STC Sea Turtle Blog

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: Visitor Center Coordinator at STC’s Station in Tortuguero, Costa Rica **POSITION FILLED**

POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED

This job description is available in English and Spanish. Click here for Spanish version.

POSITION TITLE:

Visitor Center Coordinator at the Tortuguero Biological Field Station (Costa Rica) for Sea Turtle Conservancy

POSITION SUMMARY:

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) announces an opening for Visitor Center Coordinator at its Biological Field Station at Tortuguero, Costa Rica. STC’s Tortuguero Biological Field Station is home of the longest-continuous sea turtle research and protection program in the world. Spanning 55 years, the program at Tortuguero is monitoring and protecting one of the largest green turtle rookeries in the world; providing intense field research training to young biologists; and is a global model for volunteer eco-tourism.

STC’s Visitor Center (VC) is open daily to provide interpretive exhibits, video presentations and one-on-one information sharing about STC’s work with visiting tourists and local residents. The VC also includes a small store that sells sea turtle and conservation-themed merchandise to support STC’s work.

The VC Coordinator will staff and oversee the daily operation of the VC and associated store. The Coordinator is an important public liaison for STC in Tortuguero – often hosting as many as several hundred visitors per day. The job requires an outgoing, bi-lingual individual who is both knowledgeable and passionate about STC’s work in Tortuguero. Through the operation of the store and management of entrance fees, the VC Coordinator will be required to manage and track money, complete retail sales, manage inventory, run video presentations, answer questions from the public and generally present a positive face for STC in Tortuguero. This position will not specifically include scientific responsibilities, though the VC Coordinator is encouraged to occasionally participate in nightly sea turtle research and community outreach projects when feasible.

The VC Coordinator will be provided full room and board at the STC station, along with a modest salary enabling one to live comfortably in the unique and beautiful setting of Tortuguero, Costa Rica. This is a permanent, full-time position.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional experience in public relations, hospitality, eco-tourism, management or similar field
  • Fluency in both English and Spanish is required
  • Excellent managerial and organizational skills
  • Good communications and public relations skills
  • Basic office and computer skills for record keeping and tracking sales/income
  • Willingness to work hands-on to get the job done

DESIRED TRAITS:

  • A dedication to the mission of STC
  • Good interpersonal skills – ability to converse with and relate to a range of people from tourists to visiting scientists to local community members
  • Ability to work independently, with little direct supervision
  • Someone who leads by example
  • Experience in retail management and/or environmental education

PAY AND HIRING TIMELINE:

Applications are being accepted now, with the goal of filling the position by the end of January 2020 to overlap with the current Visitor Center Coordinator. This full-time position to be based in Tortuguero includes a compensation package consisting of free lodging, full meals while at the station and starting pay of $900 per month.

HOW TO APPLY:

Submit cover letter, resume, and references via e-mail to: david@conserveturtles.org. Prefer to receive in English.

 

Help STC Raise $50,000 on Giving Tuesday, December 3rd!

On December 3, Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is participating in our 7th annual Giving Tuesday to raise $50,000 for our Research Station in Soropta Beach, Panama! STC is hoping all of its members and supporters will participate in this year’s Giving Tuesday Campaign, which seeks to raise matching funds for the critical work we are doing at Soropta Beach to protect and recover leatherback sea turtles. Giving Tuesday, which occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is to remind people to take a moment to contribute to non-profit organizations in their communities and around the world.

For Giving Tuesday last year, STC supporters helped generate over $40,000 to support STC’s in-water research program benefiting juvenile turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. The year before (2017), our supporters raised nearly $20,000 for the Tour de Turtles education program. STC has set its sights even higher this year, and we are confident we can reach the goal of $50,000 thanks to generous pledges from STC’s Board of Directors to match up to $25,000 for every dollar donated by STC’s members and supporters.

STC asks for your help to support one of our most urgent conservation programs. Every bit of the funding raised during the 2019 Giving Tuesday Campaign will support leatherback monitoring and protection efforts at a critical nesting site for this species at Soropta Beach, Panama. Soropta is a remote, 8 km black-sand beach that sees between 500 and 800 leatherback nests each season – making it an important part of the 4th largest nesting colony for this species in the world. Unfortunately, the area’s remoteness makes Soropta highly vulnerable to illegal hunting. STC’s presence on this beach since 2013 has helped curb illegal harvesting, but it’s still an ongoing problem.

By raising up to $50K to support this project, STC will be able to secure additional beach monitors and also make needed improvements to the station used by STC’s staff and volunteers. Our modest dormitories, kitchen and dining hall need repairs, as nature has taken its toll on the old wooden station inherited by STC. In addition, a small dock leading from the river behind our station (the only way to travel to and from Soropta), is in disrepair and must be extended to higher elevation so it’s not underwater during the rainy season.

STC’s Soropta station houses staff and volunteer Research Assistants, who stay during nesting season to monitor and protect the turtles and their nests. Starting last year, STC also began accepting paying eco-volunteers who participate in one- or two-week programs, revenues from which help support STC’s work in Soropta. In order to sustain our presence at Soropta and provide a safe and secure base for staff and volunteers, we need to invest in station maintenance and upgrades. By raising $50K for Giving Tuesday, STC can make all the necessary repairs and also provide needed funds for research supplies, food and fuel for the program.

Help STC support our leatherback research and conservation program in Panama by donating to the cause in one of four ways:

  1. Online at www.conserveturtles.org/GivingTuesday
  2. Through STC’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/conserveturtles
  3. Calling the STC office at 352-373-6441
  4. Mail a check with “Giving Tuesday” in the subject line. All checks received with Giving Tuesday in the subject line will count towards the campaign, even if received after Dec. 3, 2019. Please make checks out to Sea Turtle Conservancy and mail to 4581 NW 6th Street, Suite A, Gainesville, FL 32609.

Funds raised during this campaign will be matched by STC’s Board of Directors, up to a maximum of $25,000! Help turn $25,000 into $50,000 for sea turtle research!

Can we count you in for #GivingTuesday? Be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter for LIVE fundraising updates on Giving Tuesday!

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: Sea Turtle Lighting Project Specialist **POSITION FILLED**

**POSITION FILLED**

Overview and Purpose
Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is based in Gainesville, Florida, and was founded by renowned sea turtle expert Dr. Archie Carr.  STC is the oldest and one of the most accomplished sea turtle conservation organizations in the world. STC is hiring a Lighting Project Specialist to work on our Sea Turtle Lighting Project. This person will work as part of our lighting team implementing sea turtle lighting retrofits on beachfront properties in Florida, assisting with educational workshops, and coordinating dune planting projects to help further reduce lighting impacts to nesting turtles. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has funded STC’s lighting project as part of its investment toward mitigating the impacts to sea turtles caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The project’s goal is to increase sea turtle survivorship by reducing hatchling disorientation caused by lighting. The project works with private property owners to retrofit problematic beachfront lighting to sea turtle friendly alternatives using the best available technology.

Duties and Responsibilities
The primary responsibilities of this position will be implementing sea turtle lighting retrofits and dune planting projects in the south west Florida peninsula. The position will involve collection of night-time photos and lighting measurements; contract negotiations with property owners and managers; developing exterior lighting plans; communicating with property owners and lighting distributors; and data entry, management, analysis and mapping using Access, Excel and ArcGIS Online. Travel to the south west Florida peninsula and other parts of the state over 3 to 5 day periods will be required. Duties also will include coordinating travel logistics; tracking the progression of multiple projects in various stages; and conducting lighting workshops developed for code enforcement and building professionals. The position will require flexible work hours, occasionally at night and on the weekends. The Lighting Project Specialist will be based in Gainesville and work directly under the Lighting Project Manager as part of a four-person team of lighting specialists.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree with a major in wildlife conservation, policy, management, communications or similar field.
  • Experience with contract management, grant development and/or environmental regulation preferred.
  • Organized and detail-oriented with the ability to simultaneously handle and prioritize multiple tasks.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Motivated professional with an ability to work closely with others, learn new skills and follow leadership directives.
  • Skilled with MS Office (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint)
  • and familiar with ArcGIS software.
  • Passionate about the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
  • Training will be made available to the right candidate to boost knowledge about sea turtle lighting options and to improve skills in using ArcGIS.
  • Position requires US citizenship.

Salary and Benefits

  • Starting salary will be commensurate with experience (Range $35,000 – $40,000)
  • Fully paid employee health and dental insurance.
  • Paid holidays, sick time and vacation days.
  • Retirement plan initiated after 12 months of employment.
  • Work in a flexible, yet highly motivated non-profit environment with a close-knit team of professionals committed to sea turtle conservation.

Applications will be accepted until a candidate is selected. A start date prior to the end of 2019 is preferred. Apply by submitting your cover letter and résumé to the Project Manager at Rachel@conserveturtles.org.

STC Awarded Top Responsible Costa Rica Eco Tour 2019!

Sea Turtle Conservancy is excited to announce that we’ve made it onto the Top Responsible Costa Rica Eco Tours 2019 list!

Curated by Terra Incognita – a social enterprise seeking to promote the best examples of ethical ecotourism worldwide – we’re part of a group of nearly 40 incredible tours across Costa Rica working to conserve the environment, support the well-being of local people and educate visitors and hosts.

“Costa Rica is often the first place that comes to mind when we hear the word ‘ecotourism’, yet it can still be challenging for visitors to choose a responsible tour,” said Kristi Foster of Terra Incognita.

The list includes a transparent explanation of how all tours contribute to conservation, local communities and education, and is open to reviews from guests who’ve participated in the tours. Groups on the list are doing everything from cleaning up beaches and donating to community projects, to offsetting their carbon emissions and encouraging their guests to do the same. Some are actively contributing to conservation research, while others are empowering local conservation ambassadors through environmental education and capacity building.

STC offers several different eco-tour options. Click below to learn more about each trip:

You can view the Responsible Costa Rica Eco Tours 2019 list at www.terra-incognita.travel and join a movement to create positive change for people and planet through travel.

To learn more about sea turtle experiences offered by STC, visit https://conserveturtles.org/////get-involved-sea-turtle-experience/

(Update) Tell Brevard County Commissioners to keep dogs off the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

***UPDATE as of 8/7/2019: Great news out of the Brevard County Commission meeting last night! The commissioners rejected the citizen initiative to allow dogs on 11 miles of the Refuge. Most of the commissioners were vocally opposed. In the Carr Refuge District, 92% of those contacting their commissioner via email and phone did not want dogs on their beaches. Commissioners cited both human health and safety and the sensitive habitat as reasons for not supporting the initiative. THANK YOU to all who signed our petition, called and emailed commissioners and spread the word about this harmful proposed initiative! You truly made a difference. If any news breaks about this issue in the future, we will be sure to keep you informed.***

ACTION ALERT: Tell Brevard County Commissioners to keep dogs off the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

Brevard County’s Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge hosts the single most important sea turtle nesting beach in the United States. The Refuge is a nesting ground for more threatened loggerhead turtles than virtually anyplace else on Earth, as well as for green and leatherback sea turtles. Decades of tireless work and millions of dollars spent by governmental agencies, non-profit organizations such as the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC), and foundations successfully created and protected the Refuge as a safe haven for sea turtles. A recent movement to open up the Refuge to domestic dogs threatens this progress.

A group of local Brevard residents is pushing forward a proposal to allow dogs on 11.5 miles of the Refuge between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. daily. STC has extensive experience in monitoring and protecting sea turtle nesting beaches in Florida and the Caribbean. On some of the beaches we monitor, dogs have been documented as a major threat to sea turtles; dogs are excellent at sniffing out turtle nests and digging them up. Dogs are also known to predate live hatchlings ready to emerge and scare off adult nesting sea turtles. Sea turtles, especially hatchlings, have plenty of wild predators without humans introducing large numbers of domestic predators.

This stretch of beach, owned by county, state and federal governments, falls under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service management plan that does not allow dogs and cats on federally-owned property. Brevard County would be highly vulnerable to a federal Endangered Species Act lawsuit if this plan moves forward and any impacts to sea turtle nests are documented. The Refuge is one of the most heavily studied nesting beaches in Florida, so any predation incidents by dogs would be swiftly recorded.

This year has been a record-breaking year for sea turtle nesting in the Refuge and across the Southeastern U.S. All three species of sea turtles that nest in the Carr Refuge are just starting to show signs of recovery. The Carr Refuge in Brevard County is the worst possible place to allow dogs on the beach.

Although many staff members at STC are dog lovers, we oppose directing dogs to defecate in the very area where people and children take their shoes off and play in the sand. It is highly unsanitary for people and very dangerous for federally-protected sea turtles.

The Brevard County Commission is meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 6 to discuss this proposed plan. Please contact the Brevard County Commissioners listed below and let them know that you oppose opening up the Archie Carr Refuge to dogs.

District 1 Commissioner Rita Pritchett
321-607-6291
D1.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

District 2 Commissioner Bryan Lober (Vice Chair)
321-454-6601
D2.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

District 3 Commissioner John Tobia
321-633-2075
D3.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

District 4 Commissioner Curt Smith
321-633-2044
D4.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

District 5 Commissioner Kristine Isnardi (Chair)
321-253-6611
D5.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

STC Projects Benefit from Sea Turtle Grants Program (STGP)

Funded by a portion of revenues from Florida’s Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate, the Sea Turtle Grants Program distributes funds each year to support sea turtle research, conservation and education programs that benefit Florida sea turtles. In 2019, Sea Turtle Conservancy had two project proposals selected for funding.

2019

Green Turtle Seasonal Movements and Group Behavior in Florida’s Big Bend – $27,600.00 awarded

In the Florida Keys, green turtles have showed signs of herding or coordinated movements over seagrass habitat. It’s possible this also occurs in the Big Bend during warmer months (May–September), however, it’s unclear how frequent juvenile green turtles actually associate with each other. This project will use telemetry to determine migratory movements of juvenile green turtles due to changes in water temperatures and investigate localized group behavior during the spring, summer and fall. ARGOS satellite transmitters will be placed on juvenile green turtles that are captured at four different sites in the Big Bend. Their movement patterns will be analyzed using state-space models and ArcGIS spatial analysis tools. The results will help explain large scale seasonal movements as well as small scale group behavior that may be impacted in the future by climate change and the loss of habitat.

FWC Permit #118

Upgrading Sea Turtle Lighting Education Program – $18,930.00 awarded

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) will refurbish and update the traveling lighting displays funded by the grants program in 2014. Since their creation, the displays have successfully been hosted at facilities throughout the state of Florida and have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people. The four portable displays have received considerable wear since they were first created and deployed. STC will work with the original graphics company to reprint the panel graphics; add a protective coating on each panel to prevent scratching; and repair and update damaged and outdated fixtures. Once the displays are repaired, STC will re-deploy them in high-traffic locations in southwest Florida, where STC will expand its separately-funded sea turtle lighting retrofit program. STC will also work with a video production company to create a short instructive video to further educate beachfront property owners about the importance of sea turtle lighting and how to be part of the solution. This video will be broadcast to targeted audiences in SW Florida through boosted social media postings.

To learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants program, visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.

 

Sea Turtle Nesting Season Tips & Turtle Walk Info

Photo credit: Rachel Smith

Nesting season officially kicked off on May 1st in Florida, where about 90% of sea turtle nesting in the U.S. takes place. Whether you are a Florida resident or are simply stopping by for summer vacation, this information will help you get the most out of our beautiful beaches while also being considerate of nesting sea turtles and hatchlings. Share this information with your beach-loving family and friends to ensure that our beaches can be safely and responsibly enjoyed by all!

Human threats that can interfere with the nesting and hatching process include:

  • Lights: keep them dim! Make sure that your beachfront property uses sea turtle-friendly lighting. You can also help by make sure that your drapes and blinds are closed at night to prevent sea turtles from wandering away from the ocean. Click here to learn more about STC’s Sea Turtle Friendly Lighting Program!
  • Holes: fill them in! Holes in the sand may be fun to dig during the day, but if left unfilled, nesting sea turtles and hatchlings can easily fall into them and become trapped at night. If you dig a hole or see one that has been left behind by someone else, please fill it in.
  • fwcSandcastles: knock them down! The flatter the beaches are, the easier it will be for nesting sea turtles and hatchlings to safely make it to and from the water. We know you worked very hard on your masterpiece and are sorry to see it go, but the turtles appreciate it.
  • Furniture: bring it in! You may have gotten a great spot on the beach and it may have been a lot of work to set up your chairs, umbrellas, tents, etc., but furniture left on the beach overnight can pose great danger for sea turtles. Nesting sea turtles can easily become trapped underneath these items and hatchlings can be misled by them while attempting to go to the ocean. Please keep the beaches clear and flat for sea turtles.
  • Trash and leftover food: pick it up!  Foxes, raccoon, coyotes and other animals can easily be attracted to beaches by what we leave behind. Unfortunately, they are also responsible for the destruction of thousands of sea turtle eggs each year. By leaving the beach clean you can help prevent predators from preying on sea turtle eggs and hatchlings. For more information on how you eliminate waste, visit TerraCycle.com or purchase one of our STC reusable bags.

Want a chance to see a nesting loggerhead sea turtle? Attend a Turtle Walk! STC’s Turtle Walks take place in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, starting at the Barrier Island Center in Melbourne Beach, FL. Participants have the chance to witness a nesting loggerhead sea turtle. Walks are conducted by STC on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights in June and July. Space is limited to 20 people per night. Cost is $15 per person. Click here to reserve your spot!

STC’s Gainesville Office is Moving! Limited Phone/Email Access April 17-22

Exciting news! Sea Turtle Conservancy’s main office located in Gainesville, FL is moving to a new building! What does this mean for you? Due to the move, STC will have limited or no access to phones from April 17-22 and limited email access April 19-22.

Any gift Shop or Adopt-A-Turtle orders placed after 5 pm (EST) on Wednesday, April 17 will not be processed until Wednesday, April 24.

We appreciate your patience at this busy time!

Our new address is:

Sea Turtle Conservancy
4581 NW 6th Street
Suite A
Gainesville, FL 32609

All email addresses and phone numbers will remain the same.

ACTION ALERT: Florida Bill to Prevent Straw Bans to be voted on next Monday (March 4)

ACTION ALERT: Florida Bill to Prevent Straw Bans to be voted on next Monday

Single-use plastics pose a threat to all marine life, but especially to sea turtles. Researchers from the University of Exeter recently found single use plastics and fibers in the gut of all 102 sea turtles they sampled in 2018. Without a major global effort to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

After a video of a sea turtle with a straw in its nose went viral in 2015, a global plastic-free movement has been gaining momentum. Corporations such as Starbucks, McDonald’s, Delta Airlines, and Marriott recently announced changes to their plastic policies to protect marine life. In Florida, Sea Turtle Conservancy works with coastal restaurants to change their straw policies and to empower their guests to make conservation-minded decisions. Local governments in Florida are also introducing restrictions on plastic bags and single-use cutlery.

This effort may be in jeopardy. Florida Senator Hutson filed a bill in January, Senate Bill 588, which seeks to stop local governments from passing laws to reduce plastic consumption in their communities. In particular, the bill will invalidate all existing straw bans in Florida and will prevent local governments from banning straws in the future. This bill, disguised as an effort to reduce plastic consumption, will freeze the efforts of local governments to make decisions about their own neighborhoods. You can read the bill in full by clicking here. Check out this recent article from the Tampa Bay Times for more on the issue.

Sea Turtle Conservancy does NOT support SB-588 because we SUPPORT bans of plastic bags, cutlery, Styrofoam and straws to reduce potential harm of sea turtles by marine debris. Sea Turtle Conservancy does support House Bill 6033, filed by Representative Grieco and co-sponsored by Representative Eskamani, which proposes to restore the ability for local governments to ban plastic bags.

How You Can Help

We need your help! On Monday, March 4 at 1 p.m., members of the Florida Senate’s Commerce and Tourism committee will vote on Senate Bill 588. Please let committee members know your feelings about this bill by emailing or calling them using the contact information below.

Personalized comments are the most effective, especially if any of these committee members are in your district in Florida. Here is a short example of what you can say:

“My name is _____ and I ask that you vote “No” on Senate Bill 588. I oppose Senate Bill 588 because plastic debris kills wildlife every year, including endangered sea turtles. Straw bans are an effective way to reduce plastic consumption and protect marine life from possible plastic ingestion. There is a global movement to reduce plastic use at the local, state and federal level. Senate Bill 588 will freeze that progress and prevent local governments from making decisions that impact their own communities.”

Senator Travis Hutson (bill sponsor)
(850) 487-5007
hutson.travis@flsenate.gov

Senator Victor Torres
(850) 487-5015
torres.victor@flsenate.gov

Senator Joe Gruters
(850) 487-5023
gruters.joe@flsenate.gov

Senator Linda Stewart
(850) 487-5013
stewart.linda@flsenate.gov

Senator Tom Wright
(850) 487-5014
wright.tom@flsenate.gov

Support STC’s Lisa’s Fund with “Flippery When Wet” Soaps!

Guest blog post by Diane & Linda Randgaard

Our younger sister, Lisa, loved to travel and did so with great joy and wonder. The decline of her physical health from the congenital heart condition she lived with so bravely was a limit she recognized, once noting that her body “wouldn’t be able to keep up with her desire to see the world.”

Lisa found other ways to indulge her wanderlust, and sea turtles helped fill a need in her soul. STC’s annual Tour de Turtles was of particular interest, tracking strong, yet vulnerable, animals that traverse wide swaths of the world’s vast, dangerous oceans. She shared her passion for sea turtles with others and donated to this cause that grew near and dear to her. When Lisa died suddenly at age 43 in May 2012, she left a grieving family that got busy and began fundraising for STC in her honor.

This Holiday Season, we are offering our handmade soaps and other special items to raise $3,000 by January 2019, building on the $100,500 generated since the start of this amazing journey. In 2016, Lisa’s Building, which houses staff and welcomes visitors, was dedicated at the STC outpost in Tortuguero, Costa Rica, a crucial nesting beach for greens and leatherbacks, and 100% of ALL holiday donations goes to the Lisa Jo Randgaard Fund, an unrestricted endowment fund focused on the future of sea turtle conservation.

Lisa’s heart goes on, thanks to the kindness of many wonderful people that share her great love of sea turtles.

THANK YOU and Happy Holidays! Please visit us at LoveIntoSustainedAction.com.

2019 Sea Turtle Calendar Contest Winners!

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) would like to give a special congratulations to the winners of our 2019 Sea Turtle Scenes Calendar Contest! All of the photos were truly fantastic. Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter!

The winning photographs will be featured in STC’s 2019 Sea Turtle Scenes Calendar, which will be available online in our gift shop sometime in November. Thank you to all of our participants who made this year’s selection exciting and especially difficult. We received HUNDREDS of submissions! If you missed out on this one, look out for the 2020 photography contest next year!

Here are this year’s winners:

**Cover Image!** Photographer: Ben Hicks

January: Photographer David Randazzo

February: Photographer Karla Morales

March: Photographer Ben Hicks

 

April: Photographer Guillermo Plaza

May: Photographer Dirk Peterson

 

June Photographer: Karla G Barrientos Munoz

 

July: Photographer Hannah Bacalla

 

August: Photographer Jim Angy

September: Photographer David Randazzo

October: Photographer Mario Cisneros

November: Photographer Jim Angy

December: Photographer Saira Ortega

 

 

NBC News: STC Helps Install New Lights Along Florida Coastline to Protect Baby Sea Turtles

STC’s Executive Director David Godfrey was recently interviewed by NBC Nightly News to discuss the importance of sea turtle friendly lighting in Florida, which STC has played a major role in implementing across the state. The story aired live on September 22, 2018 and can be viewed on NBC’s website by clicking the image below:

 

STC Lighting Project Manager Receives Lighting Specialist Certification

Sea Turtle Conservancy now has a certified Lighting Specialist I on staff! Lighting Project Manager Rachel Tighe recently received her Lighting Specialist I certification through the National Association of Innovative Lighting Distributors (NAILD).

 

STC Lighting Project Manager Rachel Tighe discusses a recently completed lighting retrofit with the General Manager & Operating Manager of the Holiday Inn Express Pensacola Beach.

 

The training allowed Rachel to increase her knowledge and gain expertise in lighting basics and luminaire application. This adds competence and confidence to the team and enhances STC’s ability to offer the best sea turtle friendly lighting solutions while maintaining human safety and security. We are now able to more effectively educate and communicate with property owners about the benefits of sea turtle friendly lighting.

 

The STC lighting team takes a meter reading and records the data in our online geodatabase system during a night evaluation in Perdido Key.

 

It is STC’s hope that the certification will help foster and maintain relationships with other lighting professionals in the industry. We are now better equipped to teach lighting professionals about sea turtle friendly lighting so they can better assist us in darkening sea turtle nesting habitat.

 

To learn more about STC’s Beachfront Lighting program, click here!

Lisa Jo Randgaard’s Legacy Grows at STC

Over the last five years, the Randgaard family has raised $100,000 for Sea Turtle Conservancy to honor the memory of their beloved youngest daughter and sister, Lisa, who passed away at the age of 43 on May 2, 2012, from complications of her congenital heart condition.

The family helped fund the renovation of The Lisa Randgaard Building in Tortuguero, Costa Rica, to provide safe, eco-friendly housing and office space at this STC research outpost for staff, scientists, volunteers and other visitors.  

Fundraising by Lisa’s mom, Jenny, and two sisters, Diane and Linda, centered on building The Lisa Jo Randgaard Fund, includes “Lisa’s Fundanas,” custom sea turtle-themed bandanas, and “Flippery When Wet” homemade soap bars.  

When Jenny passed away in October 2016, her daughters knew they gained another angel on their shoulder to guide them in their work.  “In addition to our soap bars, we are going to reissue, after heartwarming demand, a limited run of our ‘Lisa’s Fundanas.’ Helping sea turtles is a great way to honor Lisa and Mom.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To purchase one of “Lisa’s Fundanas” or “Flippery When Wet” soaps, visit www.LoveIntoSustainedAction.com

 

Tips for Sea Turtle Nesting Season May – October

It’s that time of the year again; nesting season is here in the state of Florida! The majority of nesting in Florida occurs between May 1st and October 31st.  About 90% of all sea turtle nesting in the United States takes place on Florida’s beaches, which means it is critical that residents and visitors alike do their part to ensure that sea turtles have a safe and successful nesting season. By reading the tips below, you can do your part to make sure they’re made part of your beach routine!

Loggerhead returns to sea after nesting (Photo Credit: Blair Witherington)

Loggerhead returns to sea after nesting (Photo Credit: Blair Witherington)

Use sea turtle-friendly lights or no lights at all! In order to prevent nesting and hatchling turtles from wandering off track, your beachfront property should use sea turtle friendly lighting. You can also help by closing drapes and blinds, and shield or turn off outdoor lights that are visible on the beach. Sea turtle hatchlings can become easily disoriented by bright lights on the coast from hotels and beachfront properties. By following these steps, you can encourage females to nest and lead hatchlings in the right direction, the ocean!

Tracks from disoriented hatchlings. Their tracks should lead straight to the sea.

Tracks from disoriented hatchlings. Their tracks should lead straight to the sea.

Knock down sandcastles and fill in holes! Although this is every kid’s nightmare, it’s important to knock your sandcastle over and flatten out the sand at the end of the day. Additionally, filling in all holes made in the sand can avoid the entrapment of hatchlings while on their way to the water. Even the nesting mothers can become stuck in these holes when crawling up the beach to nest. Furthermore, remove all beach accessories, such as tents, umbrellas, toys, and chairs. These can prevent obstacles for both the mother and the hatchlings.

An adult loggerhead fell into a large hole on the beach and had to be rescued by Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol

An adult loggerhead fell into a large hole on the beach and had to be rescued by Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol

Avoid the attraction of unwanted pests. Raccoon, foxes, coyotes and other types of animals all have one thing in common: they love our leftovers. Raccoons destroy thousands of sea turtle eggs each year and are one of the greatest causes of sea turtle mortality on Florida’s beaches. Leaving food outside for neighborhood dogs and cats also attracts raccoons. You can help deter these animals from destroying sea turtle eggs by cleaning up food and additional trash after a day at the beach.

Program the phone number for your area’s wildlife stranding hotline into your phone so you’ll be prepared if you happen to encounter a dead, sick, stranded or injured sea turtle. It is also important to report any harassment of sea turtles or disturbance of nests. In Florida, you can call FWC Wildlife Alert Number at 1-888-404-3922 or visit their website. For other states, you can find a list of contact info here.

nesting tape FWC

Don’t interfere with the nesting or hatching process. It’s important to allow hatchlings to crawl to the water on their own. Many scientists believe the journey from nest to water allows them to imprint on their own beach. Picking up hatchlings may interfere with this process. It is also illegal to touch sea turtles under both federal and state laws.

Don’t place beach furniture too close to a marked nest. If possible, place furniture at least 5 feet away. Furniture can mislead turtles during the hatching process and also entrap them. Also make sure to put away your beach furniture at the end of the day as they become a dangerous obstacle for a nesting turtles.

Loggerhead turtle stuck under a chair that was left on the beach. Photo via Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch

Loggerhead turtle stuck under a chair that was left on the beach. Photo via Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch

Don’t use fireworks on the beach. Although this can be tempting with 4th of July right around the corner, think about how the loud noises and bright lights can disturb nesting females. Instead, many local organizations hold inland fireworks displays for your enjoyment. Bonfires on the beach also pose a danger to sea turtles.no fireworks

If you would like to watch a nesting turtle, join an organized sea turtle walk. In Florida and other states where sea turtles nest, turtle watches are conducted by trained and permitted individuals. The goal is to educate people about sea turtles through direct contact, without disturbing the turtles. Click here for more information about registering to join an STC Turtle Walk. 

Photo courtesy Greg Lovett, Palm Beach Post

Photo courtesy Greg Lovett, Palm Beach Post (taken using long-exposure, no flash)

Sea Turtle Grants Program Awards Nearly $350,000 to Research, Conservation, and Education Projects in Florida

The Sea Turtle Grants Program (STGP), funded by the sale of Florida’s Helping Sea Turtles Survive specialty license plate, recently awarded $349,943.06 to 24 different projects benefiting Florida sea turtles as part of the 2018-2019 grant funding cycle.

Each year, the Sea Turtle Grants Program distributes money to coastal county governments, educational and research institutions and nonprofit groups through a competitive application process. The sea turtle specialty license plate is also the primary source of funding for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Marine Turtle Protection Program.

The following organizations received grants for their approved projects for the 2018-2019 cycle:

The sea turtle plate is the number two overall selling specialty tag in Florida, and the number one environmental specialty plate. By purchasing the sea turtle specialty license plate, Floridians are voluntarily funding important programs to save endangered sea turtles and their habitats.

To learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants Program and the “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” specialty license plate, please visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.