Turtle nesting season officially started May 1st, which means almost every day you will find a set of tire tracks on the Flagler Beach sand from Turtle Patrol volunteers searching for signs of life…Sea Turtle life that is.
This means that beach bonfires are no longer permitted until November 1st and that all those really cool giant holes you dig in the sand should be filled in when you vacate the beach. The rest of the don’ts are logical, however some people still forget that trash isn’t natural and continue to leave all sorts of goodies that a turtle might think is a delicious snack. I remember one time calling the state park to report a sick sea turtle and thinking that because it was covered in barnacles it had lived a long happy life and was maybe dying of old age. Unfortunately I was informed that the reason for the hitchhikers was because the turtle could not submerge properly, probably due to its body being full of trash.
The Turtles in Trouble program found turtles had swallowed balloons, plastic bags, nylon rope, styrofoam and thongs, among other things, possibly mistaking them for jellyfish.
Once ingested, the plastic causes a gut impaction which leads to the contents of the animal’s gut decomposing.
“The animal becomes positively buoyant and it can’t dive down to eat, it can’t get out of the way of predators, it can’t get out of the way of boats, so it really is quite a tragic thing,” Dr Townsend said.
It can result in so-called “floating syndrome”, where the turtle may take months to gradually starve to death.
“It’s a really long, drawn-out, painful death,” Dr Townsend said. borrowed from: http://www.projectaware.org/update/litter-threatens-sea-turtle-survival
So…that’s pretty heartbreaking.
But people are slowly learning and the more we teach our kiddos about making better choices, the better off every ‘living thing’ will be. Which is why I barely ever, never buy my kids balloons (*note: ACCORDING TO FLORIDA STATUTE 379.233, BALLOON RELEASES ARE ILLEGAL IN OUR STATE!!!) and resist, unless we are completely dying of thirst, buying drinks in plastic bottles. I have also recently started requesting paper…not plastic at the grocery store when I forget to bring my reusable bags. I’m not saving the world, but I am trying to make a tiny difference and teach my kids to realize why it is so important to create positive habits.
Some cool facts about sea turtles you may or may not know:
There are five species of turtles found in Florida-loggerhead, green, leatherback, hawksbill, and Kemp’s Ridley http://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/sea-turtles/florida/species/
Last year leatherbacks were the top nesters in Gamble Rogers State Park. Leatherback’s are the only turtle without a hard shell but instead have a leathery looking skin made of thousands of tiny bone plates. They are the largest of all the turtles and travel the farthest!
The leather and green turtles move their front flippers at the same time while the loggerhead moves it’s flippers every other time
The temperature of the sand determines the sex of the eggs…how about that! Imagine if that was how we worked 🙂
To find out more about our beloved sea turtles you can attend:
Turtle Talk at Gamble Rogers State Park
Friday, May 6th 6 pm
Learn about the different species of sea turtles
that will be nesting on our local beaches and
how you can help. All ages welcome!
Please RSVP at Eventbrite
Last year’s Turtle Festival rehabilitated turtle release.
For Flagler Turtle Patrol updates like them on Facebook!
For an up close and personal sea turtle experience check out the Marine Science Center!
If you find an injured or sick sea turtle stranded at the beach or on a boat, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC.
Get to know an inspiring human who is dedicating his life to improving ours! Check out Adam Morely, running for Florida House of Representative District 24. He is the first person I have ever met who showed up to a beach cleanup with his own bucket and trash grabbers to not create more garbage!
Check out his website and fill out a petition to help get him on the ballet! http://adammorleyfl24.com
To be a part of the solution…join us for our 1st Saturday of the month “beach cleanups” hosted by Flagler Beach All-Stars.
Want some local sea turtle art?
Purchase a tote bag or set of note cards made by Me. 🙂 and I will happily donate 10% to the Flagler Turtle Patrol. To order send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org with Turtle Power in the subject line. 🙂
Set of 6 notecards: $12.00
Canvas Tote: $15.00
and last…who doesn’t love turtle videos???
Baby turtle hatchlings from a nest I found 2 years ago during my sunrise photo sessions. There were over a 100 of them–
and the best part is they all made it to the ocean!