Tag Archives: hatchlings

Tour de Turtles 2015

Sea Turtle Conservancy celebrated its 8th annual Tour de Turtles (TdT) with a live sea turtle release on August 2nd at the Barrier Island Center, located in the heart of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Melbourne, Florida.

Hundreds of people gathered to watch STC researchers release two adult female loggerheads sea turtles, named “Myrtle” and “Dash”, into the ocean to begin their migrations. Myrtle was named by her sponsors at Ripley’s Aquariums and Dash was named by her sponsors at Shark Reed Aquarium. The event was sponsored in part by the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate.


This year 13 sea turtles, representing four different species, were swimming in the race to conduct valuable research and raise public awareness about sea turtles.

The 2015 TdT included live turtle releases in Panama, Costa Rica, Nevis and Florida. This year is the first time a nesting turtle was released from Florida’s West Coast. Loggerhead “Amie” was named by her sponsors from the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch group and released in the Gulf of Mexico in June.

Before each turtle release, STC scientists attached a satellite transmitter to its shell using– safe epoxy or fiber class resin. The transmitter allows STC and the public to track the turtles as they travel and migrate from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds.

Meet the competitors!

Calypso Blue IV-pic (1)

 Calypso Blue IV, Leatherback

Sponsor: Atlantis Paradise Island

Cause: Commercial Trawl Fisheries





Myrtle,  Loggerhead

Sponsor: Ripley’s Aquariums

Cause: Plastic Debris





Marina, Loggerhead

Sponsor: Disney Conservation Fund

Cause: Plastic Debris



Susie Q, Green Turtle

Sponsor: Turtle & Hughes, Inc.

Cause: Light Pollution




Dash, Loggerhead

Sponsor: Shark Reef

Cause: Commercial Longline Fisheries




Tinkerbell, Loggerhead

Sponsors: Disney’s Animal Protection Programs & Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

Cause: Water Quality




Millie, HawksbillMillie-pic

Sponsor: Four Seasons

Cause: Water Quality




Insolites, Leatherback 

Sponsor: Continents Insolites SAS

Cause: Invasive Species Predation




Pawikan, Green Turtle

Sponsor: Pacsafe

Cause: Egg Harvest for Consumption




Luna, HawksillLuna-pic

Sponsor: Four Seasons

Cause: Climate Change




Tiki, Hawksbill

Sponsors: Treadright Foundation & Contiki

Cause: Illegal Shell Trading




Aaron, Loggerhead

Sponsor: The Turtle Hospital

Cause: Boat Strikes




Amie, LoggerheadAmie-pic

Sponsor: Anna Maria Island

Cause: Beach Erosion



Turtle fans can follow the turtle’s migration online at www.tourdeturtles.org, and  cheer on their favorite competitor while learning  the threats that sea turtle face. Fans can support their favorite turtle online by virtual adopting, tweeting, or making a pledge for every 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 mist support online, will be crowned the “People’s choice winner”.

STC Receives Major Grant for Gulf Lighting Project

On November 14, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced that Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) had been awarded a major grant to support our efforts to address impacts to wildlife from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This significant grant awards STC $1.5 million for a two-year project addressing coastal lighting problems in the Florida Panhandle. Out of the hundreds of project proposals submitted for work in the state of Florida, only six were selected for funding in this first series of grants. This award will allow STC to significantly expand our successful lighting work, which is being overseen by STC’s Lighting Specialist Karen Shudes.

Condo BEFORE being retrofitted with sea turtle-friendly lighting

Condo BEFORE being retrofitted

Since STC began conducting lighting retrofit projects in 2010, problem lights at over 80 coastal properties throughout Florida have been retrofitted with sea turtle friendly lighting, helping to restore darkness to over 10.5 miles of prime sea turtle nesting habitat, and saving an estimated 16,000 hatchlings that otherwise would have been disoriented by lights. These results, combined with the financial benefits associated with using energy-efficient LEDs, make this project replicable in other coastal communities where poorly managed artificial lighting degrades nesting habitat.


Condo AFTER being retrofitted with sea turtle-friendly lighting.

Condo AFTER being retrofitted with sea turtle-friendly lighting.

This new project will greatly increase sea turtle hatchling survivorship on Florida Panhandle nesting beaches by correcting problematic lights on private properties with a history of sea turtle disorientations. The project will target problem lights adjacent to existing dark areas in order to improve contiguous stretches of beach rather than small pockets of habitat. Willing property owners will be identified and complete retrofits of beachfront lights that impact the nesting beach.

Florida hosts over 90% of all sea turtle nesting in the continental United States, including the largest population of loggerheads in the Western Hemisphere and regionally significant nesting populations of green turtles, leatherbacks and Kemp’s ridleys.

As coastal development continues around the state, the problem of beachfront lighting continues to hamper sea turtle recovery efforts. Each year tens of thousands of nesting females and hatchlings are negatively impacted by artificial beachfront lights, with thousands never making it to the sea to help recover these diminished populations, which were particularly impacted by the Gulf oil spill in 2010. While significant funds have been allocated to reduce light pollution on public property, comparatively little funding has been available to bring privately-owned lights into compliance. The counties of the Panhandle of Florida that are targeted in this proposal are part of the Northern Gulf Coast Recovery Unit for loggerhead turtles, which is the nesting assemblage most at risk for this population and whose beaches had the most direct impacts from the spill.

For more background information on STC’s lighting initiatives, you can read our 2011 Velador article, “Addressing Florida’s Beachfront Lighting Problem.” To learn more about STC’s successful lighting work, check out our video, “Darker Beaches, Brighter Future,” which was created to accompany our traveling lighting displays.