After several weeks of preparation, SCCF’s Sea Turtle Program celebrated its first day of the 2021 sea turtle season on April 15. Four teams of volunteers hit the beach to survey 18 miles of nesting habitat on Sanibel and Captiva.
Pictured here is long-time volunteer Frances Tutt giving a thumbs up on the first sunrise of the season.
“Last year, COVID restrictions postponed volunteer participation until mid-May, so we were thrilled to start the season as a full team,” said SCCF Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan.
The 2021 seasonal staff includes technicians Megan Reed and Courtney King and interns Hollis Hatfield and Sabrina Sorace. “Each of them has an impressive background with hands-on sea turtle experience, and we are excited to have them on our team,” Sloan said.
Sloan noted that during sunrise surveys, monitors have encountered a large amount of furniture left on the beach overnight. “All furniture needs to be removed by 9pm,” she noted, “and holes should be filled at the end of the day so nesting turtles don’t get injured or trapped.”
As of today, no nests or false crawls have been documented on Sanibel or Captiva. The first loggerhead nest on the Gulf coast was discovered today (April 21) on Manasota Key. The nest was found by Coastal Wildlife Club personnel at Charlotte County’s Stump Pass Beach State Park.
Click here to learn more about how you can help keep the beaches clean and safe for sea turtles.