Celebrate World Sea Turtle Day
June 16 is World Sea Turtle Day!
Florida is home to five species of sea turtles! Many of the 100 miles of beaches protected by Florida State Parks provide nesting habitat for sea turtles. You can celebrate with us by checking out our critter sheets, coloring pages and a turtle-y awesome episode of The Outsiders Club.
Why do we celebrate?
Sea turtles are endangered. Even with laws in place to protect them, these amazing creatures remain vulnerable to many threats, including loss of nesting habitat, ocean plastics and light pollution.
However, Florida has made huge strides in defending sea turtles. Florida State Parks rangers and volunteers work everyday to make our beaches safe for the turtles and tell their story of survival.
Signs of sea turtles
Sea turtle nesting season takes place between March and October. During this time, mother sea turtles come on shore at night to lay their eggs in the sand.
At major nesting sites like John D. MacArthur Beach State Park and Cayo Costa State Park, park staff and volunteers count and record sea turtle activity every morning. Each species makes a distinctive crawl pattern which help rangers identify the species and nest location.
These seasonal counts help our state determine the success of conservation programs and plan for the future.
Check out this story to learn more about counting sea turtles in Florida State Parks.
What can I do?
If you’re headed to the beach this summer, chances are you’re visiting a nesting habitat. Below are simple things that everyone can do to share Florida's beaches with sea turtles and hatchlings:
- Give nesting adults and their hatchlings space and take care not to disturb them.
- Turn off artificial lighting near beaches at night during nesting season and use turtle-friendly lights approved by FWC.
- Properly dispose of food items to decrease predation from wildlife.
- Properly dispose of debris like fishing line, netting and plastics.
- Keep obstacles such as beach furniture off the beach during nesting season.
- Participate in beach cleanup events.
- Avoid buying items derived from sea turtles.
- Buy a turtle license plate to raise money for the protection of sea turtles.
- Learn more about sea turtles and share what you learn with others!
Explore these resources to learn more about sea turtles in Florida.
Natural Community Coloring Sheets
Florida Sea Turtles Coloring Sheet
Florida Sea Turtles Critter Sheets
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