Interview: Donna Lee Crawford, Turtle Krawl

Donna Lee CrawfordOn March 5th the “Turtle Krawl” Family Fun 5K/10K event will be held at Driftwood Plaza in Melbourne Beach, starting at 8 am.

“Krawling” across the finish is nothing to be ashamed of; This year you may be “krawling” your way to the finish line of a 5K event, but not how you might expect.

It’s a fundraiser entering its 5th year to help support the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. While the event will feature some competitive runners from around our area it’s also a perfect event for families and citizens looking to get outside to help our beachside visitors, the sea turtles.

Donna Lee Crawford, a program coordinator with Brevard County Parks and Recreation organizes the event each year.

“I became interested in helping sponsor the Sea Turtle Preservation Society years ago when I realized how many dangers they faced and recognized that I could help”, said Crawford. “In the 1980’s a friend introduced me to Archie Carr. He shared with me that he had been researching sea turtles that nested on the beaches here. At the time I did not realize that Archie was an internationally known biologist, but in our conversation I did feel his passion for nature and he inspired me to learn more about the sea turtles” she explained.

Turtle KrawlWhile living at a beach house, Ms. Crawford began to notice the turtle tracks and nests on one of her early morning walks. On one such walk, she came across a nest that a raccoon had dug up leaving behind baby sea turtles removed from their eggs, alive, but weak. She immediately contacted the Sea Turtle Preservation Society to find out what she should do. They advised her to put some wet beach sand in a bucket, rest the sea turtles on top of the sand, cover the bucket with a moist towel
and drop it by their office. “Several days later I was contacted by a member of the STPS to let me know that she had incubated the 36 baby sea turtles and that they were able to release 17 of them into the ocean.

“That made me so happy, to give some of them a chance — and I was inspired to do more!” Donna Lee related.

Later Donna Lee interviewed for a position with the county, about five years ago. Passionate about several causes, she proposed benefits and fundraisers and worked to organize them for the community.

“They liked my ideas, hired me and told me to get started with the benefits and that is how the “Turtle Krawl” came to be.” she said. “The event has been very successful for the community and I am very thankful for Parks & Recreation’s support for providing the community with an opportunity to help the dedicated volunteers of the Sea Turtle Preservation Society”.

The event has raised several thousand dollars over the years and the money has been used to buy turtle replicas for education, tires for the Rescue Van, and other much needed supplies.

The event relies heavily on participants to raise money and local businesses are instrumental as well. This year 27 local businesses were secured as sponsors for the event. For the past Turtle Krawl events, the logos of the sponsors were placed on a t-shirt given to the first 200 registrants. This year the first 200 registrants will get a t-shirt featuring donated artwork by Nemo tucked inside a cotton drawstring back pack featuring the STPS logo surrounded by all of the sponsors. Also
included in each bag is some promotional information from the sponsors of the event. Last year over 200 people turned out to participate in the event as walkers, bikers, roller-bladers, or runners.

Come join the rest of the “krawlers” on Saturday, March 5th at 8 am and take pride in “krawling” across the finish line.

Early Registration Fee: $12 per adult; $8 per child
Day of the Event Registration Fee:$15 per adult; $10 per child. For more information call: (321) 255-4400

Turtle KrawlFamilies are welcome and participants can choose to run or walk the 5K or bike or skate the 10K. Sponsorship has been donated from many local businesses in the beachside area. The first 200 registrants get a cotton drawstring backpack with the sponsor’s logo on the outside. Inside the backpack is a t-shirt with artwork by Mike Nemnich (Nemo). Also included in the bag are coupons and flyers from each of the sponsors. It’s a great event raising much needed money for the STPS.

The Sea Turtle Preservation Society (STPS) is a not-for-profit organization, whose purpose is to educate the public about marine turtles. STPS reaches thousands of people each year through lecture presentations, exhibits at area events, and through our turtle watches during the sea turtle nesting season.

STPS relies on the donations from the public, its membership, and the efforts of its dedicated volunteers. Our active volunteers are permitted by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Bureau of Protected Species Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to work with endangered and threatened sea turtles. STPS is not however, an enforcement agency.

2005 Turtle Krawl sponsors include:
Beach Bicycle, Beachside Café, Brevard Emergency Services, Café Coconut Cove, Creative Framing by David, Crystal Springs, Driftwood Vision Center, Fifth Avenue Art Gallery, Hamilton Masonry, Honest John’s Fish Camp, Indian River Soap, Java Surf, Local Knowledge, Long Doggers, Long Point Bait Tackle & Café, Melbourne Beach Properties, Nemo, New England Eatery & Pub, Physical Addictions, Postnet, Rosati’s, Publix, Running Zone, South Beach Pool & Patio, South Beach Studio Salon, St. Francis of Assisi, Surfcaster Motel, Surfin’ Turtle Bar & Grill, Whitey’s Bait & Tackle,

Contact Donna Lee Crawford, Recreation Program Coordinator, at or call (321) 255-4400.
Visit their site at

Visit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society website at
or call (321) 676-1701