South Florida Audubon Society

Sea Turtle Resources for Southeast Florida

Article by Alicia Caraballo, January 20, 2014

Every year between April and September, three species of sea turtles make their way to the beaches of Broward County: the loggerhead sea turtle, the green sea turtle, and the leatherback sea turtle. The loggerhead, however, is the species most often encountered by conservationists. The South Florida Audubon Society (SFAS) is committed to ensuring the perpetuity of this ancient marine reptile.
 
Due to the over-development of coastal areas around the globe, the population of sea turtles has dramatically diminished. The accidental capture and intentional poaching of this precious animal for leather, shells, and other products has also contributed to the decline of the world’s sea turtle population. As a result, six out of the seven species of sea turtles are endangered.
 
The State of Florida has pledged to protect sea turtles and their nests with the enactment of Florida Statutes, Chapter 370. The United States Endangered Species Act also states that "No person may take, harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or attempt to engage in any such conduct to marine turtles, turtle nests, and/or turtle eggs."
 
Unfortunately, despite the laws in place, beach communities aren’t aware of the damages done to these sea turtle populations, and some beachfront municipalities aren’t enforcing the sea turtle ordinances. White light on beach areas disorient both the adult  and hatchling sea turtles, and some nests aren’t found in time before beach-goers unknowingly harm the hatchlings.
 
SFAS is now taking an active role in the conservation of nests and rescuing hatchlings. Our goal is to make sure that all hatchlings from a nest make it into the ocean without disorientation or disturbance. Doug Young, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of SFAS, holds two Marine Turtle Permits from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for sea turtle hatchling rescue in Broward County. 

Learn about sea turtles in Florida from some locals in the know!  Watch these knowledgeable Florida kids to learn what you can do to help protect sea turtles.












Sea Turtle PSA by FWC (video footage by Inwater Research Group)

 

The Sea Turtle Conservancy has released a series of videos about sea level rise and the need to protect Florida's beaches in an era of rising seas.  The video series, Ahead of the Tide, was produced in partnership with the nonprofit organization CAVU.

"Sea level rise will have serious and long term impacts to the state's sea turtle nesting beaches.  Our hope is that this series of short, powerful films will help to serve as a Call to Action for all Floridians to demand that our elected leaders, government agencies and coastal communities begin planning for sea level rise in order to protect Florida's most valuable asset -- it's natural sandy beaches -- both for sea turtles and for people."

 Chapter One - Florida's Lifeblood

South Florida Audubon Society, in partnership with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program, has limited availability for volunteers to work with us during the 2017 sea turtle nesting and hatching season.  We are seeking individuals who are self-directed, prompt, take initiative, interested in meeting others, and who communicate regularly via email or text to join us in helping to save the turtles.













 





Interested volunteers are required to meet the following:

  •  Be at least 18 years of age
  • Complete a 4-hour training course and pass the exam with 90% or higher
  • Attend on-the-beach training
  • Complete a 4-hour shift minimum at least one night per seven-day week.  This means that volunteers will be prepared to walk in 'beach sand' during a 4-hour shift, checking on multiple sea turtle nests in one area / zone.
  • Sign a commitment agreement to abide by volunteer requirements in order to receive one free T-shirt for use on the shifts during the sea turtle nesting season.


At this time we have exceeded our need for volunteers for the 2017 season.  Those interested in being considered for next season may fill out the  inquiry form.  

This video was shared with SFAS on Facebook by Ralph Pace of  Ralph Pace Photography

photo credit: JP Carew