Red-eared sliders are native to mid to south Central United States, but are considered invasive in California, Oregon and Washington, according to the UC Agricultural and Natural Resources website.

“She’s had such a positive interaction with the kids,” Lynn said. “We want to get her tank renovated so she can have a forever home. She’s become a legend. She melts my heart.”

Knox said that as long as Bubbles is healthy, she will have a place to live in her classroom.

To donate to Bubbles Shelly Turtle’s tank renovation, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-bubbles-shelly-turtle-renovate-her-tank.

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