The Beaches Watch Board of Directors is pleased to announce the Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol has been selected to be the recipient of the 9th Annual Beaches Watch Give-Back donation and will be presented a check in the amount of $1,000 at the Beaches Watch meeting on Wednesday, December 5 at 7pm in the Community Room of the Beaches Branch Library, 600 3rd St., Neptune Beach. Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol representatives will be in attendance to receive the donation and to make a presentation about the work being done by their organization. The public is invited to attend to learn more about the Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol.
Started in the 80’s by Mort and Jan Hansen, the Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol consists of 40 volunteers who monitor sea turtle nests from April 15 to October 31. Volunteers give their time to attend workshops certified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), patrol the beaches of Atlantic, Jacksonville and Neptune Beach to monitor sea turtle nests and they protect the hatchlings during emergence. During sea turtle nesting season, volunteers also transport stranded turtles and “washback” hatchlings to Whitney Labs or Jekyll Island Turtle hospitals.
The Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol organization’s goal is to keep the sea turtle population from experiencing a downward trend which could be irreversible. They work to achieve that goal by reducing the disturbance and harassment of nesting sea turtles by educating the public about the hazards of night-time beach activities and beachfront lighting; increasing the hatchling survival rate by educating the public about the dangers of lighting, human intervention and pollution; contributing data to the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network and FWC.
In his nomination, Kevin Brown stated, “as a member of both organizations, I understand how protecting a keystone species can add to the aesthetic conditions of the beach. By monitoring a protected species we have to maintain the areas that the species nest and the quality of our dune system needs to be pristine. I believe this works hand and hand with the quality of life in our community.”
The money from the Beaches Watch Give Back donation will mean a lot to the Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol organization because they don’t receive any local, state or federal funding and are totally reliant on individual donations to support their efforts. With the Give-Back donation, the Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol will be able to pay for upkeep of the ATVs used to patrol the beaches, as well as purchase materials needed to protect the nests and educate the public.
The Beaches Watch annual Give-Back donation supports outstanding nonprofit organizations that help enrich the quality of life of beaches residents. “Beaches Watch is proud to present this Give-Back donation to the Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol to show our appreciation for all they are doing to enhance the quality of life for our beaches communities. We hope this donation will help them continue the great work they are doing to protect our endangered sea turtles,” said Beaches Watch Interim President Maria Mark.