If you’ve ever been on a beach in Florida anytime from around May – October, you’ve probably seen signs of sea turtle nesting, such as the yellow stakes marking nests or the actual turtle tracks in the sand. Although Loggerheads and Green are the most common sea turtles on the Gulf beaches, we also see an occasional Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.
While many people were bemoaning the beach closings and safer-at-home orders during the pandemic, according to a recent article in the National Geographic, the lack of people on the beaches here in Florida may have actually helped one of our most popular sea creatures. Unfortunately, this might not have been enough to cancel out the negative consequences of our higher than average hurricane season: the erosion from flooding and high tides can wash away the nests.
Here in Englewood, FL, the Coastal Wildlife Club oversees the volunteers who make up the “Turtle Patrol” on Manasota Key and a small section of Knight Island. These trained volunteers are able to identify the species of sea turtle, locations of nests, and document hatches. We’ve personally been lucky enough to get to know a few of the volunteers and have even been present during a hatching, which was an experience I will never forget. To learn more about sea turtles or how to become a volunteer, check out the Coastal Wildlife Club website or Facebook page.