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YappoPalooza on June 14 benefits sea turtle recovery

Pam LeBlanc
pleblanc@statesman.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published June 6, 2014

Boiled shrimp, craft beer, live music and a rousing game of washers - all within toe-dipping distance of the chilly San Marcos River, and all to help endangered sea turtles.

YappoPalooza, a fund-raiser benefiting the bi-national Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Recovery Project, is set for 2-9 p.m. Saturday, June 14 at San Marcos Plaza Park, 206 North C. M. Allen Parkway in San Marcos.

The event, hosted by the Wildlife Conservation and Education Society, honors Jeff “Yappo” Boruff, an advocate for the turtles. Jeff was 26 when he fell off a four-wheeler near the Devil’s River and died in his father’s arms in December 2009. He’d spent many summers and holidays volunteering on a 20-mile stretch of beach where the turtles nest each spring in Rancho Nuevo, Mexico, about 5 hours south of Brownsville.

The Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Recovery Project is a bi-national effort between the U.S. and Mexican governments, administered by the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville. Volunteers monitor the beaches, dig up eggs laid by the turtles, rebury them in fenced corrals and guard them from poachers.

The turtle was near extinction several decades ago, but is making a comeback. State and federal funding for the recovery program has waned in recent years, and that’s why YappoPalooza is so important, says Jeff’s father Scott Boruff, retired deputy executive director of operations for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

The Texas Shrimp Association will cook plates of boiled or fried shrimp. A silent auction, unicycle football demonstration, live music, children’s games, a magician and educational exhibits are also planned.

Proceeds will go directly to support the recovery project. Even if you don’t attend YappoPalooza, donations may be mailed to: Jeff Boruff “Sea Turtle” Memorial Fund, c/o Gladys Porter Zoo, Attn: Dr. Pat Burchfield, 500 Ringgold Street, Brownsville, TX 78520. For more information go to www.YappoPalooza.net.