STC Sea Turtle Blog

STC Awarded Two Florida Sea Turtle License Plate Grants

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 2024, Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) had two grants funded, Addressing Barriers to Lighting Compliance Through Targeted Outreach and Inspiring Sea Turtle Conservancy Action Ambassadors.

Addressing Barriers to Lighting Compliance Through Targeted Outreach

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Poorly managed coastal lighting is a leading threat to Florida’s sea turtles. For decades, numerous programs offered by scientists, government agencies, and non-profit organizations have been in place to reduce problematic lighting on Florida’s beaches. However, there is widespread agreement among stakeholders in Florida that more needs to be done to address two barriers to reducing problematic lighting: the inaccessibility of wildlife friendly products and the need to distribute sea turtle conservation messaging through coastal real estate agents. As it stands now, it is largely impossible for a coastal property representative to walk into a home improvement store and purchase wildlife friendly fixtures and lamps; they must be ordered through a lighting distributor that has existing relationships with manufacturers of wildlife friendly lighting. In addition, as more people move to Florida’s coast from out of state, it is crucial that new residents are aware of how to protect the natural resources they are inheriting; one way to reach this audience is by providing educational materials to real estate agents that sell beachfront properties and interact directly with this important audience. Over the past few years, Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) has begun to address lighting issues with targeted education and outreach. Through this project, STC will refine its home improvement store initiative, and provide the ability to expand STC’s outreach efforts and break down two important barriers to reducing sea turtle disorientations on important sea turtle nesting beaches.

Inspiring Sea Turtle Conservancy Action Ambassadors

May be an image of 4 people, people swimming and oceanThe Barrier Island Sanctuary Management and Education Center (BIC) has a responsibility to train the next generation of stewards of sea turtles and their critical nesting habitat. Sea Turtle Academy (STA) field study education programs have reached up to 3,300 students in both Brevard and Indian River Counties with support from the Sea Turtle Grants Program to provide bus scholarships and with funding for a Sea Turtle Educator. Most of these programs reach K-4 students. To broaden the age range of our audience, in 2019, STC also built the Sea Turtle TECH STEM Program to reach middle school and teen audiences during the summer. These programs show strong learning outcomes and pro-sea turtles attitude and conservation behavior shifts. However, the BIC still needs a teen program during the school year. This project will fund a Community Stewardship Coordinator and a college intern to support the STA education program, other sea turtle outreach programs, and the new STCAA program to reach students in the 11-18 year old age range during the school year. With a new Sea Turtle Conservancy Action Ambassador Program, based on the Community Action Projects for the Environment model produced by UF IFAS, we will train teens in the steps needed to succeed in collaborative projects that create systemic change. These projects may be citizen science, advocacy or stewardship oriented and will address threats to sea turtles and their habitats. These programs build the future stewards of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge by training the next generation in the skills needed to conserve sea turtles and their habitats.

Both projects are funded in whole by a grant awarded from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program is funded from proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Learn more at