Be a sea turtle hero at Navarre Beach
How can you be a sea turtle hero while visiting Navarre Beach?
All seven species of sea turtles are either listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered of becoming extinct. Four of the seven can be found nesting on Navarre Beach when conditions are favorable – and by conditions, we mean beach visitor behavior.
The four that are commonly observed on Navarre Beach are Loggerheads, Greens, Leatherbacks and the rarest and smallest of all – the Kemp’s Ridley. Nesting season runs through our typical tourist season (May – October), and our visitors can make the biggest impact in saving our precious sea turtles.
The Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center says you can be a superhero for sea turtles and here is how:
- Pick up trash! Properly dispose of any trash you bring to the beach. Sea turtles feed on jellyfish and your trash (bags, balloons) can be mistaken for food if it finds its way to the water. If you are fishing, throw away any excess fishing line. This can entangle a sea turtle. Trash and fishing line can be deadly for a sea turtle. Picking up trash is the heroic thing to do.
- Leave it flat. After a day of digging or building sandcastles, knock it down. Leave the sand flat. Sea turtles come ashore at night to nest and any obstacles will cause them to go back into the water, or worse, become trapped in a hole they cannot escape. Hatchlings may also become trapped trying to get to the water. Sea turtle heroes leave the sand flat.
- Lights out! Don’t use flashlights on the beach at night. We know it is fun to hunt down ghost crabs on the beach, but flashlights will discourage nesting on the beach and will disorient a sea turtle to find its way back to the water. You can, however, use a red filter over your flashlight and be the sea turtle hero!
- Leave no trace! Don’t leave your beach stuff out at night. Pick up your chairs, tents, umbrellas. Sea turtles cannot back up and they have a cumbersome time moving on land. The turtles can get entangled and trapped in a chair or tent causing them to abandon nesting or even become injured. Picking up your beach stuff will help you earn your cape!
- Do not disturb! At Navarre Beach, nests are roped off to mark their location and preserve the nest of precious little ones waiting to hatch. If you see a nesting sea turtle or are lucky enough to see hatchlings, stand behind the turtle and out of their line of sight. Do not use a flashlight or any flash photography. Observe quietly and notify Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (*FWC from your cell phone). Be the hero!
- Tell others! Recruit more heroes by sharing information and educating them on how to be a sea turtle hero!
The Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center is a place you truly must visit when you come to Navarre Beach. They are located just inside the Navarre Beach Marine Park and would love to tell you about being a hero for sea turtles.
Enjoy this amazing video of a Loggerhead nesting just down the beach at Fort Pickens.