Category Archives: Get Involved

Volunteers Plant More than 7,000 Sea Oats to Restore Sea Turtle Nesting Habitat

Volunteers headed to the beach with sea oat seedlings to plant

STC’s fifth annual Sea Turtles Dig the Dune workshop brought together more than 150 volunteers at the Barrier Island Center (BIC) on Saturday, Feb. 7 to plant nearly 7,000 sea oats throughout the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (ACNWR).

The ACNWR stretches 20.5 miles between Melbourne Beach and Wabasso Beach along Florida’s east coast and with recent climate changes, severe weather and sea level rise, erosion is becoming a critical issue for the area.

The dune habitat not only protects our coastal properties, but also provides important nesting locations for the three species of endangered sea turtles found in the ACNWR, including Loggerheads, Greens and Leatherbacks.

A family new to Barrier Island joins the planting

STC gave coastal residents and communities free sea oat seedlings and planting permits during the workshop, which was partially funded by the Florida Sea Turtle license plate. The sea oat’s tall grass can capture the wind-blown sand necessary to build the dunes back up, and its widespread, stable roots will keep the dunes in place for years to come.

After the planting, STC invited everyone to the BIC for an educational presentation by Larry Wood, founder of the Florida Hawksbill Project. Attendees learned about Wood’s recent research on the endangered hawksbill sea turtles that inhabit coral reefs off the coast of south Florida.

Some of STC’s workshop partners and participants shared what they thought of the event this year:

“A GIANT thanks goes out to Sea Turtle Conservancy for sharing sea oat seedlings for our volunteers to plant…thanks again everyone for a job well done!”
Curtis Byrd,
Chairman, Town of Melbourne Beach Environmental Advisory Board

Opus 21 Condo Residents, Cheryl, George, Mary & Sophie prepared to plant


“Thanks, once again, for providing us with sea oats seedlings. I lost no time in getting them planted. Our dune is looking healthy and beautiful as a result of these stewardship workshops you have offered over the last 5 years!”

Carl & Judy Kaiserman
Barrier Island Residents

Melbourne Beach Dune after planting

“We had lots of fun planting the sea oats!! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to do something for our beaches and turtles.”
Glenn, Cheryl, George, Mary & Sophie
Opus 21 Condominium


This year’s workshop planted more seeds than ever before. We look forward to watching our volunteer’s hard work grow into a better future for Florida’s wildlife, and we hope you’ll join us next year.

To see more photos from the event, visit the Barrier Island Center on Facebook.

Helping Sea Turtles in 2015 is as Easy as A-B-C!

As we enter into February, chances are most of us have already broken our New Year resolutions or just given up all together. (For those of you who are still going strong, we commend you!) Instead of making strict “resolutions,” which by definition means, “a firm decision to do or not to do something,” why not try to make a small change every day? Whether you are trying to kick a bad habit or pick up a new hobby, consider incorporating these tips into your life to become a better, environmentally friendly you!

adopt a turtle

Photo by: Ralph Pace

Mental health and happiness are important when making changes so start the New Year off right with a new buddy. Millions of homeless dogs and cats are available for adoption at a rescue near you and can provide unconditional love and companionship. If you’re looking for something with a little less time commitment STC gives you the opportunity to virtually adopt an endangered sea turtle. You can follow the journey of a satellite-tracked turtle or a tagged one in Costa Rica.

Buying for a cause:
Good for the world and your wallet. Purchase items that support the environment and marine life. Many companies partner with nonprofit organizations and make a donation for every transaction. Here are a few online sites that support and donate to Sea Turtle Conservancy.
Amazon Smile is the same as the Amazon you use for online shopping, but also donates 0.5 percent of the price of your eligible purchase to STC.
GoodShop is for all your online shopping needs with part of what you spend automatically donated to STC.

Pura Vida save the sea turtles bracelet pack

Pura Vida Bracelets allows you to accessorize or give the perfect gift with the fashionable Sea Turtle bracelets and 20 percent of sales go to STC.
Loggerhead Apparel offers fun apparel with their sea turtle logo and use promo code STC at checkout to support sea turtle conservation.
• The full list of cause-related partners can be found on the STC online gift shop.

Conscious commuting:
Help reduce the effects of pollution on the ocean and the environment by leaving your car at home and opting to bike, walk, or use public transportation.
• When planning your next vacation do some research to find the most eco-friendly option and think about opting out of that week-long cruise.
• When traveling the waterways be responsible by disposing of trash properly and being aware of marine life around you.
• Follow Coast Guard-approved safe boating guidelines and use vigilance to avoid striking sea turtles and other large marine life.
• In the Cocoa Beach area Sea Turtle Preservation Society distributed “Attention Boaters” cards to inform boaters of special precautions to take in the water when around sea turtles.
• Be sure to stow trash and line when under way. Marine debris that accidentally blows overboard or out of a truck can become ingested by or entangled around marine life.
• Remember to wear polarized sunglasses to better see marine life in your path.

Ditch disposable:

STC reusable bag

STC reusable bag

Trash is everywhere. A shocking 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are in the ocean and while thousands of tons remain at the surface, billions of pieces are left to remain in the deep blue sea. Plastic is often mistaken for food and is eaten by marine life including sea turtles. This trash can create intestinal blockage that can choke, poison and sometimes kill them. A simple thing you can do to minimize this waste is to stop using plastic bags, water bottles and other disposable items and replace them with cute reusable ones.

Ecological Eating:
When shopping or eating out make smart, sustainable food choices and reduce your consumption of meat and seafood. More than 70 percent of the world’s commercial fisheries are overfished for fully exploited. Increase in demand has led to unsustainable fishing practices and massive bycatch. Every year more than 250,000 sea turtles are captured, injured or killed by U.S. fishermen from the accidental bycatch.
• Become educated on the different species of seafood to help reduce over exploitation and choose the most sustainable option.
• Start participating in Meatless Mondays to help reduce your carbon footprint and conserve resources. To make a quarter-pound of hamburger it takes 52.8 gallons of water and 6.7 pounds of feed.
• With worldwide meat consumption on the rise now is the perfect time to join the movement and save the planet.

Sea turtle hatchling finding his Zen  Photo by: Ralph Pace

Fitness Fun:
Getting fit doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Exercise the right way and participate in events that get you moving and benefit the planet along the way.
• Enjoy the sunset by practicing yoga on the beach and after spend some time cleaning the beach area around you.
• If yoga isn’t your thing, look to see if your city hosts walks or runs supporting environmental protection. The city of Indialantic, Florida hosts a Turtle Krawl 5k run/walk in September and all proceeds benefit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. Be sure to look out for registration in April!


Photo by: Karla Munoz

Green gardening:
As spring approaches it’s the perfect time to start gardening and spruce up your lawn while keeping your personal impact on the environment in mind. Here are a few helpful tips.
• Purchase seeds instead of plants, or find a nursery that recycles the plastic packaging around each plant.
• Research what plants and vegetables are native to your area top help reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers that can contaminate our water ways from runoff.
• Use compost and mulch to prevent the growth of weeds and preserve moisture keeping your water usage low.
• Stay away from electric and gas-powered tools. Try using a push-type lawn mower which is better for your soil and the environment and is an added workout as well.
• Participate in Sea Turtles Dig the Dune workshop February 7 at 10 a.m. at the Barrier Island Center to help restore dunes and sea turtle nesting habitat throughout the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. Free sea oats seedlings and planting permits will be given to coastal residents and communities.

Holistic Health:
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t just involve your diet, but includes your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. To optimize your whole health consider learning about the natural ways to achieving good health.
• The Barrier Island Sanctuary hosts fun and educational events including a holistic health talk for interested individuals.
• This short Ted Talk given by Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, provides knowledge in support of changing to a healthy lifestyle.
• Take a step into nature and a step away from your stressful life with a good book. Blue Mind is about the connection with the ocean and water with the quality of human thoughts and happiness.
• On those rough days when you need a little extra motivation just remember these life advice tips our sea turtle friends.

Action Alert! Help ensure the Florida legislature spends Amendment 1 money the right way

UPDATE! Join STC in Tallahassee on February 18, 2015 for a rally to show your support for Amendment 1 and what it means for protecting our treasured natural areas! Florida’s sea turtles need clean water and healthy beaches! Even if you are unable to attend the rally, you can still help by sending your comments to the senate.

Clean Water Rally Website Banner2Learn more here:  

AMENDMENT 1 – Preserves and Parks, NOT Pipes!

Thanks to the support of voters like you, the Water and Land Conservation Amendment passed on Nov. 4, 2014 by an overwhelming 75 percent majority!

Amendment 1 Support

Amendment 1 is our best opportunity to keep drinking water clean, protect our rivers, lakes, and springs, restore natural treasures like the Everglades, and protect our beaches and shores—without any increase in new taxes.  It is the largest state conservation funding measure in the history of the United States.

Photo by Alachua Conservation Trust

Photo by Alachua Conservation Trust

Amendment 1 calls for renewed state spending on water and land conservation including restoring and protecting water resources, preserving critical habitat, providing access to public lands and state parks, and keeping working lands, farms and forests as part of Florida’s rural landscapes. That means a better future for Florida, its citizens, and for Florida’s ecosystems and the wildlife that depend on them such as sea turtles.

Protecting and cleaning our rivers, springs and estuaries will result in healthier marine environments for sea turtles. Protecting beaches and adding to beachfront public parks through acquisition will improve nesting habitat.

So now what?

It’s now up to you, the voters, to tell the Florida legislature to implement Amendment 1 as the people intended; for water and land conservation. By speaking directly to our elected officials, we can help ensure that these funds are put toward the protection of Florida’s natural resources.

The Florida Senate is now seeking public input on how best to allocate the money approved through Amendment 1. You can click here to submit your comments and tell your elected officials how and why these funds should be used as they were intended. You can also click here to find out who your State Representative or Senator is. Below are some talking points to assist you:


  • Voters approved Amendment 1 by an overwhelming 75%.

  • The amendment language is clear and was drawn from existing statutes governing conservation.
  • It provides a straightforward set of priorities for spending existing documentary stamp taxes on water and land conservation, by specifically invoking statutory language relating to existing conservation programs like Florida Forever, Florida Communities Trust, and Everglades Restoration.
  • Throughout all stages of the campaign to pass Amendment 1, the Sponsor Committee’s voter education and outreach emphasized the need for Amendment 1 to renew funding to these existing programs.

    vote yes 3

    Photo by Florida’s Water Land Legacy

  • Protecting conservation lands is essential to protecting our water resources. We must protect our waters at the source.
  • Development is on the rise, and Amendment 1 is intended to strike the right balance between development and conservation. We must invest in our undeveloped natural areas before they are gone and should avoid allocating Amendment 1 funds towards projects that would promote imprudent development.
  • In addition to preserving natural areas that protect our water supply, Amendment 1 is also intended to fund ecosystem restoration projects.

  • Other, existing non-Amendment 1 sources of funding (such as the Clean Water State Revolving Fund) are available and should be utilized to address the significant and costly waste water infrastructure and water supply issues facing our state.
  • While waste water and water supply infrastructure are important, there are other sources of funding that would be more appropriate to meet those needs than Amendment 1. The voters did not intend for Amendment 1 funds to be used on large waste water infrastructure projects that are the responsibility of local governments.

  • Amendment 1 does not take away from other vital programs like housing and transportation, which are also partly funded through Documentary Stamps.
  • Documentary stamp tax revenues are projected to increase, so the overall “pie” available for conservation, housing, and transportation is growing.
  • Amendment 1 allocates less than 1% of the state’s total budget to fund existing conservation programs.
Winner 1

Photo by Courtney Huisman

Amendment 1 puts a lot at stake for Florida’s land, water, natural resources and wildlife. If we could join forces with the same passion we used to pass Amendment 1, we can help provide a better, more prosperous future for all of us.

To provide comments to the state senate committee about the Water and Land Conservation Amendment, visit

To learn more about Amendment 1 and where we go from here visit The Florida Water & Land Legacy website at Florida’s Water and Land Legacy is the sponsoring committee of Amendment 1, the Water and Land Conservation Amendment, which was approved by more than 4.2 million voters in the November 2014 election. It represents a coalition of more than 400 organizations (including the Sea turtle Conservancy) and businesses and more than 50,000 citizens from across the state.

Fifth Annual “Sea Turtles Dig the Dune” Workshop – Feb. 7th

Volunteers plant sea oats at the ACNWR during the 2014 workshop

Volunteers plant sea oats at the ACNWR during the 2014 workshop

Join STC on Saturday, February 7 at 10 a.m. at the Barrier Island Center (BIC) for a morning of planting sea oats throughout the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (ACNWR) as part of our Annual Sea Turtles Dig the Dune Workshop!

The ACNWR is one of the most important nesting beaches in the world and stretches across 20.5 miles between Melbourne Beach and Wabasso Beach along Florida’s east coast.

Coastal residents and communities will be given free sea oat seedlings and planting permits.

Together we can help to restore the dunes and sea turtle nesting habitat of the ACNWR!

After a morning of plantings everyone is invited to return to the BIC, which is located in the heart of the ACNWR, at noon. Long time sea turtle biologist Larry Wood, leader of the Florida Hawksbill Project, will then give a presentation.

Photo by Karla Munoz

Photo by Karla Munoz

Wood will discuss his team’s recent studies documenting the abundance, origins and activities of the hawksbill sea turtles that inhabit coral reefs off south Florida’s coast. Refreshments will be served.

At last year’s workshop, more than 100 volunteers joined forces to plant more than 5,000 sea oats!

Enrollment in the FREE workshop is limited, so call 321-723-3556 to make your reservation by Friday, January 30.


      This workshop was partially funded by the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate.

Students from New Zealand Share Their Turtle Project

The children of Room 14, Oratia District Primary School, in West Auckland, New Zealand, with the help of their teacher Cheryl Hartnell, recently learned about sea turtles and the threats they face. They crafted turtle shells as a class and each child took a scute to write a message and create a collage about dangers to turtles. This was based on a Sea Turtle Conservancy idea!

The students showing off their great sea turtle work

The students showing off their great sea turtle work

A close-up of one of their turtle shells

A close-up of one of their turtle shells

"Save the turtles from the rubbish."

“Save the turtles from the rubbish.”

"Sea turtles need space to lay their eggs."

“Sea turtles need space to lay their eggs.”

Another close-up of the students' turtle shell

Another close-up of the students’ turtle shell

We LOVE when you share your sea turtle projects with us! For a chance to be featured on STC’s blog, please submit photos and stories to Lexie at

For more ideas, check out STC’s Kids Corner page online for sample activities, quizzes, artwork and more! Keep up the great work, turtle fans!

Support STC this #GivingTuesday on December 2nd!

GT big redKnocking out holiday shopping early is at the top of everyone’s wish lists, but what about giving back? First there was Black Friday, and then came Cyber Monday, but the growing trend this holiday season is #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday is a campaign to create an international day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support non-profit organizations.

Taking place on December 2, 2014 (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the US), #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of social media to inspire holiday shoppers to give to organizations in need before giving to each other. Click here to find out more about #GivingTuesday.

The campaign has launched a movement that has engaged well over 10,000 individuals, cities, and organizations worldwide, and STC is proud to be included. Last year was the first year that STC participated in #GivingTuesday and we raised almost $5,000 for sea turtle conservation efforts!


STC’s station in Tortuguero

This year, STC invites you to donate to help make improvements to our station in Tortuguero, Costa Rica, the most important nesting location for green turtles in the Western Hemisphere. Our team has been conducting research and conservation programs there for more than 55 years.

This building is the only original building remaining onsite and has been facing the humid, salty climate of Tortuguero for 20 years. Immediate repairs to the station are needed to keep our researchers and volunteers safe and dry while they monitor and protect this critical nesting beach.

Click here to watch a video about STC’s #GivingTuesday goal this year.

STC staff and Research Assistants celebrate a successful turtle release in Tortuguero

STC staff and Research Assistants celebrate a successful turtle release in Tortuguero

For every dollar raised on December 2nd, 2014, STC’s Board of Directors has generously offered to match up to $15,000. Help turn $15,000 into $30,000 for the research, education, advocacy and protection of sea turtles!

Donations can be made on STC’s website on December 2nd to count towards the goal and the matching gift. Click here to make a donation!

Want more ways to double or even triple your impact? See if your company will match your donation by using! Just click this link and search for your company. You’ll find information on whether a match is provided and what the next step is. Company matching gifts are an easy, free way to make your donation to Sea Turtle Conservancy go even further.

Along with STC’s #GivingTuesday goal, we’re encouraging our supporters to make their voices heard on social media.

Photo by Jewell DeMarco

Photo by Jewell DeMarco

Let STC know what you’re doing on #GivingTuesday by sharing your story on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #unselfie, and don’t forget to tag us. Click to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Giving back has the power to bring us all together regardless of locations, beliefs or cultures. Join forces with the rest of the world this holiday season and let’s make a difference!

Will your gift keep on giving? Help sea turtles while you shop this holiday season

Shorter days, crisp air and endless amounts of food can only mean one thing- the holidays are upon us. We’ve all received our fair share of gift cards and ugly sweaters, so why not make this year’s gift exchange more meaningful for everyone?

Celebrate this holiday season by inspiring your friends and family to give back to the world we live in. Here are some ways to both give the perfect gift and help support sea turtle research and conservation:

2015 CalendarSTC’s 2015 Sea Turtle Scenes Calendar

Check out STC’s favorite sea turtles in action. Made from sturdy, recycled paper, the calendar is a great way to enjoy sea turtle images all year long. It also includes key sea turtle dates and events to keep you updated and involved.

Click here to purchase a 2015 sea turtle calendar.

Adopt a sea turtle

Give a symbolic adoption of an endangered sea turtle and support STC’s programs focusing on research, education, advocacy and the protection of important habitats. They’ll receive a personalized adoption certificate, a one-year subscription to STC’s membership publication and tons of STC swag.

Click here to adopt an endangered sea turtle.

STC’s Online Gift Shop

The gift shop has options for everyone on your list. Shop our limited-edition collector ornaments, apparel, jewelry, sea turtle specialty items and more!

Click here to shop STC’s online store.

And don’t forget about our Cause-Related Partners:

Pura Vida Bracelets

Style meets sustainability with trendy, handmade bracelets from Pura Vida.

STC receives 20% of the sales from the Save the Sea Turtle bracelets, which is great for everyone! There are three different styles of bracelet to choose from, including the original, the platinum, and the braided.

Since partnering with Pura Vida in 2013, STC has received over $10,000 in donations! Click here to shop the Pura Vida Save the Sea Turtle collection.


Sea turtle charms from Altruette are available in 100% recycled sterling silver plated with 14k gold or 100% sterling silver. 50% of the net profits from the sea turtle charm are donated directly to STC.

Click here to shop the Altruette sea turtle collection.


Looking to send a creative greeting card? Check out RuniArt.

Use promotional code TurtleSupport when you check out and RuniArt will donate $1 to STC for every card you purchase.

Click here to shop RuniArt cards.


Save Vanishing Species Stamp

Philatelic Product ImageAfter ordering your holiday greeting cards from RuniArt, make sure you have a book of these stamps on hand, which benefit the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund and the Multinational Species Conservation Fund.

To date, money raised from this stamp has provided more than 1,800 grants for endangered species, including marine turtles.

You can pick them up at your local post office or order them online. Click here to purchase a book of Save Vanishing Species Stamps.

Flippery When Wet Soaps

soapWhen Lisa Jo Randgaard passed away from complications of her chronic illness at age 43, the Randgaard family chose to honor her passion for sea turtle conservation and established The Lisa Jo Randgaard Fund at STC.

This year, the Randgaard family’s fundraising project is called “Flippery When Wet” soaps. Available in Lemongrass, Rosemary-Mint, and Lavender-Litsea, these handmade soaps are made with only all natural ingredients.

After donating a suggested $35 to STC, three of the handmade soap bars will be sent to you or the person of your choice. 100 percent of all donations go to The Lisa Jo Randgaard Fund at Sea Turtle Conservancy, which has raised over $1,300 from this project so far! Click here to place an order for Flippery When Wet soaps.

Loggerhead Apparelwomens_blue_circle_tee loggerhead

Choose from a wide range of t-shirts, accessories and more to sport your love for sea turtles. Use promotional code STC when checking out and Loggerhead Apparel will donate 10 percent back to STC.

Free shipping is offered on orders over $50. Click here to purchase Loggerhead Apparel merchandise.

Reller Gold

turtle charmmmCheck out the STC collection of turtle beads, charms and fine jewelry created by Reller Gold.

All of the beads are sterling silver and compatible with popular bead bracelets, including Pandora®, Troll® and Chamilia®. Reller Gold donates a portion of sales to STC with every sea turtle item purchased.

Click here to shop Reller Gold’s STC collection.


Lizard Key DesignsLizard Key Designs

A stained glass fan pull could be the perfect accessory for anyone’s home. Lizard Key Designs donates 10 percent of sales from the sea turtle fan pull directly back to STC.

Click here to shop the sea turtle fan pulls from Lizard Key Designs.

Last but not least, shop for a wide range of gifts while giving back through these online shopping platforms:


smileAmazonSmile is the same Amazon site that millions of people use every day- including the same products, prices and service.

The big difference is that AmazonSmile donates 0.5 percent of the price of your eligible purchases to a charitable organization of your choice.

Make a free account and select STC as your cause to get started. Over $1,000 have been donated to STC since first partnering with AmazonSmile in 2013!

Click here to start shopping with AmazonSmile.


Create a free account with Goodshop and select STC as the cause you’re supporting.

Through the site you can online shop from more than 5,000 stores like Old Navy, Target and Best Buy, and earn donations for STC with every purchase. Not to mention, there’s often exclusive deals and coupons available when you shop through the site.

Click here to start shopping with Goodshop.

Now we can all turn the most wonderful time of the year into the most charitable time of the year with the click of a button. Leave a lasting impression on your friends, family and the world we live in by shopping these gift options this holiday season.

Tour de Turtles 2014: And the Winner is….


TdT Marathon Winner Panama Jack

TdT Marathon Winner Panama Jack

There was no shortage of excitement in this year’s Tour de Turtles (TdT) marathon! This was the seventh consecutive year that Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) followed the migration of 11 sea turtles as part of the TdT and we are continually amazed by the unending support and enthusiasm shown for our turtle “competitors!”

Melba2014-07-27 061-XLThe 2014 TdT included live turtle releases in Panama, Costa Rica, Nevis and Florida. This year was the first time that a rehabilitated loggerhead turtle competed in the TdT. ‘Pine Tyme‘, an 80 pound sub-adult loggerhead, was spotted struggling on the surface unable to dive and was brought to The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL for treatment. She was released from Sombrero Beach, The Florida Keys and marked STC’s first ever release in the Florida Keys.

Before releasing each turtle, STC scientists attached a satellite transmitter to their shell using turtle-safe epoxy or fiberglass resin. The transmitters allowed STC and the public to track the turtles as they migrated from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds. After three months of friendly competition, we have our winners, along with “updates from the field” from the turtle competitors!

TDT Leaderboard FINAL

Distance Race:
WINNER – Panama Jack, 3936 km, Team Turtle & Hughes, Inc.
2nd – Calypso Blue III, 2685 km, Team Atlantis Resort
3rd – Esperanza, 1679 km, Team Treadright & Contiki Holidays
4th – Estrella, 1549 km, Team Sea Turtle Conservancy
5th – Elsa, 1445 km Team Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund
6th – Melba, 1226 km, Team Turtle Tag
7th – Shelley, 761 km Team Ripley’s Aquariums
8th – Pine Tyme, 684 km Team Turtle Hospital
9th – Anna, 672 km, Team Disney’s Vero Beach Resort & Disney’s Animal Programs
10th – Coco, 593 km & 
11th – Sugar, 517 km, both Team Four Seasons Resort Nevis

People's Choice WINNER


People’s Choice Award: 

WINNER – Calypso Blue III
2nd – Shelley
3rd – (TIE) Esperanza and Panama Jack
5th – Pine Tyme
6th – Elsa
7th – Coco
8th – Estrella
9th – Anna


Updates from our competitors:

Species: Leatherback
Release site: Punta Rincon Beach, Panama
Sponsor: Turtle & Hughes, Inc.
Distance traveled: 3936 km.
Update from the Field: Hey everyone, Panama Jack here! Good golly, I just can’t believe I won the Tour de Turtles! I was just splishing and splashing all over the place trying to spread the word about the importance of sea turtle friendly lighting. After I left Punta Rincon Beach in Panama, I made my way over to Mexico, where I heard there were lots of yummy jellyfish for me to snack on! As you can see, I’m a pretty big girl so it’s important that I eat lots and lots of jellyfish to maintain all this energy! Now that the marathon is over, I think I’ll just hang out in the Gulf of Mexico enjoying a nice, belly-filling buffet! Thanks for cheering me on!

Species: Leatherback
Release site: Soropta Beach, Panama
Sponsor: Atlantis
Distance traveled: 2685 km.
Update from the field: Calypso Blue III checking in! Phew, I’ve already swam over a thousand miles but I’m not stopping anytime soon! I spent most of the marathon cruising through the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. I even managed to stop by Bourbon Street in New Orleans to have some fun! Throughout my travels, I’ve been telling all my marine friends about how excited I am to have my migration tracked and swim for the cause of commercial trawl fisheries. Louisiana is the largest producer of shrimp in the U.S. which means there are tons of shrimp nets in this very area. Unfortunately, Louisiana hasn’t fully enforced the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) on their nets. I had to get stern with a couple of fishermen but quickly befriended some that agreed to compromise with me! I think I’m going to head out of the area now just to be safe… Thanks to my friends at Atlantis for always having my shell!

Species: Green
Release site: Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Sponsor: Contiki Holidays & TreadRight Foundation
Cause: Egg Harvest for Consumption
Distance Traveled: 1679 km.
Update from the Field: Hola, mis amigos! Esperanza’s back to check in with my loyal fans and give a shout out to my sponsors at Contiki and TreadRight Foundation. Without their help and the support of my fans, there’s no way I would’ve found the speed to swim all the way up the ranks from 7th place to 3rd place! Afterall, don’t forget that esperanza is Spanish for hope and – against all odds -I made it onto the winners’ podium! Even though I had quite the rough start to the race with a poacher digging up my nest and stealing my eggs, my friends at STC were able to save the day and rebury my precious eggs, which just hatched in September! Thanks to everyone who cheered me on and helped raise support for the many threats my species face, especially poaching. I couldn’t have done it without you! Adios!

Species: Hawksbill
Release site: Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Sponsor: Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC)
Distance Traveled: 1549 km.
Update from the Field: Greetings, humans. Estrella here. According to my calculations, I did not swim far enough to qualify for the Tour de Turtles winner podium. Nonetheless, it’s been quite the journey! Throughout my travels, I’ve been collecting research and data off the coast of Nicaragua and what I’ve found was quite peculiar… The number of turtles that I encountered in the area was very limited. These findings may be due to the fact that it is actually legal in parts of Nicaragua to capture and consume turtles as they’re apart of the natives’ diet. Raising awareness about such issues and enforcing policies will hopefully help get my fellow turtles (and me!) off the endangered species list. Well, I’m going to kick it into high gear now and try to swim past Nicaragua… I certainly wouldn’t want to end up as someone’s dinner!

5TH PLACE – ELSAElsa-Turtle2014(15)
Release site: Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
Sponsor: Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund
Distance Traveled: 1445 km.
Update from the Field: Hello there peasants! Yes, I am Elsa, named after the queen from Disney’s Frozen. I’m here to report back to my original kingdom at Disney’s Vero Beach to discuss some of the royal duties I’ve partaken in since I left my sand castle in July. My duties took me from Vero Beach to Key Largo to Cuba, and I recycled and picked up trash and other marine debris along the way. It’s only right that the Queen pays her respects to the ocean. Naturally, I ran into some issues when trying to eat dinner the other night and mistook a plastic grocery bag for a delicious jellyfish. This is a situation that could be avoided by recycling plastics and using reusable bags. Wish me luck, I’m off to conquer my next kingdom… The Bahamas!

6TH PLACE – MELBAMelba2014-07-27 064-XL
Species: Loggerhead
Release site: Melbourne Beach, FL
Sponsor: FL Sea Turtle License Plate
Distance Traveled: 1226 km.
Update from the Field: Aloha dudes and dudettes! Melba here. Because of the gnarly waves I tried to catch while swimming, I accidentally moved all the way down from 3rd place to 6th place… But the journey was absolutely tubular! I met some fellow surfer chicks along the way and took the opportunity to teach them about a totally important cause—water quality, dude! They promised me they would work together to try and prevent oil spills and urban run-off caused by fertilizers and other chemicals so that we can safely enjoy the stellar surf for years to come! But I’m off to celebrate my Tour de Turtles success with some chill loggerhead ladies… I might even buy myself one of those rad sea turtle license plates for my carapace! Catch ya on the flip side dudes!

7TH PLACE – SHELLEYShelley2014-07-27 043-XL
Species: Loggerhead
Release site: Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge
Sponsor: Ripley’s Aquariums
Distance Traveled: 761 km.
Update from the Field: Hello darlings! You all know me as Shelley, the turtle with levels of glamour that Vogue couldn’t even handle. I won’t lie, being without my glam squad and entourage these past few months was rough but I knew my migration was raising awareness about the issue of commercial longline fisheries, and that is important. I think of the ocean as my runway and plan to continue swimming through it with grace and poise. How can I do that if I have to worry about being caught up in longline fishing? Luckily, I didn’t come across any during my travels, probably because my fabulous sponsors at Ripley’s Aquariums have been cheering me on. Even though I didn’t win the race, I’m hoping there is still a chance at a tiara. Ciao, bellas!

8TH PLACE – PINE TYMEPine Tyme TdT page
Species: Loggerhead
Release site: Marathon, Florida Keys
Sponsor: The Turtle Hospital
Distance Traveled: 684 km.
Update from the Field: For a previously injured turtle, I’ve come a long way! Mostly thanks to my great friends at The Turtle Hospital. After gaining my strength back, I traveled over 400 miles from Marathon, Florida to my current location right outside the Dry Tortugas National Park. This national park is about 70 miles off the coast of Key West and was established to protect the island and marine ecosystems. I had to duck out of the way of several speeding boats along the way so now I’m just trying to steer clear of the ferries touring the place. As a rehabilitated turtle who was also the last to enter the race, I knew I couldn’t afford another setback like a boat strike so now I’m just trying to find a nice, calm place to feed. I honestly can’t even believe I made it this far when just several months ago I was gassy and floating bottom up at The Turtle Hospital! Thanks to everyone who helped cheer me on during the marathon!

Species: Loggerhead
Release site: Disney Vero Beach Resort (DVBR)
Sponsor: Disney Animal Programs & DVBR
Distance Traveled: 672 km.
Update from the Field: Hi friends, Anna here! I successfully made my way all the way down the Florida coastline and decided to spend some time in Florida Keys. Everything during the marathon went quite swimmingly, except for this one huge storm that got me a little off track last month. I ended up along the shores of Miami, which was a very interesting place indeed. One thing I noticed is that their beachfront hotels and clubs had so many bright lights on, you could probably see them from space! I knew better and wasn’t distracted by their glow but let’s just hope my friends don’t end up drawn towards the lights when they come up to nest! After my little visit to South Beach, I got worn out from signing autographs for all my Frozen fans and set off towards Key West to relax where I plan to stay. Check back with me soon!

Species: Hawksbill
Release Site: Pinney’s Beach, Nevis
Sponsor: Four Seasons – Nevis
Distance Traveled: 593 km.
Update from the Field: Oh, hello there. I didn’t realize this interview was going to be published. I don’t really do well with large groups. Sorry, erm… How about a little joke to break the ice? So, um, I’m on my way to St. Kitts from Nevis and I come across what I thought were some fellow hawksbills. I’m shy enough as it is so I really had to work up the nerve to approach these guys. I try to make conversation, which is rare for me, and I’m getting no reply. I start to get more nervous as their silence lengthens. Was it something I said? Do I have a piece of sponge in my teeth? Finally, I realize I’d been talking to floating coconuts the whole time… That embarrassing encounter certainly did nothing to help me get over my social anxieties. I was also hoping for a confidence boost by winning the Tour de Turtles race, but then I just got so nervous and I decided to stay close to home where I’m most comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with last place, especially since I know the great people at Four Seasons Nevis will always cheer for me, no matter what!

Species: Hawksbill
Release site: Pinney’s Beach, Nevis
Sponsor: Four Seasons – Nevis
Distance Traveled: 517 km.
Update from the Field: Hi friends! My name is Sugar and I’m the sweetest hawksbill you’ll ever meet! During the Tour de Turtles, I got some slack from a few mean turtles about my slow pace but I couldn’t help that I enjoyed the beautiful waters of the Caribbean so much! Who said there’s anything wrong about being on island time? The water near St. Kitts is especially warm, I just hope it’s not due to climate change! I promise to do some investigating while I’m here and raise awareness about this potential threat. Now excuse me while I go enjoy a deliciously sweet drink with my friends at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis to celebrate the end of Tour de Turtles!


Sea Turtle Conservancy would like to give a big THANK YOU to all of our great turtle sponsors for this year’s Tour de Turtles — Four Seasons Resort, NevisDisney’s Animal ProgramsDisney’s Worldwide Conservation FundDisney’s Vero Beach ResortTurtle & Hughes, Inc.Atlantis ResortRipley’s AquariumsContiki HolidaysThe TreadRight FoundationThe Turtle Hospital — and Florida’s Sea Turtle License Plate.


Sea Turtle Calendar Contest Winners!

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) would like to give a special congratulations to the winners of our 2015 Sea Turtle Scenes Calendar Contest! This year we received a record-breaking amount of entries and all the photos were truly phenomenal. Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter!

The winning photographs will be featured in STC’s 2015 Sea Turtle Scenes Calendar, which will be available online in our gift shop in November—just in time for the holidays! Thank you to all of our participants who made this year’s selection exciting and especially difficult. If you missed out on this one, look out for the 2016 photography contest next summer!

Here are the winners:

By Courtney Huisman
Leatherback hatchlings, Bocas del Toro, Panama
Winner 1


By Hector Chenge
Kemp’s Ridley nesting , Rancho Nuevo, Mexico


By Ben Hicks
Loggerhead hatchling in South Florida


By Karla Morales
Leatherback nesting at sunrise, El Unico Beach, Dorado, Puerto Rico


By Jun Lao
Green sea turtle and soft corals, Apo Island


By Cristian Ramirez Gallego
Leatherback hatchling, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico


By Ben Hicks
Green Sea Turtle, Boca Raton, Florida


By Jason Spitz
Hawksbill, Roatan, Honduras


By Karla G. Barrientos-Munoz
Hawksbill nesting, Mona Island, Puerto Rico


By Jasmine Burgan
Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Heron Island, Australia


By Steven Anderson
Hawksbill sea turtle, West End, Grand Bahamas


By Ulisse Donnini
Green sea turtle hatchling, Meru Betiri National Park, Indonesia


By Osha Gray Davidson
Green sea turtle, Heron Island, Australia

The “Save Vanishing Species” Stamp Is Back!

Tiger Stamp

UPDATE: The Save Vanishing Species Stamp is now available for purchase online and in most US Post Offices! Click here to purchase your stamps now and support the Multinational Species Conservation Fund!


Great news! The Save Vanishing Species wildlife conservation stamp will soon be available for purchase again! In 2010, the U.S. Congress authorized a Semipostal stamp for two years to raise money for the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund and the Multinational Species Conservation Fund (MSCF) for African and Asian elephants, tigers, rhinos, and great apes. Known as the wildlife conservation stamp, it depicted the image of an Amur tiger cub.

The stamp’s ultimate goal was to generate public awareness and financial support for critically important conversation efforts on behalf of endangered species worldwide, including marine turtles.

On September 20, 2011, the stamp was officially launched for public purchase at an unveiling event held at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington DC.

Proceeds from the Save Vanishing Species stamp directly benefit the Multinational Species Fund, which has provided more than 1,800 grants for endangered species, including marine turtles, over many years.

Hawksbill Photo by Mel Moncrieff

Hawksbill Photo by Mel Moncrieff

Like the famous Breast Cancer Research Semipostal stamp, the Save Vanishing Species stamp was sold at the premium cost of 55 cents, with 9 cents from each stamp purchased supporting wildlife conservation. From September 20, 2011, to December 31, 2013, stamp sales raised $2,567,000 for the conservation of all MSCF species. Unfortunately, the wildlife stamp was not marketed particularly well and wasn’t available in many post offices.  It could be purchased online, but only one-quarter of the stock was sold. When the Stamp’s two-year authorization ended in 2013, there were still millions of unsold Save Vanishing Species stamps in stock!

Now the wildlife stamp has been given a second chance, thanks to the advocacy of Sea Turtle Conservancy and the other Multinational Species Coalition members, along with the support of Senators Rob Portman (OH) and Tom Udall (NM) and Congressman Michael Grimm (NY).  Together, we were able to prevent the planned destruction of the 74 Million unsold tiger stamps, and new legislation has breathed life into the Vanishing Species Stamp.  On September 8, a bill reauthorizing the Save Vanishing Species Stamp for another four years was passed by the House of Representatives (it had passed earlier in the Senate), which sent the measure to President Obama’s desk for certain signature.  Colin Sheldon at Wildlife Conservation Society and Will Gartshore at World Wildlife Fund deserve our gratitude for their leadership of the Multinational Species Coalition and their persistence in making the stamp a reality once again.

STC will make another announcement when the stamps are available for purchase. Once they go on sale again, please buy the wildlife conservation stamps online or at your post office and spread the word to your friends! Help us Stamp Out Extinction!

To learn more about the Save Vanishing Species stamp, visit

Red Tide Bloom Could Affect Florida Sea Turtles

Many Floridians work tirelessly to protect sea turtles from the many threats they face on and off the nesting beach. However, a recent coastal update shows that these majestic creatures are in danger from a phenomenon mostly beyond our control: red tide.

Satellite images from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission show a patchy area of red tide recently spotted in the northeast Gulf of Mexico. Red tide is a sudden increase in algae population, which often results in the sickness and death of marine life in the affected area.

Photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

According to an article by the Associated Press, this specific algal bloom stretches 100 miles from St. Petersburg to Florida’s Big Bend, where the peninsula ends and the Panhandle begins. The affected area starts a few miles off the cost and is approximately 60 miles wide.

STC is no stranger to the negative impact of red tide. Last year, STC had a rehabilitated turtle named Tampa Red participate in Tour de Turtles. Sponsored by the Tampa Bay Consortium and the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Red was injured by red tide in the Gulf of Mexico.

Loggerhead Melba was recently spotted in the area of the red tide bloom.

STC is keeping a close watch on current Tour de Turtles competitors that have been spotted in the affected area. Loggerhead sea turtle Melba, now in fifth place, has been spending a lot of time off the coast of Cedar Key in the heart of the bloom.

“We should watch this closely to see if the marine animal rehabilitation facilities on the Gulf Coast of Florida begin to see a surge in strandings,” said David Godfrey, STC executive director. “There is nothing that I know of that can be done to lessen the impacts of red tide, but we could be ready with some emergency grants.”

The Sea Turtle Grant Program, which is administered by STC, has helped support facilities that have taken in sea turtles impacted by red tide in the past.

The program gave Mote Marine Laboratory a grant of over $22,000 to investigate sea turtles stranded by red tide in central west Florida in 2005.  Results of that work showed that a neurotoxin in the algae called brevetoxin appeared to be the primary cause behind the strandings of sea turtles that washed up on beaches in the area.

Photo courtesy of CTV News

The red tide bloom currently spotted off the coast of Florida stretches 100 miles. Photo courtesy of CTV News.

After expanding on that research, scientists now understand the effect of red tide on sea turtles and other marine wildlife is even more alarming.

Mote and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida teamed up during the 2012 and 2013 red tides in and around Pine Island Sound, along Florida’s southwest Gulf coast. The research aimed to understand the effects of red tide on Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, a critically endangered species.

According to an article by, the study is the first of its kind to look at the effects of brevetoxin in living and free-swimming turtles.

Kemp's Ridley turtles are the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world

Kemp’s Ridley turtles are the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world

Blood tests were run on nine Kemp’s ridley turtles, and the results showed high levels of brevetoxin as well as a protein called alpha-globulin. Increased alpha globulin is a sign of inflammation, which means these turtles may seem healthy on the outside, but there’s something serious going on inside.

Mote’s Justin Perrault, the study’s principal investigator, told news-press that Kemp’s ridley turtles are more susceptible to this toxin than other species of marine life. The toxin is absorbed and held in the tissue of filter-feeders such as tunicates, which are a staple in the diet of a Kemp’s ridley turtle.

More information is needed on the impact of brevetoxin, how long it can stay in the turtle’s system and whether it can cause long-term side effects. Likewise, Perrault said the team is looking at how this toxin can affect the reproduction process and already fragile hatchlings.

The turtles were also tracked via satellite during the study. Data showed that the sea turtles seemed to sense the red tide’s presence and actually avoided affected areas. Perrault said that the next step will be to determine how the turtles detect the toxin.

Photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Fish are easily affected by red tide blooms, which results in mass deaths. Photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Red tide is negatively impacting many species of marine wildlife in Florida. According to the FWC, fish are most easily affected by red ride because their gills are directly exposed to the brevetoxin. Manatees and dolphins also feed on marine species that easily absorb the toxin, which in-turn exposes them to its harmful effects.

While the causes of red tide are not clearly understood, research is being done to develop a prediction model based on ocean currents, according to the Associated Press article.  University of South Florida ocean scientist Robert Weisberg is among a team of researchers working to develop a warning system, which will track the movement of nutrients that red tide needs to thrive. The article also said that the president is asking Congress for a $6 million increase for research in red tide prediction in the 2015 budget.

leatherback swimmingIn the meantime, you can help minimize other environmental dangers to marine wildlife by recycling plastic bags and reducing other sources of marine pollution. We depend on the health of Florida’s marine ecosystem just as the species that inhabit it do. Harming sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and fish also also impacts the overall marine environment and people that rely on these marine resources for food, recreation and other ecosystem services.

If you think a sea turtle has been affected or stranded by red tide, call the FWC’s 24-hour Wildlife Alert Number at 888-404-3922.

To subscribe to FWC’s Red Tide Alert Emails, visit 

Get Involved for International Coastal Cleanup Day Sept. 20th!

International Coastal Cleanup picHelp us turn the tide on trash! This Saturday, September 20, join us for the world’s largest volunteer effort on behalf of our ocean by participating in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day! This is an international event, and there are many ways you can get involved locally. If you live near a coastal community, click here to see what’s going on in your town–

Even if there is not an official organized event near you, you can still play your part in helping to clean up our planet. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this weekend, take a trash bag out with you and pick up litter or recyclables that you find. Click here to find all the tools you need to organize a cleanup on your own–


Last year, nearly 650,000 people participated in the 2013 Cleanup, with events held in 44 states and in more than 90 countries and locations around the globe.

If you plan on participating in any capacity, make sure you sign-up here and take the pledge so Ocean Conservancy can keep track of the data.

If you’re a diver, you can also sign-up for any of the Dive Against Debris events happening across the state of Florida. Click here for more info or check out host Tampa Bay Green Consortium’s website. 

Marine debris is especially a problem in Florida and affects human health and safety, endangers our marine wildlife and costs Florida millions in wasted resources and lost revenue each year. One of the biggest impacts to marine debris in Florida is the impact to our sea turtles, one of our oldest creatures on Earth.  These beautiful marine creatures are very vulnerable to plastics and other marine debris. They commonly swallow plastic bags, mistaking them for jellyfish.  They are often found off the Florida coasts entangled in discarded nets and fishing lines, and are frequently found with ingested fish hooks. Florida is a large nesting ground for sea turtles and hatchlings are also affected by marine debris. When hatchlings move towards the water, physical objects like trash and marine debris, endangering their lives, often obstruct them.

A juvenile turtle has netting removed from its throat.

A juvenile turtle has netting removed from its throat.

We need your help to solve this problem. For nearly three decades, volunteers with Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup® have picked up everything imaginable along the world’s shorelines: cigarette butts, food wrappers, abandoned fishing gear and even automobiles and kitchen appliances.

Some Florida cleanup events taking place from 9am – 12pm on Saturday, September 20:

Cape Coral:

  • Horton Park located at 2600 SE 26th Place, Cape Coral, FL33904.

Deerfield Beach:

  • Deerfield Beach. Take Hillsboro Boulevard to A1A and turn right (south). Turn left on S.E. 1st Street and park across the street from the Fire Station. Sign in and pick up a parking pass (limited number available) at the chickee hut.
  • Deerfield Island Park. Take Hillsboro Boulevard to Riverview Rd. and turn left (north). Volunteers can particpate either on shore or by kayak/canoe, but must bring their own watercraft. A free shuttle to the Park is available for those wanting to cleanup the shoreline and will run from 9 am until 4 pm.

Ft. Lauderdale:

  • Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Sign in at El Prada Park, approximately two blocks north of the pier.
  • Fort Lauderdale South Beach Park. Sign is located under the Australian Pine trees. Parking passes are pending.

 Ft. Myers:

  • Bunche Beach located at 18201 John Morris Road, Fort Myers, FL33931.
  • Fort Myers Beach Elementary School located at 2751 Oak Street, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931.
  • Lovers Key event field located at 8700 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931.


  • Hollywood Beach North. The Cleanup location is at NorthBeachPark at the end of Sheridan Street. When you arrive at the gate, tell park personnel you are participating in the Coastal Cleanup. Sign in station is halfway down the park on the right (east) side.
  • Hollywood Beach Central. Park in the garage at the south end of the Oceanwalk Mall, located at A1A and Hollywood Boulevard. Sign-in is at the Oceanwalk Mall outdoor pavilion. No parking passes are available this year.
  • Hollywood Beach South. Sign in at KeatingPark, Magnolia Terrace and Surf Road. Parking passes will be available from the Site Captain once you sign in.


  • Blue Cypress Park located at 4012 University Boulevard North.
  • Castaway Island Preserve located at 2885 San Pablo Road South.
  • County Dock Boat Ramp located at 11964 Mandarin Road, Next to Walter Jones Memorial Park.
  • Ft. Caroline National Memorial located at 12713 Fort Caroline Road.
  • Helen Cooper Floyd Park (Little Jetties) located at 3600 S.R. A1A.
  • Hogan Creek located at 314 Palmetto Street, Parking behind Jacksonville Historical Society. Site not suitable for children.
  • Huguenot Memorial Park located at 10980 Heckscher Drive.
  • Intracoastal Waterway Boat Ramp located at 2510 2nd Avenue North, Site not suitable for children.
  • NS Mayport Jetties Pavilion #3 located at Bon Homme Richard Street, Across from Damage Control Wet Trainer Facility. (Volunteers must have base access or arrange base access.)
  • Joe Carlucci Boat Ramp/Heritage River Road located at 8414 Heritage River Road, Boat Ramp 1 mile off of Heckscher Drive.
  • Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park located at 500 Wonderwood Drive, Atlantic Beach, Meet at Dolphin Plaza.
  • Northbank Riverwalk located at 221 Riverside Avenue, Parking on Jackson Street & behind YMCA.
  • Reddie Point Preserve located at 4499 Yachtsman Way.
  • Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park located at 7000 Roosevelt Boulevard.

Melbourne Beach:

  • Barrier Island Center located at 8385 South Highway A1A, Melbourne Beach, Florida 32951 will be offering free T-shirts for participants.

Pompano Beach:

  • Pompano Beach. Park north of Atlantic Boulevard between N. Riverside Drive and A1A. Sign in and pick up a parking pass (limited number) at Pavilion 2 north of the pier. Place the parking pass on the dashboard of your vehicle for the duration of the Cleanup.


  • Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning located at 4140 24th Street 33570


  • Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation located at 333 San-Cap Road, Sanibel, FL 33957.
  • Sanbel Causeway (Island B) located at 19931 Sanibel Causeway Road, Sanibel, FL 33957.


  • Al Palonis Park located at 5040 Culbreath Key Way 33611.
  • Courtney Campbell Causeway located at 7740 Courtney Campbell Causeway Blvd. 33607
  • Davis Island Sea Plane Basin located at 1200 Severn Ave 33606
  • Mann Wagon Park located at 1101 Rivercove St. 33604
  • McKay Bay Nature Park located at 134 34th St. 33605. Prepare to get muddy.


  • Baker Creek Boat Ramp 12095 Thonotosassa Rd. 33592.

**For more locations, please visit



Dive Against Debris for International Coastal Cleanup Day

WHAT: Tampa Bay Green Consortium (TBGC), Florida’s regional coordinator for Project Aware’s “Dive Against Debris” Program, would like to invite you to participate in a statewide dive cleanup in September to support Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day, which takes place Sept. 20. In partnership with volunteer organizations and individuals around the globe, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup engages people to remove trash from the world’s beaches and waterways.  “Dive Against Debris” is organized worldwide by the Project AWARE Foundation, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes divers to protect the ocean.


TBGC is asking all Florida dive shops and dive clubs to organize and conduct a local marine debris cleanup event, using this Florida Marine Debris Data Card, and record all debris data collected.  Once completed, we ask that you submit your data back to TBGC so we can aggregate Florida’s findings for submission to the Ocean Trash Index.  This data will be used to inform, persuade and empower Florida policy makers and other stakeholders to establish and improve integrated solid waste management practices.  In addition, the data will provide an invaluable location-by-location and item-by-item snapshot of what is polluting our Florida beaches and waterway, identifying debris hot spots and inform policy solutions to the marine debris problem.

Photo Credit:

Since 2009, nearly 152,000 volunteer divers and supporters in Florida have participated in this annual cleanup, with over 2 million pounds of marine debris collected along the Florida coast.  We want you to be part of this event and support marine conservation!

WHEN: Anytime in the month of September (International Coastal Cleanup Day is September 20th, 2014).  The Florida Marine Debris Data Card must be submitted to by September 30th, 2014.

WHERE: At your local Florida beach, dive site, waterway, reef, or other body of water. OR join TBGC for one of their organized clean-up events:  You can also learn more about their Dive Against Debris Events here.

turtle and plastic bags underwaterWHY:  Marine debris – a politically correct way to say “our trash in the ocean” – makes its way to our underwater environments by the tons.  Ocean trash is a problem in Florida which affects human health and safety, endangers our marine wildlife and costs Florida millions in wasted resources and lost revenue each year. One of the biggest impacts to marine debris in Florida is the impact to our sea turtles, one of our oldest creatures on Earth.  These beautiful marine creatures are very vulnerable to plastics and other marine debris. They commonly swallow plastic bags, mistaking them for jellyfish.  They are often found off the Florida coasts entangled in discarded nets and fishing lines, and are frequently found with ingested fish hooks. Florida is a large nesting ground for sea turtles and hatchlings are also affected by marine debris.  When hatchlings move towards the water, physical objects like trash and marine debris, endangering their lives, often obstruct them.

Media: When you have your event scheduled, contact us so we can promote your event and dive shop/club in our weekly media release to all Florida papers and TV stations.

About Tampa Bay Green Consortium

tampa green consortium

Through strategic alliances, partnerships and people, the Tampa Bay Green Consortium, a 501(c) non- profit organization, provides the guidance, resources, and tools to help increase environmental awareness within the community to promote the sharing of knowledge, people and resources needed for environment projects focusing on sea turtle conservation, marine debris, and environmental education.

Wanted: Sea Turtle Photographers

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is looking for talented photographers for our seventh annual Sea Turtle Calendar Contest! The sea turtle calendar reminds people throughout the year that sea turtles need our help to survive, and it includes important sea turtle dates like World Sea Turtle Day. Contributing to the calendar is a great way to help spread the word about sea turtle conservation.

Leatherback nesting_Grand Riviere Trinidad_Sandra K. Vorpahl

Leatherback nesting by Sandra K. Vorpahl.

We had an amazing calendar filled with beautiful images last year, and we are looking forward to the great submissions for next year’s calendar. We are only accepting photograph submissions for the 2015 calendar. Submissions should be sent to no later than September 30, 2014 and must follow the criteria below:

• Include a brief description of the image as well as the
location and date it was taken and the photographer’s name.
• Image must be submitted by the photographer or
include written permission for submission from the photographer.
• Image must show turtles in a natural setting and follow turtle-friendly guidelines (i.e. no flash images of nesting sea turtles, no images of people handling sea turtles, etc.)
• Image must be high resolution (300 dpi or more).

To view last year’s calendar, click here.

The winners will be announced in STC’s monthly e-newsletter (Sea Turtle Talk), website and Facebook. Each winner will receive two free calendars and an STC logo t-shirt!

Green Turtle Chillin_Oahu Hawaii_Gerald Hansen

Green turtle by Gerald Hansen.

By submitting your image to before September 30, 2014, you are granting STC rights to use your photography for the 2015 Sea Turtle Scenes Calendar and other STC education initiatives. STC will not distribute your image without your written permission.

If you’re interested in submitting a photo, please include the Photography Permission Form in your submission.

For more information view our 2015 Calendar Contest flyer

Introducing the 2014 Tour de Turtles Competitors!

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) began its 2014 Tour de Turtles (TdT) with a live sea turtle release on July 27th at the Barrier Island Center, located in the heart of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Melbourne Beach, Florida. The marathon is a fun and educational journey through the science of sea turtle migration using satellite telemetry. This year 12 turtles, who are each swimming to raise awareness about a sea turtle cause, are competing to see who will travel the farthest in the next three months.

Meet the competitors below!

Panama Jack

Name: Panama Jack
Species: Leatherback
Release site: Punta Rincon Beach, Panama
Sponsor: Turtle & Hughes, Inc.
Cause: Light pollution
Stats: 145.0 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and 108.0 cm in curved carapace width
Fun Fact: Returned and nested again on July 15.
Read my full bioadopt me, or view my migration map!

Calypso Blue III

Name: Calypso Blue III
Species: Leatherback
Release site: Soropta Beach, Panama
Sponsor: Atlantis
Cause: Commercial Trawl Fisheries
Stats: 144.6 cm in curved carapace (shell) length and 108.0 cm curved carapace width
Fun Fact: Laid 53 fertile eggs and 36 yokeless eggs.
Read my full bioadopt me, or view my migration map!


Name: Esperanza
Species: Green
Release site: Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Sponsor: TreadRight Contiki
Cause: Egg Poaching
Stats: 104.9 cm in curved carapace
Fun Fact: The morning after she laid her eggs, her nest was poached and eggs stolen. Luckily, the police caught the poacher and returned the eggs to STC’s team, who quickly and carefully reburied them in a new location.
Read my full bioadopt me, or view my migration map!


Name: Estrella
Species: Hawksbill
Release site: Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Sponsor: STC
Cause: Illegal Shell Trade
Stats: 80.9 cm in curved carapace length
Fun Fact: Estrella is the first hawksbill from Tortuguero to compete in the TdT!
Read my full bio, adopt me, or view my migration map!


Name: Melba
Species: Loggerhead
Release site: Melbourne Beach, FL
Sponsor: FL Sea Turtle License Plate
Cause: Water Quality
Stats: 101.8 cm in curved carapace length, 88.5 cm in curved carapace width
Fun Fact: Melba ranks in the Top 5 largest loggerheads STC has ever released and has one of the largest heads.
Read my full bioadopt me, or view my migration map!


Name: Shelley
Species: Loggerhead
Release site: Melbourne Beach, FL
Sponsor: Ripley’s Aquariums
Cause: Commercial Longline Fisheries
Stats: 89.9 cm in curved carapace length and 85.3 cm in curved carapace width
Fun Fact: Shelley is the 22nd loggerhead STC has released from the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge!
Read my full bioadopt me, or view my migration map!


Name: Anna
Species: Loggerhead
Release site: Disney’s Vero Beach Resort (DVBR)
Sponsor: Disney’s Animal Programs & DVBR
Cause: Light Pollution
Stats: 84.7 cm in curved carapace length, 76.0 cm in curved carapace width
Fun Fact: Anna is named after the character from Disney’s “Frozen.”
Read my full bioadopt me, or view my migration map!


Name: Elsa
Species: Loggerhead
Release site: Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
SponsorDisney Worldwide Conservation Fund
Cause: Marine Debris
Stats: 100.4 cm in curved carapace length, 90.7 cm in curved carapace width
Fun Fact: Elsa is named after the character from Disney’s “Frozen.”
Read my full bioadopt me, or view my migration map!


Name: Coco
Species: Hawksbill
Release site: Pinney’s Beach, Nevis
SponsorFour Seasons Resort Nevis
Cause: Illegal Shell Trade
Stats: 88.9 cm in curved carapace length
Fun Fact: Coco’s name was selected and voted on by Four Seasons’ Instagram and Facebook followers.
Read my full bioadopt me, or view my migration map!


Name: Sugar
Species: Hawksbill
Release site: Pinney’s Beach, Nevis
SponsorFour Seasons Resort Nevis
Cause: Climate Change
Stats: 82.0 cm in curved carapace length, 76.5 cm curved carapace width
Fun Fact: Sugar already had flipper tags when STC found her nesting. It was determined that she was originally tagged by the Nevis Turtle Group in 2007!
Read my full bioadopt me, or view my migration map!

Pine Tyme

Name: Pine Tyme
Species: Loggerhead (sub-adult)
Release site: Sombrero Beach, FL
SponsorThe Turtle Hospital
Cause: Boat Strikes
Stats: 80 lbs.
Fun Fact: Pine Tyme is a rehabbed turtle who was rescued near Big Pine Key, FL. She is currently being treated for severe gas in her intestines, which prohibits her from diving for food.
Read my full bioadopt me, or view my migration map!

11 Sea Turtles Set Off on Migratory Journey as Part of 7th Annual Tour de Turtles

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) kicked off its seventh annual Tour de Turtles (TdT) with a live sea turtle release on July 27 at the Barrier Island Center, located in the heart of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Melbourne Beach, Florida.

Loggerhead Melba was released in Florida on July 27, 2014

A crowd of more than 1,000 people gathered to watch as STC researchers released two adult female loggerhead sea turtles, named ‘Shelley’ and ‘Melba,’ into the ocean to begin their migrations. ‘Shelley’ was named by her sponsors at Ripley’s Aquariums while ‘Melba‘ was named via STC’s Facebook contest. Shelley and Melba are just two of 11 sea turtles representing four different species swimming in the TdT migration marathon, an annual program that conducts valuable research and raises public awareness about sea turtles.

The 2014 TdT included live turtle releases in Panama, Costa Rica, Nevis and Florida. The final release is on August 15 at Sombrero Beach, Fla. This year is the first time that a rehabilitated loggerhead turtle is competing in the TdT. ‘Pine Tyme‘, an 80 pound sub-adult loggerhead, was spotted struggling on the surface unable to dive and is now being treated at The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida. Upon recovery, Pine Tyme will be equipped with a satellite transmitter and released from Sombrero Beach, Fla. on August 15 at 1:00 p.m. This is also is STC’s first ever release in the Keys.

Green turtle Esperanza was released in Tortuguero on July 3, 2014

Green turtle Esperanza was released in Tortuguero on July 3, 2014


“This is the seventh year of the Tour de Turtles and we are thrilled with how the program has grown and gained popularity over the years,” said David Godfrey, executive director of STC. “More people are turning out for the live release events and logging onto the website to learn about these turtles than ever before. Not only do we have a diverse group of turtles this year, but also a very diverse group of sponsors supporting this educational program. It’s amazing to see the variety of businesses, from resorts, to lighting companies and aquariums, that come together to raise awareness for sea turtles.”

Before releasing each turtle, STC scientists attach a satellite transmitter to its shell using turtle-safe epoxy or fiberglass resin. The transmitters allow STC and the public to track the turtles as they migrate from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds. Turtle fans can follow the turtles’ migrations online at, and cheer on on their favorite competitor while learning about some of the threats sea turtles face. Fans can support their favorite turtle through a virtual adoption or by making a pledge for each mile the turtle swims. The turtle who swims the farthest by October 31 will be crowned the winner of the ‘race’ while the turtle who raises the most money will be crowned the ‘People’s Choice Winner.’

Results from the 2013 Tour de Turtles. Who will win this year's race??

Results from the 2013 Tour de Turtles. Who will win this year’s race??

Some interesting facts about the 2014 Tour de Turtles:

‘Esperanza’, a green sea turtle sponsored by Contiki and the TreadRight Foundation, is swimming to raise awareness about the threat of egg harvesting for consumption. After she laid her eggs on July 3, 2014, it was discovered that her nest had been poached and her eggs stolen! Luckily, the local police were able to catch the poacher and return the eggs to STC’s team, who quickly and carefully reburied them in a new location. Hopefully we’ll see some green hatchlings erupting from Esperanza’s nest in September!

‘Sugar’, a hawksbill sponsored by Four Seasons Resort Nevis, already had flipper tags when STC found her nesting on Lovers Beach, Nevis. After looking up her tag number, STC was able to determine that she was first tagged by the Nevis Turtle Group in 2007. This was great news because it provided further evidence that sea turtles return to the same beach to nest.

‘Melba’, a loggerhead sponsored by the Sea Turtle Grants Program, ranks in the top five largest loggerheads STC has ever released! She also has one of the biggest heads, which is fitting as loggerheads get their name from their exceptionally large heads.

For a full list of turtle competitors and sponsors, visit the official website at or head back to the blog tomorrow to meet all the turtles!