Winter’s Legacy

Winters Legacy

Winter the dolphin, an icon of our youth, passed away Thursday night due to infection. Not familiar with Winter? Winter was the prosthetic-tail-toting dolphin from the 2011 film Dolphin Tale, a widely popular and important movie, especially for Gen Z. Dolphin Tale is based on Winter’s true story; the process of rehabilitating a dolphin who injured her tail in a crab trap. A team of marine biologists worked with prosthetists to develop a prosthetic tail that enabled Winter to swim, and led to the dolphin’s triumphant return to health. 

Winter had been largely forgotten until now, but Winter’s impact lurks in the back of our minds. The story of Winter taught my generation about the importance of keeping the Earth’s wildlife safe, and the beauty of doing everything humanity can do to fight for our planet. 

I remember watching Dolphin Tale in the third grade with my class and environment-enthusiast teacher, Mrs. Elder. The story was perhaps the most effective tear-jerker I’d ever seen and left the class with a full heart and hope for a better world.

But of course, as we grew up, Winter and her tale were ultimately forgotten. I too had forgotten Winter, that is until last summer when I happened to visit The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, unbeknownst to me, Winter’s home. It was incredible how the memories flooded back as I watched the childhood icon gracefully glide underwater.

Winter stands as a symbol of what humans can do for the world if we decide to care. An otherwise doomed dolphin lived 16 years, still short of life expectancy, but longer than what would have been if it hadn’t been for the hard work of Irish Prosthetist, Kevin Carrol. Winter is proof that humans can do good to no benefit of their own.

Although many have forgotten about Winter, or maybe never knew her from the start, today I ask you to remember her legacy; take a step in the right direction for the environment in Winter’s name. Pick up a piece of trash, donate a few dollars to a wildlife conservation charity. Any small deed helps. After all, it’s the least we can do to pay Winter back for a generation of childhood memories.