STC Sea Turtle Blog

Wanted: Sea Turtle Photos for STC’s 2021 Calendar!

Calling all photographers! Sea Turtle Conservancy is looking for talented photographers (amateur or professional) for our 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, Earth Day and World Oceans Day. Contributing to the calendar is a great way to help spread the word about sea turtle conservation!

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 2021 calendar, NO artwork.

Photo submissions along with the Photography Permission Form should be sent to lexie@conserveturtles.org no later than September 30, 2020 and must follow the criteria below:

  • Include photographer’s name, brief description of the image, location, date it was taken, and Photography Permission Form
  • Image must be submitted by the actual 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.)
  • Initial email submissions should be a small file (no larger than 10 MB) but a high resolution version of the image must be available for final printing if selected.
  • Photographers may only enter a maximum of three photographs.

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!

By submitting your image to lexie@conserveturtles.org before September 30, 2020, you are granting STC rights to use your photography for the 2021 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, you must include the Photography Permission Form in your submission. Good luck!

Ready, Set, Swim! The 13th Annual Tour de Turtles has Begun!

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) recently kicked off its 13th annual Tour de Turtles migration marathon! The Tour de Turtles is a fun, educational journey that follows the migration of sea turtles from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds. Through the use of satellite telemetry, STC will track 15 sea turtles, including leatherbacks, loggerheads, greens and one hybrid green/hawksbill, to determine how far they swim. The one to swim the furthest distance by October 31 “wins.”

Each turtle is also swimming to raise awareness about the threats sea turtles face. These threats include light pollution, beach erosion, marine debris, oil spills, commercial fisheries, illegal hunting, invasive species predation, climate change and more. The data collected during the Tour de Turtles helps researchers, conservationists and governing agencies make more informed decisions about sea turtle conservation methods and policies. Since the launch of the Tour de Turtles in 2008, STC has tracked more than 200 turtles.

This year’s Tour de Turtles is special for several reasons… For the first time ever, it is comprised entirely of turtles from Florida. This is also the first time STC has tracked leatherbacks from Florida, thanks to a partnership with Florida Leatherbacks, Inc. Typically the organization travels to Panama, Costa Rica, Cuba, Nevis and other international sites to satellite tag turtles but was limited to Florida due to COVID-19.

You can support the turtles by “adopting” them or sharing on social media to help raise awareness! Learn more about the turtles and follow their migrations at www.tourdeturtles.org. You can also purchase a Tour de Turtles 2020 t-shirt by clicking here or below!

SCAM ALERT – DO NOT PURCHASE PRODUCTS FROM WILDLIFE CHARM, WILDLIFE MISSION OR WILDLIFE TEAM

**SCAM ALERT!** Companies operating under a variety of names are advertising on Facebook, selling products online, and illegally using STC’s turtle tracking maps as a perk to buyers. If you have been purchased jewelry and were offered a STC tracked turtle from Turtle’s Journey (www.turtlesjourney.co), Wildlife Team (wildlife-team.com), Wildlife Mission (wildlifemission.org), or Wildlife Charm (thewildlifecharm.com), then they are using Sea Turtle Conservancy’s turtle tracking information illegally and without our permission. The one exception is “Wildlife Collections,” which has an exclusive partnership with STC involving our tracked turtles.  Don’t be duped or support the scammers.

If you have been scammed, please do NOT email or call STC if you haven’t received your order or if you have questions about your turtle. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do. The greatest inconvenience to STC (aside from having our copyrighted information stolen) is the valuable staff time that is being wasted responding to people’s complaints rather than actually working to protect sea turtles. Instead, we encourage you to report the activity of these companies to the Better Business Bureau, Shopify, and Facebook (contact information below).

How to report scam companies:

File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau: https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started

Report online shops to Shopify: https://help.shopify.com/en/questions#/contact/email

Report pages to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/355811251195044

 

If you would like to purchase bracelets and track a turtle from a legitimate company that actually donates to STC, we encourage you to check out Wildlife Collections, who has donated more than $30,000 to STC.

Additionally, if you ever question the legitimacy of a company who claims to partner with STC, we encourage you to reference the PARTNERS page on our website, which we update regularly.

 

 

Sea Turtle Conservation Work in Tortuguero Threatened due to COVID-19

Sea Turtle Conservancy’s research and conservation program at Tortuguero, Costa Rica, is a conservation success story. When STC’s founder Dr. Archie Carr first arrived at the site in the 1950s, the green turtle population was in drastic decline—slipping toward extinction—due to the unsustainable harvesting of nesting turtles. Over the next six decades, a sustained research, education and conservation program has been carried out by STC, in close partnership with the community of Tortuguero and the Government of Costa Rica. Through the combined efforts of everyone involved, the unsustainable harvesting of sea turtles was eliminated and replaced with a local economy built on ecotourism. Once protected, the turtles responded by recovering to the point of being the largest remaining colony of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the Western Hemisphere (and probably the world), and STC’s program at Tortuguero has become a global model for how sea turtles can be saved. Unfortunately, a situation is unfolding in Tortuguero due to COVID-19 that jeopardizes much of the success that has been achieved to recover this globally-important sea turtle population.

Because Costa Rica’s borders are closed to foreign visitors for the foreseeable future, nearly all of STC’s international Research Assistants, who assist with carrying out our research and protection program, are unable to get to Tortuguero. Even if the borders open later this summer, most of our previously-committed volunteers have had to make other plans. As a result, STC’s small crew of staff members in Tortuguero have been thrust onto the front lines of wildlife protection, performing tasks that once were carried out by a team of 25 people. STC also has seen the complete loss of revenue we count on from our Visitors’ Center gift shop and an eco-volunteer program we normally conduct at our research station. Meanwhile, the presence of Costa Rican law enforcement on the beach at Tortuguero has dwindled significantly, at the same time the threat of illegal hunting is skyrocketing due to the collapse of ecotourism in the country. Without the typical presence of park guards, tour groups and tourists on the beach in Tortuguero, STC is documenting significant increases in illegal poaching of adult turtles and nests. This alarming trend, combined with the complete lack of revenue being generated in Tortuguero, is STC’s biggest programmatic challenge resulting from the pandemic.

Our staff members are working overtime day and night to deter turtle hunters from killing turtles as they crawl ashore to nest, and we are doing our best to hide nests in order to protect the eggs from being taken. While the calamity unfolding in Tortuguero is not on the same level as what has been confronting healthcare and other front-line workers serving people in the US and abroad, STC’s dedicated staff Tortuguero is manning the front line of defense on behalf of imperiled sea turtles that are under greater threat because of the impacts of the pandemic.

In honor of World Sea Turtle Day (June 16), a date selected because it is Archie Carr’s birthday, STC asks for your support. Please help us sustain the critical work taking place in Tortuguero to ensure that the incredible progress made on behalf of sea turtles over the last six decades is not jeopardized as a result of this pandemic. Your donation will directly support STC’s ability to hire additional Costa Ricans to fill the void created by our lack of international volunteer Research Assistants. Donations will also be matched up to $5,000 through June 16.

This need is urgent and timely, as green turtle nesting is now underway. A single season of rampant illegal harvesting of adult turtles can severely jeopardize the recovery of green turtles at Tortuguero—one of the world’s great conservation success stories.  With your help, we will have the ability to ensure that this does not happen. Click here to donate now.

For more information about STC’s work in Tortuguero, click here: https://conserveturtles.org/stc-programs-research-tortuguero-costa-rica/.

STC Earns 4-Star Charity Navigator Rating for 13th Year

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is proud to announce another top rating from Charity Navigator, the leading evaluator of non-profit groups in the United States. STC received 4 out of 4 stars for the 13th year, indicating that our organization adheres to good governance and other practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes our mission in a fiscally responsible way.

“The Board and staff of Sea Turtle Conservancy take great pride in our consistent high ratings from Charity Navigator,” said David Godfrey, STC Executive Director, “and it gives our donors confidence that their contributions are being managed wisely to the maximum benefit of sea turtles.”

According to Charity Navigator, a 4 star rating is an ‘exceptional’ designation, and differentiates Sea Turtle Conservancy from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust. STC spends almost 90 cents of every dollar donated directly on research, conservation and education programs. STC’s commitment to transparency, good governance and fiscal responsibility ensures that donations are used in an efficient manner to support conservation programs.

“We are proud to announce Sea Turtle Conservancy has earned our fourth consecutive 4-star rating,” says Michael Thatcher, President and CEO of Charity Navigator. “This is our highest possible rating and indicates that your organization adheres to sector best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way. Attaining a 4-star rating verifies that Sea Turtle Conservancy exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in your area of work. Only 20% of the charities we evaluate have received at least 4 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Sea Turtle Conservancy outperforms most other charities in America. This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets Sea Turtle Conservancy apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness.”

STC’s rating and other information about charitable giving are available free of charge on Charity Navigator’s website here.

 

 

Sea Turtle Grants Program Awards $340,000 to Conservation Projects in Florida

The Sea Turtle Grants Program (STGP), funded by the sale of Florida’s “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” specialty license plate, recently awarded $340,439.60 to 20 different projects benefiting Florida sea turtles as part of the 2020-2021 grant funding cycle.

Each year, the Sea Turtle Grants Program distributes money to coastal county governments, educational and research institutions and nonprofit groups through a competitive application process. The sea turtle specialty license plate is also the primary source of funding for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Marine Turtle Protection Program.

The following organizations received grants for their approved projects for the 2020-2021 cycle:

The sea turtle plate is the number two overall selling specialty tag in Florida, and the number one environmental specialty plate. By purchasing the sea turtle specialty license plate, Floridians are voluntarily funding important programs to save endangered sea turtles and their habitats.

To learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants Program and the “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” specialty license plate, please visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.

FL ACTION ALERT! Help Save Brevard’s Remaining Heritage and Specimen Trees!

**UPDATE: Unfortunately, the public lost the vote, 3-2. Thank you to everyone who sent emails, made calls and attended the meeting. 15 people spoke for the changes, and 1 developer spoke against them. If nature and conservation groups unite to make changes to the local government, we have a chance of preserving a legacy for future generations….otherwise, it will only get worse, and all the work we’ve done will be for naught. “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot” as Joni Mitchell sang in 1970.**

———-

There is a rare opportunity to reduce the impact of a highly destructive “loophole” in Brevard’s laws governing Specimen and Heritage trees at an upcoming commission meeting.

Before It’s Too Late! Let’s Save Brevard’s Remaining HERITAGE and SPECIMEN Trees

Why would Brevard County adopt a thorough, 28-page Land Clearing and Tree Protection Policy and include a single sentence, in Section 62-4334, that EXEMPTS 299,508 properties (90%) from following the policy? The result is that a large part of our county’s tree canopy (any property less than one and one-quarter acres), including heritage and specimen trees, can be clear cut at the whim of owners. Think about that for a minute…

Towering 100-year-old Live Oaks, Pin Oaks and Scrub Oaks are being cut down every day. 50-foot tall Sea Grapes, Coconut Palms, Bottle Palms, Royal Palms, Washingtonians and any other trees can be cut down for any reason, or no reason at all, under Brevard county law … No Permits Required!

This Brevard Co. property clear cut and replaced native trees with grass and pavers, which will now funnel even small amounts of rain and flooding first to A1A, and then the Indian River Lagoon.

After extensive discussions with Brevard County Commissioners and Natural Resources staff about the best means to reduce this destruction, the Commissioners will be voting Tuesday, March 10, on a “Legislative Intent” to amend the Specimen tree ordinance. This amendment reduces the exempt properties from 1 ¼ acres to 1/4 acres and achieves the following:

  1. Reduce the number of properties where Heritage and Specimen trees can be cut.
  2. Save thousands of trees.
  3. Preserve habitat and wildlife.
  4. Reduce harmful run-off into the Indian River Lagoon.
  5. Reduce flooding from run-off
  6. Align Brevard’s Tree Clearing Policy with the President’s Trillion Tree Initiative.
  7. Preserve the beautiful views in our neighborhoods and on Highway A1A, Brevard’s only Federal Scenic roadway.

Sea Turtle Conservancy strongly supports this proposed revision to Brevard County’s tree ordinance, which would remove an exemption that allows many beachfront property owners to indiscriminately chop down large coastal scrub oaks, mature sea grape trees and other large coastal trees that play a critical role in stabilizing dune habitat and minimizing erosion following storms. The coastal vegetation to be protected by this new ordinance also helps shield important sea turtle nesting sites from artificial light coming from beachfront developments. In short, this revised ordinance will help protect some of the most important sea turtle nesting habitat in the world from the reckless removal and clear-cutting of coastal vegetation – a practice that worsens the rate of coastal erosion, especially in a time of increased storm activity and sea level rise associated with climate change, and exposes sea turtles and their hatchlings to greater levels of light pollution.

Join us at the meeting to show your support!

Meeting Date: Tuesday, March 10 @ 5pm

Location: Brevard County Gov’t Center, 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Bldg C, Viera

 

E-mails are very important if you are unable to attend the meeting. You do NOT have to be a resident of Brevard County to speak up about this issue. Please pick any or all of the 7 items above as the basis of and e-mail to all 5 Commissioners:

I Support an Amendment to reduce to 1/4 acres, or eliminate, the exemption on the cutting of our trees in Section 62-4334 of Brevard Code.

E-Mail to: d1.commissioner@brevardcounty.us for Rita Prichett 321-607-6901

d2.commissioner@brevardcounty.us for Brian Lober 321-454-6601

d3.commissioner@brevardcounty.us for John Tobia 321-633-2075

d4.commissioner@brevardcounty.us for Curt Smith 321-633-2044

d5.commissioner@brevardcounty.us for Kristine Isnardi 321-253-6611

Together we can make this happen!

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: Station Manager at STC’s Biological Field Station in Tortuguero, Costa Rica **POSITION FILLED**

POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED

**CLICK HERE FOR SPANISH VERSION**

POSITION TITLE:

Station Manager of the Tortuguero Biological Field Station (Costa Rica) for Sea Turtle Conservancy

POSITION SUMMARY:

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) announces an opening for Station Manager of its Biological Field Station at Tortuguero, Costa Rica. STC’s Tortuguero Biological Field Station is home of the longest-continuous sea turtle research and protection program in the world. Spanning 55 years, the program at Tortuguero is monitoring and protecting one of the largest green turtle rookeries in the world; providing intense field research training to young biologists; and is a global model for volunteer eco-tourism. For information and images of the station and the work taking place there, see https://conserveturtles.org/////tortuguero-sea-turtle-experiences-slideshow/ or visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy Tortuguero Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/conserveturtlestortuguero/

The Station Manager will oversee the year-round operation and maintenance of this remote research station. The Station Manager will supervise a staff of 6-8 permanent employees who carry out activities ranging from physical maintenance, boat operations, cooking, security, grounds keeping and Visitor Center operations, and custodial services. It is the Station Manager’s responsibility to ensure that the Station, grounds and equipment are maintained in good working order and that all scheduled repairs, cleaning and upkeep are carried out. The Station Manager also will be one of STC’s chief liaisons with the community of Tortuguero, Tortuguero National Park staff, government officials, visiting scientists, volunteers and local businesses. This position will not specifically include scientific responsibilities, though the Station Manager is encouraged to assist with research, education and community outreach projects when feasible.

The Station Manager will be provided full room and board at the STC station, along with a modest salary enabling one to live comfortably in the unique and beautiful setting of Tortuguero, Costa Rica. This is a permanent, full-time position, and STC is looking for someone ready to make a long-term commitment to running its Biological Field Station.

  

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional experience in public relations, hospitality, eco-tourism, facilities management or similar field
  • Fluency in both English and Spanish is required
  • Excellent managerial and organizational skills
  • Good communications and public relations skills
  • Basic office and computer skills for record keeping and report writing
  • Willingness to work hands-on to get the job done

DESIRED TRAITS:

  • A dedication to the mission of STC
  • Ability to manage and motivate people in a challenging tropical environment set within a laid back Caribbean culture
  • Good interpersonal skills – ability to converse with and relate to a range of people from media to scientists to general sea turtle enthusiasts
  • Ability to work independently, with little direct supervision
  • Someone who leads by example
  • First aid/CPR training (can be provided by STC)
  • Experience in retail management and/or environmental education

PAY AND HIRING TIMELINE:

Applications are being accepted now, with the goal of filling the position by the end of February 2020 in order to overlap with the departing Station Manager. This full-time position to be based in Tortuguero includes a compensation package consisting of free lodging, full meals while at the station and a starting salary of $20,000 US.

HOW TO APPLY:

Submit cover letter, resume, and references via e-mail to: david@conserveturtles.org. Prefer to receive in English.

 

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: Senior Accountant **POSITION FILLED**

**POSITION FILLED**

Job Announcement: Senior Accountant

Overview and Purpose

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is based in Gainesville, Florida, and was founded by renowned sea turtle expert Dr. Archie Carr.  STC is the oldest and one of the most accomplished sea turtle conservation organizations in the world.  STC is hiring a Senior Accountant to assist the STC Controller in managing and accounting for projects in the US, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Caribbean.

Duties and Responsibilities

This position is full time, based in our Gainesville, Florida office.  Accounting tasks will be many and varied, under the direct supervision of the Controller.  They will include:

  • General Ledger
  • Accounts Payable
  • Grant administration of the Sea Turtle License Plate grant program
  • Grant administration of the NFWF Lighting and Predation grant programs
  • Grant reporting to Foundations
  • Sorting and coding reports from Costa Rica and Panama
  • Managing gift shop sales reports
  • Preparation of 990 schedules and documents
  • Payroll
  • Human resource tasks
  • Bank statement and investment reconciliation
  • Board reports
  • Budgeting
  • The senior accountant should possess the ability to work with and support the many members of our conservation team.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree with a major in Accounting or Finance.
  • Experience with non-profit accounting, grant or contract management preferred.
  • Organized and detail-oriented with the ability to simultaneously handle and prioritize multiple tasks.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Skilled with MS Office (Word, Excel).
  • Skilled with general accounting software programs such as DacEasy or Peachtree.
  • Strong conservation ethic desired.
  • Position requires US citizenship.
  • Non-Smoker

Salary and Benefits

  • Starting salary will be commensurate with experience (Range $55,000 – $65,000)
  • Fully paid employee health and dental insurance.
  • Paid holidays, vacation, and sick days.
  • Retirement plan initiated after 12 months employment.
  • Work in a flexible, yet highly motivated non-profit environment with a close-knit team of professionals committed to sea turtle conservation.

Applications will be accepted until a candidate is selected.  Apply by submitting your cover letter and resume to the Controller, Pat McCloskey, at pat@conserveturtles.org.

 

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: Visitor Center Coordinator at STC’s Station in Tortuguero, Costa Rica **POSITION FILLED**

POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED

This job description is available in English and Spanish. Click here for Spanish version.

POSITION TITLE:

Visitor Center Coordinator at the Tortuguero Biological Field Station (Costa Rica) for Sea Turtle Conservancy

POSITION SUMMARY:

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) announces an opening for Visitor Center Coordinator at its Biological Field Station at Tortuguero, Costa Rica. STC’s Tortuguero Biological Field Station is home of the longest-continuous sea turtle research and protection program in the world. Spanning 55 years, the program at Tortuguero is monitoring and protecting one of the largest green turtle rookeries in the world; providing intense field research training to young biologists; and is a global model for volunteer eco-tourism.

STC’s Visitor Center (VC) is open daily to provide interpretive exhibits, video presentations and one-on-one information sharing about STC’s work with visiting tourists and local residents. The VC also includes a small store that sells sea turtle and conservation-themed merchandise to support STC’s work.

The VC Coordinator will staff and oversee the daily operation of the VC and associated store. The Coordinator is an important public liaison for STC in Tortuguero – often hosting as many as several hundred visitors per day. The job requires an outgoing, bi-lingual individual who is both knowledgeable and passionate about STC’s work in Tortuguero. Through the operation of the store and management of entrance fees, the VC Coordinator will be required to manage and track money, complete retail sales, manage inventory, run video presentations, answer questions from the public and generally present a positive face for STC in Tortuguero. This position will not specifically include scientific responsibilities, though the VC Coordinator is encouraged to occasionally participate in nightly sea turtle research and community outreach projects when feasible.

The VC Coordinator will be provided full room and board at the STC station, along with a modest salary enabling one to live comfortably in the unique and beautiful setting of Tortuguero, Costa Rica. This is a permanent, full-time position.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional experience in public relations, hospitality, eco-tourism, management or similar field
  • Fluency in both English and Spanish is required
  • Excellent managerial and organizational skills
  • Good communications and public relations skills
  • Basic office and computer skills for record keeping and tracking sales/income
  • Willingness to work hands-on to get the job done

DESIRED TRAITS:

  • A dedication to the mission of STC
  • Good interpersonal skills – ability to converse with and relate to a range of people from tourists to visiting scientists to local community members
  • Ability to work independently, with little direct supervision
  • Someone who leads by example
  • Experience in retail management and/or environmental education

PAY AND HIRING TIMELINE:

Applications are being accepted now, with the goal of filling the position by the end of January 2020 to overlap with the current Visitor Center Coordinator. This full-time position to be based in Tortuguero includes a compensation package consisting of free lodging, full meals while at the station and starting pay of $900 per month.

HOW TO APPLY:

Submit cover letter, resume, and references via e-mail to: david@conserveturtles.org. Prefer to receive in English.

 

Help STC Raise $50,000 on Giving Tuesday, December 3rd!

On December 3, Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is participating in our 7th annual Giving Tuesday to raise $50,000 for our Research Station in Soropta Beach, Panama! STC is hoping all of its members and supporters will participate in this year’s Giving Tuesday Campaign, which seeks to raise matching funds for the critical work we are doing at Soropta Beach to protect and recover leatherback sea turtles. Giving Tuesday, which occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is to remind people to take a moment to contribute to non-profit organizations in their communities and around the world.

For Giving Tuesday last year, STC supporters helped generate over $40,000 to support STC’s in-water research program benefiting juvenile turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. The year before (2017), our supporters raised nearly $20,000 for the Tour de Turtles education program. STC has set its sights even higher this year, and we are confident we can reach the goal of $50,000 thanks to generous pledges from STC’s Board of Directors to match up to $25,000 for every dollar donated by STC’s members and supporters.

STC asks for your help to support one of our most urgent conservation programs. Every bit of the funding raised during the 2019 Giving Tuesday Campaign will support leatherback monitoring and protection efforts at a critical nesting site for this species at Soropta Beach, Panama. Soropta is a remote, 8 km black-sand beach that sees between 500 and 800 leatherback nests each season – making it an important part of the 4th largest nesting colony for this species in the world. Unfortunately, the area’s remoteness makes Soropta highly vulnerable to illegal hunting. STC’s presence on this beach since 2013 has helped curb illegal harvesting, but it’s still an ongoing problem.

By raising up to $50K to support this project, STC will be able to secure additional beach monitors and also make needed improvements to the station used by STC’s staff and volunteers. Our modest dormitories, kitchen and dining hall need repairs, as nature has taken its toll on the old wooden station inherited by STC. In addition, a small dock leading from the river behind our station (the only way to travel to and from Soropta), is in disrepair and must be extended to higher elevation so it’s not underwater during the rainy season.

STC’s Soropta station houses staff and volunteer Research Assistants, who stay during nesting season to monitor and protect the turtles and their nests. Starting last year, STC also began accepting paying eco-volunteers who participate in one- or two-week programs, revenues from which help support STC’s work in Soropta. In order to sustain our presence at Soropta and provide a safe and secure base for staff and volunteers, we need to invest in station maintenance and upgrades. By raising $50K for Giving Tuesday, STC can make all the necessary repairs and also provide needed funds for research supplies, food and fuel for the program.

Help STC support our leatherback research and conservation program in Panama by donating to the cause in one of four ways:

  1. Online at www.conserveturtles.org/GivingTuesday
  2. Through STC’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/conserveturtles
  3. Calling the STC office at 352-373-6441
  4. Mail a check with “Giving Tuesday” in the subject line. All checks received with Giving Tuesday in the subject line will count towards the campaign, even if received after Dec. 3, 2019. Please make checks out to Sea Turtle Conservancy and mail to 4581 NW 6th Street, Suite A, Gainesville, FL 32609.

Funds raised during this campaign will be matched by STC’s Board of Directors, up to a maximum of $25,000! Help turn $25,000 into $50,000 for sea turtle research!

Can we count you in for #GivingTuesday? Be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter for LIVE fundraising updates on Giving Tuesday!

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: Sea Turtle Lighting Project Specialist **POSITION FILLED**

**POSITION FILLED**

Overview and Purpose
Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is based in Gainesville, Florida, and was founded by renowned sea turtle expert Dr. Archie Carr.  STC is the oldest and one of the most accomplished sea turtle conservation organizations in the world. STC is hiring a Lighting Project Specialist to work on our Sea Turtle Lighting Project. This person will work as part of our lighting team implementing sea turtle lighting retrofits on beachfront properties in Florida, assisting with educational workshops, and coordinating dune planting projects to help further reduce lighting impacts to nesting turtles. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has funded STC’s lighting project as part of its investment toward mitigating the impacts to sea turtles caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The project’s goal is to increase sea turtle survivorship by reducing hatchling disorientation caused by lighting. The project works with private property owners to retrofit problematic beachfront lighting to sea turtle friendly alternatives using the best available technology.

Duties and Responsibilities
The primary responsibilities of this position will be implementing sea turtle lighting retrofits and dune planting projects in the south west Florida peninsula. The position will involve collection of night-time photos and lighting measurements; contract negotiations with property owners and managers; developing exterior lighting plans; communicating with property owners and lighting distributors; and data entry, management, analysis and mapping using Access, Excel and ArcGIS Online. Travel to the south west Florida peninsula and other parts of the state over 3 to 5 day periods will be required. Duties also will include coordinating travel logistics; tracking the progression of multiple projects in various stages; and conducting lighting workshops developed for code enforcement and building professionals. The position will require flexible work hours, occasionally at night and on the weekends. The Lighting Project Specialist will be based in Gainesville and work directly under the Lighting Project Manager as part of a four-person team of lighting specialists.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree with a major in wildlife conservation, policy, management, communications or similar field.
  • Experience with contract management, grant development and/or environmental regulation preferred.
  • Organized and detail-oriented with the ability to simultaneously handle and prioritize multiple tasks.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Motivated professional with an ability to work closely with others, learn new skills and follow leadership directives.
  • Skilled with MS Office (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint)
  • and familiar with ArcGIS software.
  • Passionate about the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
  • Training will be made available to the right candidate to boost knowledge about sea turtle lighting options and to improve skills in using ArcGIS.
  • Position requires US citizenship.

Salary and Benefits

  • Starting salary will be commensurate with experience (Range $35,000 – $40,000)
  • Fully paid employee health and dental insurance.
  • Paid holidays, sick time and vacation days.
  • Retirement plan initiated after 12 months of employment.
  • Work in a flexible, yet highly motivated non-profit environment with a close-knit team of professionals committed to sea turtle conservation.

Applications will be accepted until a candidate is selected. A start date prior to the end of 2019 is preferred. Apply by submitting your cover letter and résumé to the Project Manager at Rachel@conserveturtles.org.

STC Awarded Top Responsible Costa Rica Eco Tour 2019!

Sea Turtle Conservancy is excited to announce that we’ve made it onto the Top Responsible Costa Rica Eco Tours 2019 list!

Curated by Terra Incognita – a social enterprise seeking to promote the best examples of ethical ecotourism worldwide – we’re part of a group of nearly 40 incredible tours across Costa Rica working to conserve the environment, support the well-being of local people and educate visitors and hosts.

“Costa Rica is often the first place that comes to mind when we hear the word ‘ecotourism’, yet it can still be challenging for visitors to choose a responsible tour,” said Kristi Foster of Terra Incognita.

The list includes a transparent explanation of how all tours contribute to conservation, local communities and education, and is open to reviews from guests who’ve participated in the tours. Groups on the list are doing everything from cleaning up beaches and donating to community projects, to offsetting their carbon emissions and encouraging their guests to do the same. Some are actively contributing to conservation research, while others are empowering local conservation ambassadors through environmental education and capacity building.

STC offers several different eco-tour options. Click below to learn more about each trip:

You can view the Responsible Costa Rica Eco Tours 2019 list at www.terra-incognita.travel and join a movement to create positive change for people and planet through travel.

To learn more about sea turtle experiences offered by STC, visit https://conserveturtles.org/////get-involved-sea-turtle-experience/

(Update) Tell Brevard County Commissioners to keep dogs off the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

***UPDATE as of 8/7/2019: Great news out of the Brevard County Commission meeting last night! The commissioners rejected the citizen initiative to allow dogs on 11 miles of the Refuge. Most of the commissioners were vocally opposed. In the Carr Refuge District, 92% of those contacting their commissioner via email and phone did not want dogs on their beaches. Commissioners cited both human health and safety and the sensitive habitat as reasons for not supporting the initiative. THANK YOU to all who signed our petition, called and emailed commissioners and spread the word about this harmful proposed initiative! You truly made a difference. If any news breaks about this issue in the future, we will be sure to keep you informed.***

ACTION ALERT: Tell Brevard County Commissioners to keep dogs off the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

Brevard County’s Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge hosts the single most important sea turtle nesting beach in the United States. The Refuge is a nesting ground for more threatened loggerhead turtles than virtually anyplace else on Earth, as well as for green and leatherback sea turtles. Decades of tireless work and millions of dollars spent by governmental agencies, non-profit organizations such as the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC), and foundations successfully created and protected the Refuge as a safe haven for sea turtles. A recent movement to open up the Refuge to domestic dogs threatens this progress.

A group of local Brevard residents is pushing forward a proposal to allow dogs on 11.5 miles of the Refuge between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. daily. STC has extensive experience in monitoring and protecting sea turtle nesting beaches in Florida and the Caribbean. On some of the beaches we monitor, dogs have been documented as a major threat to sea turtles; dogs are excellent at sniffing out turtle nests and digging them up. Dogs are also known to predate live hatchlings ready to emerge and scare off adult nesting sea turtles. Sea turtles, especially hatchlings, have plenty of wild predators without humans introducing large numbers of domestic predators.

This stretch of beach, owned by county, state and federal governments, falls under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service management plan that does not allow dogs and cats on federally-owned property. Brevard County would be highly vulnerable to a federal Endangered Species Act lawsuit if this plan moves forward and any impacts to sea turtle nests are documented. The Refuge is one of the most heavily studied nesting beaches in Florida, so any predation incidents by dogs would be swiftly recorded.

This year has been a record-breaking year for sea turtle nesting in the Refuge and across the Southeastern U.S. All three species of sea turtles that nest in the Carr Refuge are just starting to show signs of recovery. The Carr Refuge in Brevard County is the worst possible place to allow dogs on the beach.

Although many staff members at STC are dog lovers, we oppose directing dogs to defecate in the very area where people and children take their shoes off and play in the sand. It is highly unsanitary for people and very dangerous for federally-protected sea turtles.

The Brevard County Commission is meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 6 to discuss this proposed plan. Please contact the Brevard County Commissioners listed below and let them know that you oppose opening up the Archie Carr Refuge to dogs.

District 1 Commissioner Rita Pritchett
321-607-6291
D1.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

District 2 Commissioner Bryan Lober (Vice Chair)
321-454-6601
D2.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

District 3 Commissioner John Tobia
321-633-2075
D3.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

District 4 Commissioner Curt Smith
321-633-2044
D4.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

District 5 Commissioner Kristine Isnardi (Chair)
321-253-6611
D5.Commissioner@BrevardFL.gov

STC Projects Benefit from Sea Turtle Grants Program (STGP)

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 2019, Sea Turtle Conservancy had two project proposals selected for funding.

2019

Green Turtle Seasonal Movements and Group Behavior in Florida’s Big Bend – $27,600.00 awarded

In the Florida Keys, green turtles have showed signs of herding or coordinated movements over seagrass habitat. It’s possible this also occurs in the Big Bend during warmer months (May–September), however, it’s unclear how frequent juvenile green turtles actually associate with each other. This project will use telemetry to determine migratory movements of juvenile green turtles due to changes in water temperatures and investigate localized group behavior during the spring, summer and fall. ARGOS satellite transmitters will be placed on juvenile green turtles that are captured at four different sites in the Big Bend. Their movement patterns will be analyzed using state-space models and ArcGIS spatial analysis tools. The results will help explain large scale seasonal movements as well as small scale group behavior that may be impacted in the future by climate change and the loss of habitat.

FWC Permit #118

Upgrading Sea Turtle Lighting Education Program – $18,930.00 awarded

Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) will refurbish and update the traveling lighting displays funded by the grants program in 2014. Since their creation, the displays have successfully been hosted at facilities throughout the state of Florida and have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people. The four portable displays have received considerable wear since they were first created and deployed. STC will work with the original graphics company to reprint the panel graphics; add a protective coating on each panel to prevent scratching; and repair and update damaged and outdated fixtures. Once the displays are repaired, STC will re-deploy them in high-traffic locations in southwest Florida, where STC will expand its separately-funded sea turtle lighting retrofit program. STC will also work with a video production company to create a short instructive video to further educate beachfront property owners about the importance of sea turtle lighting and how to be part of the solution. This video will be broadcast to targeted audiences in SW Florida through boosted social media postings.

To learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants program, visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.

 

Sea Turtle Nesting Season Tips & Turtle Walk Info

Photo credit: Rachel Smith

Nesting season officially kicked off on May 1st in Florida, where about 90% of sea turtle nesting in the U.S. takes place. Whether you are a Florida resident or are simply stopping by for summer vacation, this information will help you get the most out of our beautiful beaches while also being considerate of nesting sea turtles and hatchlings. Share this information with your beach-loving family and friends to ensure that our beaches can be safely and responsibly enjoyed by all!

Human threats that can interfere with the nesting and hatching process include:

  • Lights: keep them dim! Make sure that your beachfront property uses sea turtle-friendly lighting. You can also help by make sure that your drapes and blinds are closed at night to prevent sea turtles from wandering away from the ocean. Click here to learn more about STC’s Sea Turtle Friendly Lighting Program!
  • Holes: fill them in! Holes in the sand may be fun to dig during the day, but if left unfilled, nesting sea turtles and hatchlings can easily fall into them and become trapped at night. If you dig a hole or see one that has been left behind by someone else, please fill it in.
  • fwcSandcastles: knock them down! The flatter the beaches are, the easier it will be for nesting sea turtles and hatchlings to safely make it to and from the water. We know you worked very hard on your masterpiece and are sorry to see it go, but the turtles appreciate it.
  • Furniture: bring it in! You may have gotten a great spot on the beach and it may have been a lot of work to set up your chairs, umbrellas, tents, etc., but furniture left on the beach overnight can pose great danger for sea turtles. Nesting sea turtles can easily become trapped underneath these items and hatchlings can be misled by them while attempting to go to the ocean. Please keep the beaches clear and flat for sea turtles.
  • Trash and leftover food: pick it up!  Foxes, raccoon, coyotes and other animals can easily be attracted to beaches by what we leave behind. Unfortunately, they are also responsible for the destruction of thousands of sea turtle eggs each year. By leaving the beach clean you can help prevent predators from preying on sea turtle eggs and hatchlings. For more information on how you eliminate waste, visit TerraCycle.com or purchase one of our STC reusable bags.

Want a chance to see a nesting loggerhead sea turtle? Attend a Turtle Walk! STC’s Turtle Walks take place in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, starting at the Barrier Island Center in Melbourne Beach, FL. Participants have the chance to witness a nesting loggerhead sea turtle. Walks are conducted by STC on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights in June and July. Space is limited to 20 people per night. Cost is $15 per person. Click here to reserve your spot!