July 13th, 2020
July Newsletter
Event Updates: COVID-19
Normally, Friends of the Carr Refuge is very active during the nesting season with many amazing events. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted most of these events. Below is an update on their status.

March into Turtle Season: We are happy to announce that this popular event will be completely online this year! We have turned it into a Turtle Happy Hour, complete with everything you know and love from the original. Coming soon in late August, this online event will have a silent auction, guest speakers, and a themed drink you can make at home!
Turtle Walks: Cancelled
Turtle Digs: Currently trying to make them CDC compliant for all our Friends to enjoy!

Any updates on the status of these events will be given as it becomes available through our emailing list, Facebook, and Instagram pages. If you are not already, please join our mailing list and follow us on our social media pages using the links provided below.

Thankfully the stay at home order does not prohibit sea turtles from nesting! Like always, the turtles have been very busy this nesting season!
Nest Count Update - July 10, 2020
Nest counts are provided by UCF Marine Turtle Research Group, Sebastian Inlet State Park and Ecological Research, Inc. for the 20.5 miles of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.

Approximately 1500 new Loggerhead nests and 900 new Green nests were reported during the past week! No new Leatherback nests have been observed since mid-June however.

According to Chris Long of UCF, "Green turtles have taken us very much by surprise this season, we’ve counted our third most nests ever through this point of the season. " Amazing numbers near the peak of the nesting season!
Photo: Plastic Free July

Learn more about the plastics you use in everyday life, and how to take action in this online quiz!
Plastic Free July
Have you heard? It's Plastic Free July! Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities!

Why do we need a solution? Everyday 8 million pieces of plastic pollution finds their way into the ocean. This plastic has a negative impact to our environment. For example, recent studies have shown plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles studied. Unfortunately, there are countless examples of plastic pollution's impact on our environment. Which is why this movement was created to spread awareness! Trash is out of sight, out of mind for most of us. We throw it away and never see it again. Follow these simple ways to reduce your plastic waste and help save a sea turtle!

  • Refuse plastic shopping bags: Always carry one of those reusable bags you have and use them at the grocery store, convenience store (for that one item you can definitively carry), retail stores, and with take out!
  • Refuse single use cups: Bring your own to go cup to your favorite local coffee shop, or take a break and dine in!
  • Refuse bottled water: Take a reusable water bottle everywhere you go!

Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics? Join us and take the challenge today!
Species Spotlight: Horseshoe Crab
Horseshoe Crabs, or Limulus polyphemus, are found in the Indian River Lagoon along the western shore of the refuge. Despite the name, this living fossil is not a crustacean like true crabs. It's actually a marine and brackish water arthropod in a subphylum that is more closely related to spiders.

During the spring high tide breeding season, this species lays its eggs at the water’s edge and provides an important food source for migrating shorebirds. Sadly, Horseshoe Crabs have undergone a dramatic decline due to harvesting for bait and biomedical uses, habitat loss, and pollution. Little is still known on the population that lives in the southern half of the Indian River Lagoon.

Learn more about Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch, a citizen science project supported by FWRI and the University of Florida. 
Photo: Florida Audubon Society
Shorebirds on the Refuge
There is more to the Archie Carr Refuge then sea turtles. In fact, there is more than 140 species of birds that have been documented here! Migratory birds use the Refuge as a stopover point, and our habitats support a variety of species. Water birds, wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl and several raptors are found on the refuge.

Shorebirds are commonly found along the shorelines and mudflats where they wade in order to forage for food in the mud or sand. Unfortunately these birds face a lot of threats and some species have seen population declines. Reasons include habitat loss, pollution, global warming, and beach disturbances.

Next time you take a walk along the Refuge shore, look out for these shorebirds! Learn some common nesting shore birds that can be found on our beaches using the link below!
Photo: Alex Fox/Smithsonian Mag
Sea Turtle News:
Rare Hawksbill-Green sea turtle
Maisy is a rare hybrid hawksbill-green sea turtle that was rescued in the Lower Keys and rehabilitated at the Turtle Hospital. She was suffering from fibropapillomatosis, but is now tumor free with the addition of a satellite tag! YAY!

Maisy is apart of Tour de Turtles, an online turtle race put on by the Sea Turtle Conservancy. The winner of the race will be the first turtle to swim the farthest during the migration marathon! The race begins on August 1st, and will include eight other non-leatherback sea turtles. The Leatherback Tour de Turtles already began on June 16, World Sea Turtle Day!

Follow Maisy's track at the link below, until Tour de Turtles begins on August 1st!
Photo: Charlie Shoemaker/The Pew Charitable Trusts
Advocacy Corner:
Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve
On June 29th, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a legislation to protect about 400,000 acres of seagrass beds off Florida's west coast. A win for conservation!

This Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve is the first to be designated in more than 30 years! It is an extension to the St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve in Crystal River. This conservation land protects water quality, wildlife habitat, and the gulf coast ecosystems that support activities responsible for $600 million annually for the economy.

"The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve is an essential tool in keeping our marine environment healthy,” - Mike Desabrais, Port Hudson Fishing Club
Curious about joining Friends of the Carr Refuge?

If you are not already a member, we invite you to join us today! Helping the Carr turtles is not the only benefit of membership. Normally, we plan "members only" events throughout the year and offer early registration to members for our Turtle Walks and Digs! Use the button below to learn about our various membership levels or make a one-time donation. Don't forget to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram!