Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Begining The Turtle Walks.......

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tomorrow morning will be the first 'turtle walk' for me. As one of aproximately 100 volunteers, I will be helping the SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation), with their continuing Sea Turtle Research and Monitoring Progam. The beaches here at Sanibel and Captiva Islands are a nesting area for the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtles, one of the worlds oldest creatures. Each day just before dawn, volunteers check designated zones of beach. Some areas of the beach are patrolled by beach vehicles and persons who are are a part of the research team. As a volunteer, my job is to look for a turtle crawl. When a turtle comes up on the beach, it leaves tracks in the sand as it looks for a nesting spot. If the turtle does make a nest, a volunteer places a flag near it, then calls a permitee, who is authorized to go out to mark off the nest to help protect it. It is then monitored. Later in the season the hatches are recorded to add to the statewide collection of data. For more interesting information and statistics about the sea turtles, check out the link for SCCF. More interesting information can be viewed about Loggerhead Turtles here.

As volunteers, we are expected to walk aproximately a 1 mile stretch of beach one morning each week during the turtle nesting season which begins May 1 and ends by Nov l. We are to look for signs of nesting, watch for any beach furniture that may have been left out overnight (putting a sticker on it, notifying owner to remove it), also be aware if any lighting is directed toward the beach that might be confusing to the turtles. And of course, pick up any trash that might be laying on the beach. Many turtle deaths have been attributed to mistaking plastic bags, etc. for food.

I'm really excited about possibly seeing a sea turtle, or a nest; but most of all, anticipating the sight of little baby turtles heading out to sea for the first time.

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