BY SUE ERWIN – Nesting season officially began on May 1, and the first two sea turtle nests of the season have been discovered by turtle patrollers on Monday, April 30 between 10th Street and 25th Street.
A second nesting sea turtle was spotted on the beach in the early morning hours of May 1, near the first one on zone 6.
The Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association hosted a party at the Boca Grande Community Center on Thursday, April 26 to welcome new and returning patrol members. Additional patrol volunteers are always welcome. Training and supplies are provided. If you’re interested in being part of the turtle patrol program, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include the number of days per week you’d like to patrol, along with your level of experience.
Keeping beaches dark at night and free of obstacles will help sea turtles during their nesting season, which lasts through the end of October.
Bright lighting can misdirect and disturb nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings, so beachgoers should avoid using flashlights or cellphones at night. Turning out lights or closing curtains and shades in buildings along the beach after dark will ensure nesting turtles are not disturbed as they come ashore, and hatchlings will not become disoriented when they emerge from their nests. Clearing away beach furniture at the end of the day and filling in holes in the sand are also important, because turtles can become trapped in furniture or open holes on the beach.
Florida’s beachfront residents and visitors taking these actions will help conserve the loggerhead, leatherback and green sea turtles that nest on the state’s coastlines.
Wherever you are, other ways to help sea turtles include properly disposing of fishing line to avoid entanglements and reporting those that are sick, injured, entangled or dead to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone.
Go to myfwc.com/seaturtle for more information regarding Florida’s sea turtles and click on “Research,” then “Nesting” for more data on sea turtle nesting.