Sea Turtle Program at Full Capacity

25 Feb 2021

 
 
 
Sea turtle nesting season on our islands is just around the corner and preparation is underway! One important component of preseason planning is volunteer recruitment and scheduling.
 
The immense amount of work required to survey all of Sanibel and Captiva from April 15 through October is made possible by the efforts of a group of very dedicated volunteers. Nearly 100 SCCF volunteers contribute to sea turtle monitoring, with many returning to devote their time year after year.
 
Over the last several years, SCCF has experienced an unprecedented rise in new volunteer registration. While this increased interest is incredibly encouraging for the program and for the conservation of vulnerable sea turtles, this influx of new requests also presents a challenge: more passionate people than opportunities to participate.
Our survey structure is designed by Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the number of volunteer positions available is defined by its format, explained SCCF Coastal Wildlife Biologist Jack Brzoza. Currently, the number of names on the waitlist, some of whom signed up several years ago, has eclipsed 100—more than our entire group of active volunteers. Only a few volunteer openings occur each year and the later waitlist additions may be several seasons out from participating.
 
“We regret that we can no longer accept new volunteer requests or add to the waitlist at this time,” Brzoza said. “Unfortunately, it’s not possible to involve all of the wonderful members of our community offering to volunteer their time in a way that would provide everyone with a meaningful sea turtle volunteer experience.” Amidst this challenge, the influx of support we've seen through volunteer requests has proven once again that our community is exceptionally encouraging and passionate.