Rebecca Gatewood, 9-year-old girl, works to save sea turtles

JUNO BEACH, Fla. - A day at Loggerhead Marinelife Center is a slice of heaven for Rebecca Gatewood.

"They are all really magnificent," she said, refusing to choose a favorite.

The 9-year-old rising fourth grader soaks up everything she can learn about sea turtles.  She says she is concerned for their future.

"And you want to help all animals that are on the endangered list," she said.

A couple of years ago her family was vacationing at the beach.  They started to clear trash that endangered sea turtles often mistake for food.  Rebecca found she was hooked.  Ever since, she has pushed her family to keep going.  Now, she wants all people who visit Palm Beach County beaches to take a few minutes to help.

"Just 15 minutes of doing it and you will collect about 600 pieces of trash.  I mean, we've found a plastic chicken on the beach.  So you can find the weirdest pieces of trash," she explained.

Now, she's written a story to push more people to get involved.  The heroine saves sea turtles in the story.

"I hope people read it and then they're like, hey, maybe we should help the sea turtles," she said.

Her mother, Rhonda Gatewood, says Rebecca has big plans for her next birthday.  She plans to ask friends to get involved in saving sea turtles.

"I home school her and I'm supposed to be teaching her, but really, she is teaching me more than I had planned.  So she is inspiring," Rhonda said.

Rebecca's message is simple.

"I just try to help them, it's all I'm asking," she said.

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