We had a full house tonight and a great meeting with our speakers Skye and Theresa from Sea Turtle Trackers. We learned a lot, especially some things we can do when visiting the beach or volunteering for their organization.
Turtle nesting season is April 1 through October 31. During this time it is especially important not to have lights visible from the beach as the young sea turtles may head in the wrong direction on their march to the Gulf of Mexico.
Members and volunteers of Sea Turtle Trackers spend their time looking for nests and marking them with tape. On Shell Key, because there are predators such as coyotes, the nests are protected with cages.
The number of eggs found in a sea turtle nest range from 60 to 120 and the females mate with more than one male to increase the likelihood of successful hatchlings.
If you visit the beach during sea turtle nesting season and make a sandcastle, one thing you can do before you head home is tear down the sandcastle and fill in the moat if you dug one. Young turtles are expecting a flat land tract to the Gulf of Mexico and a sandcastle or moat can confuse them.
Also, don’t leave any trash behind and pick up three items left behind by others. This will help keep the beach clean and reduce the chance of any marine life consuming it. Want to record the trash that you pick up? The Ocean Conservancy has an app called Clean Swell where you can record what you find: https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/cleanswell/ If you are participating in a beach cleanup for a particular organization, you can credit that organization while you are recording the trash you have picked up.
Sea Turtle Trackers is always looking for volunteers to help with tracking sea turtle nests on the beach or speaking to groups to educate people about sea turtles.
Another way to support the group is during their annual fundraiser, which will be on October 26th on Corey Avenue in St. Pete Beach from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. They will be participating in a Shellebration They will have a silent auction fundraiser.
Also, we discussed several upcoming events and trips of interest to members of our group. We can tell the summer heat will be over soon as there are many activities coming up.
Our meeting was held on Wednesday, September 18, at 6:30 at Bill Jackson’s in Pinellas Park.