Turtle Tracks Newsletter May 2018
June Monthly Meeting
"Health of the Coral Reef Post Irma"
Monday, June 4th 6:30pm
MOTE Marine, Summerland Key
Presented by Dr. David Vaughn of MOTE.

Dr. Dave Vaughan is a Senior Scientist and manager of the Coral Restoration program at the Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration. Dr. Vaughan directed research and education programs previously at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and the Oceanic Institute.
This is a great opportunity to not only learn about the reef post Irma, but to see the amazing work that Dr. Vaughn and the Staff at MOTE are doing to grow new corals and to visit this amazing facility!

PLEASE NOTE: Meeting this month is at MOTE Marine, NOT the Turtle Hospital.
Our Board Members Have Been Busy!
Our Board members participated in multiple events in the Florida Keys during the months of March, April and May. Lots of it was hard, dirty work, but they loved every minute of it!

Outdoor Fest 2018, Big Pine Key: Save A Turtle set up a booth at the new Nature Center and were able to peak inside of the new building- We are looking forward to opening of the center. We signed up some new beach walkers and met lots of great folks.

The Conch Republic Marine Army came out to work along side some of the board members and other volunteers in the community to help clean up the Coupon Bight. This is wear our Turtle Trailer landed after Irma. We were able to make our way out there and clean it out. Unfortunately, there wasn't much left to salvage. However, TONS of debris were removed from this delicate area including appliances, large pieces of homes, furniture, mattresses, and pretty much anything else you have in homes including kitchen sinks.Thanks to Monroe County who provided collection trucks for all of the debris.
Board members traveled up to Sea Oats Beach to meet up with other local volunteers with the Sand Bag project. Sea Oats beach lies right on US 1 and due to storm damage from Irma, a critical barrier protecting sea turtles from the highway was decimated. Volunteers and the City placed a fencing along the highway so that nesting turtles would stay off of US 1. The next phase of this project was to place sand bags at the bottom of the fence so that the turtles do not go under the fence while looking for the perfect nesting site. State Representative Holly Raschein was even on site placing sand bags to help the Sea Turtles.
We also attended the MOTE Marine Ocean Fest in Key West, where we set up a large display for sea turtle education, sold quite a bit of merchandise including reusable shopping bags and straws, and hosted a Sea Turtle Painting Contest for kids. Wyland judged the kids art work, and the winning paintings will be printed in a 2019 calendar later this year, which we will sell as a fundraiser. Watch for it! You're gonna love it!
Skip the Straw Campaign
Many local businesses are committing to Skip the Straw....
and we couldn't be happier! Plastics are a huge problem not only in the US, but globally as well. The US accounts for 42% of the Loggerhead population worldwide, and 90% of these Loggerheads are in Florida! Take the pledge today to Skip the Straw and bravo to our local business who have joined the effort!

Ocearch to Include Sea Turtle Study on Next Expedition
Expedition Gulf Stream Drift
Don’t Fear the Fin & Flippers Up!

Save-A-Turtle board members had the opportunity to meet Chris Fischer, Founder and Expedition Leader of Ocearch during a presentation at MOTE Marine. “Expedition Gulf Stream Drift” begins May 25th from Key West and will drift along the Gulf Stream Up to Cape Hattaras, NC.
In addition to tagging and sampling sharks for the North Atlantic White Shark Study, Raymond Carthy, Ph.D. of The University of Florida, will be joining them to observe and study sea turtles and sargassum grass. When hatchlings make their way to the ocean, they will swim non-stop for a very long way, until they reach sargassum grass in the Gulf Stream, where they will float along for the next few years until they are large enough to survive in the open water. Sargassum grass helps to protect the babies from predators, while supplying them with the nutrition they need to grow. Dr. Carthy hopes to be able to observe some hatchlings and juvenile sea turtles during this drift.

Several other scientists are aboard to collect data regarding plastics, the health of the ocean, and various marine creatures as well. Huge shout out to all of these folks for their work to help preserve our oceans! 

Click here for full details on Expedition Gulf Stream Drift or follow them on IG for daily updates.
Turtle Nesting Updates
Turtle nesting season is off to a bit of a slow start in the Keys, but no worries! We do have a few that have come up in the past 2 weeks, along with a Leatherback! Yippe! Flippers Up! Hopefully by the time the next newsletter is published we will have more to report.
Nesting Reports 2017

Here are the long awaited stats for Florida
Loggerhead 96,912 Nests
Green 53,102 Nests
Leatherback 663 Nests
Hawksbill 2 Nests

Renew your membership
Don't Forget to renew your annual membership! Membership fees go 100% into the conservation of Sea Turtles.
Check out our newly designed website!
Its Flipper Fantastic!
Warning: the Awww factor on the Videos Page is pretty high!