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Additional Contacts: Tom Harvey, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, (512) 389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov; Jeff George, Sea Turtle, Inc., seaturtleinc@yahoo.com, (956) 761-4511

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TPWD News Release — July 1, 2011

Jeff Boruff Memorial Sea Turtle Release Returns Turtles To Wild

Legacy of Jeff “Yappo” Boruff Benefits Endangered Kemp’s Ridley

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – Three rehabilitated green sea turtles, including some stranded by last winter’s record freeze, were returned to the wild July 1 in the lower Laguna Madre. The Jeff Boruff Memorial Sea Turtle Release was dedicated to the memory of Jeff “Yappo” Boruff, a young Texan who volunteered summers helping endangered sea turtles in Mexico.

Boruff died in a tragic ATV accident in late 2009, but his passing gave rise to a fundraising effort acknowledged at the Sea Turtle, Inc. facility right after the July 1 turtle release. The nonprofit received a $5,000 donation that will be used to fund a student intern position for sea turtle nest monitoring.

The YappoPalooza fundraising project supports a binational effort between the U.S., Texas and Mexico that has brought back the Kemp’s Ridley turtle from the brink of extinction. The focus involves protecting the Ridley’s primary nesting sites. About 95 percent of the worldwide Kemp’s Ridley Turtles nest in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico along Gulf of Mexico beaches.

Besides hosting a fundraising event, YappoPalooza allowed hunters to aid the turtle cause and get a shot at winning one of six beautiful firearms donated by Joe McBride of McBride’s Guns. At the July 1 check presentation, officials also drew winners for raffle prizes, which included a customized Remington 700 30-06 valued at more than $5,000, plus shotguns and other guns.

Among those present at the check presentation was Jeff’s father Scott Boruff, who works as deputy executive director for operations at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“Some of my fondest memories with Jeff are from our days at the turtle camps,” Scott Boruff said. “We often sat out at night on the beach and watched the stars to the sounds of oceans waves rolling ashore. We laughed and shared stories with the locals about far ranging topics. We drove the deserted beaches on four wheelers looking for turtles. We went fishing on pristine beaches with no other people for miles in any direction. We always felt privileged to be close to nature.”

Anyone can support the Kemp’s Ridley restoration effort by mailing donation checks to: Jeff Boruff “Sea Turtle” Memorial Fund, c/o Gladys Porter Zoo, attn: Dr. Pat Burchfield, 500 Ringgold Street, Brownsville, TX 78520

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