Florida Businesses Awarded for Being ‘Sea Turtle Friendly’

Date: June, 2002
Contact: Dan Evans
Phone: (352) 373-6441

Caribbean Conservation Corp., the world’s oldest sea turtle research and protection group, partners with local Florida groups to select businesses worthy of the award.

The Caribbean Conservation Corporation worked with turtle groups around Florida to find beachfront hotels, condominiums, restaurants and other businesses that are taking proactive steps to protect endangered sea turtles. With nesting season now underway in Florida, awards are being presented to the most ‘turtle friendly’ establishments in important sea turtle nesting areas.

“These awards provide a great opportunity to recognize coastal businesses for going the extra mile to protect Florida’s sea turtles and their nesting beaches,” said Dan Evans, CCC Education Coordinator. “Hopefully, the awards will motivate other beachfront establishments to review and improve their own efforts to safeguard Florida’s sea turtle and coastal habitats.”

Over 90 percent of all the sea turtle nesting in the United States takes place on Florida beaches. What we do in this state to protect sea turtles affects the global population. With so many people living, working and recreating along Florida’s coastline, groups like CCC are doing their best to raise awareness about simple ways people can help protect these ancient visitors to our beaches.

This is the first year the Sea Turtle Friendly Awards are being presented. Award categories include coastal hotels, rental condos, retail stores, restaurants and local government agencies. Nominations were evaluated based on criteria including efforts to reduce artificial beach lighting during the sea turtle nesting season, protection and general health of the nesting beach, recycling practices, and involvement in sea turtle education Programs.

The Sea Turtle Friendly Awards are part of CCC’s Sea Turtle Habitat Awareness Campaign. The campaign provided coastal businesses with free educational materials about Florida’s sea turtles, their habitats and protection issues. Working with local groups, such as Turtle Time, Inc. in Lee County and Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota County, the campaign is increasing awareness about coastal management issues that affect the survival of sea turtles. For example, artificial lights disorient nesting turtles and their hatchlings. Sea walls and other tactics used to protect homes and businesses from erosion also pose long-term threats to sea turtle survival. The Awareness Campaign this year focused on seven important turtle nesting counties: Collier, Lee and Sarasota on the Gulf coast and Brevard, Indian River, Martin and Volusia on the Atlantic coast. Other counties will be the focus of future Programs.

Funding for the 2002 Sea Turtle Friendly Awards Program was provided through a grant from the Sea Turtle License Plate Grants Program. The grants Program, which is administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, receives its funding directly from sales of the Florida Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate. The non-profit Caribbean Conservation Corporation works throughout the U.S. to protect sea turtles through outreach, advocacy and education. For a list of the businesses receiving “Turtle Friendly” Awards, contact CCC at 1-800-678-7853 or visit 2001/2002 Sea Turtle Friendly Awards.

High quality images can be found in our online Press Room: http://media.conserveturtles.org

The Sea Turtle Conservancy, formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization based in Florida with offices and projects in several other locations. The Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest and most accomplished sea turtle organization in the world. Since its founding in 1959, the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s work has greatly improved the survival outlook for several species of sea turtles. The Sea Turtle Conservancy has as its mission the protection of sea turtles and the habitats upon which they depend. To achieve its mission, the Sea Turtle Conservancy uses research, habitat protection, public education, community outreach, networking and advocacy as its basic tools. These tools are applied in both international and domestic programs focusing on geographic areas that are globally important to sea turtle survival. For more information, visit the STC website atwww.conserveturtles.org or call (800) 678-7853.