Spend a Day learning about Florida’s Sea Turtles

NESTEver wonder about your “Nocturnal Neighbors”? No, not those noisy neighbors next door that are always up until 2 AM. I mean the ones visiting our beaches at nig

ht as they have for longer than you can imagine. That’s right, sea turtles! The three species of sea turtle using Brevard’s beaches struggle with the burden of crawling from the surf and finding a suitable nesting location near the dune.

Once they find a suitable sight they deposit a hundred golf ball sized eggs into a carefully crafted nest chamber. Leaving them to be incubated by the heat of the summer sun, the mother turtle will never see her babies again. The hatchlings emerging two months later have very little chance of survival with only one in a thousand expected to make it to adulthood.

It’s nature’s way though, and it has worked for over 100 million years. But why then, in the last 50 years have sea turtle populations around the world been on the decline? Look around you and point a finger at the people all around you, and there’s plenty of them! But don’t forget though, to point that finger at yourself as well. “Me, I’ve never hurt a sea turtle in my life, I love them!” you might exclaim. But do you really know how your home, your yard, and your lifestyle all affect the sea turtles depending on us for their continued survival? Take the time this summer to learn!

Beach Community Residents and Sea Turtle Enthusiasts are invited to spend a day learning about sea turtles and how to protect them.

Florida serves as “home base” for several species of endangered and threatened sea turtles. Sadly, coastal development, beach lighting, habitat loss, and pollution threaten current and future populations. However, their future is closely tied to the actions of their human neighbors living along the coast.

Learn how to join NESTS — Neighbors Ensuring Sea Turtle Survival! Take a Sea Turtle Lighting Course! This one-day workshop will be held at Environmental Learning Center (ELC) in Vero Beach (255 Live Oak Drive. Directions available at www.elcweb.org/contactus and runs from 9:00 am – 3 pm.

Sea Turtles

Experts will present information on the biology, life history, threats, and current status of Florida’s sea turtles, as well as the history of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. Biologists will review sea turtle nesting and stranding information, in addition to Florida’s conservation programs. We will also present information about issues that affect turtles right now, and the work being done to increase the chances of long-term population survival.

Space is limited; reservations are being accepted on a “first come, first served” basis. A $15 registration fee covers the workshop as well as morning coffee, gourmet deli lunch a “Sea Turtle Goodie Bag”, and information on NESTS – Neighbors Ensuring Sea Turtle Survival. For more information or to reserve a space, contact The Ocean Conservancy (800-262-3567) and ask for Coralette Damme (cdamme@oceanconservancy.org) or Jessica Koelsch (jkoelsch@oceanconservancy.org).

Participants attending the course/workshop will be given an opportunity to take an official marine turtle exterior lighting exam and receive a certification from the FWC. Who should attend? The course is open to the general public, beachfront homeowners, governmental employees, code enforcement staff,
builder/contractors, electricians, condominium associations, architects, planners, engineers, property managers, and anyone interested in, or affected by, sea turtle lighting issues or anyone working with outdoor beachfront lighting.

Participation in the course is FREE, but space is limited. Pre-Registration is required. You are also invited to attend a Sea Turtle Lighting Course/Certification sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Dean Gallagher of the FWC will present information on a variety of topics including sea turtle friendly lighting products, appropriate lighting vs. lights-out and reducing threats to sea turtles while maintaining public safety. To hold your place, contact Dean Gallagher at
dean.gallagher@MyFWC.com or (850) 922-4330

Here’s your chance to make your life more “friendly” to those neighbors who were here well before us. Don’t miss this opportunity like no other!