Thursday, May 21, 2015

ANERR to Host Summer Long Lecture Series on Sea Turtles

~Learn about the intriguing habits of area sea turtles~

Apalachicola, FL – Sea turtle nesting season is here!  During the first week of May, sea turtle nests have been spotted on both St George Island and St. Vincent Island, and volunteers and staff are monitoring remaining area beaches for their crawls.  Each spring hundreds of these grand creatures arise from Gulf waters to lay their eggs on our sandy shores.  Most of the turtles that nest here are Loggerheads, Caretta caretta, but we do get some Green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas and Leatherback sea turtles, Dermochelys coriacea. Hatchlings will start to crawl out of their nests approximately two months after being laid and continue to emerge through October. On average there are 90 nests on Little St George and 150 nests on St. George every year.

Bruce Drye has been monitoring turtle nesting on St. George since 1990, after he retired from the St. George Island State Park.  At first a volunteer, he was later hired by ANERR to oversee the project each year. Bruce started the ANERR St. George Island Volunteer Turtlers which also help monitor the nests.

Two interns will be working with Bruce this season.  Amy Bergstrom from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area has been an intern at both the Racine Zoo and at the Milwaukee County Zoo, and Kallie Gannon, a senior at Eastern Michigan University, earning her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science.

Little St. George Island has been monitored by ANERR staff since 1988.  Megan Lamb with NOAA’s Environmental Cooperative Science Center has been assisting with turtle nesting on Little St. George since 2004, and overseeing the beach since 2009.

Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve will offer free weekly talks about sea turtles, their nesting habits, how the nests are identified, protected and how visitors and residents can help sea turtles have a successful nesting season, on Wednesdays at 2:00 PM.  Dates of the talks will be June 3,10,17,24 July, 1, 8,15,22,29 and August 5,12,19,26.  For more information call (850)670-7700.

WHAT: Nesting Sea turtles of Franklin County Beaches

WHEN: Every Wednesday in June, July and August, 2015, from 2:00-3:00pm

WHERE: 108 Island Drive, Eastpoint, Florida 32328