What's Happening?!

August Monthly Meeting

We will be having a BOARD MEMBERS ONLY Zoom Meeting due to Covid-19 on August 10th!
Upcoming Events:

Nothing on the horizon this month but stay tuned for turtley awesome events in the near future!
Nesting Season 2020 Update
FWCC Permitted Volunteers mask up for the sea turtles!
FWCC Permitted Volunteer Shelby Ferguson takes lead on an excavation dig of her first loggerhead nest in the Lower Keys.
Volunteers dig up the nest usually 2-3ft deep until they find the clutch of eggs. Each egg is counted and recorded for data collection for FWCC.

NOTE: ONLY those trained and permitted by the FWCC may conduct post hatch excavations.
It is illegal to disturb, touch or dig up turtle nests, eggs and hatchlings.
Even though 2020 hasn't been the best year for humans, the turtles seem to be doing A-Okay! Our Florida Keys beaches have seen a steady number of successful nests this year and our volunteers have had a blast excavating them for data collection! Excavations are usually very popular events to attend every nesting season, as spectators can come watch permitted volunteers dig up a marked sea turtle nest to count how many eggs were laid. Sadly, Covid-19 protocols haven't allowed us to continue with our normal traditions but we have managed allowing our Save-A-Turtle volunteers and permitted beach walkers to come join in the excitement. The beach walkers who discovered the nest have the opportunity to take lead on the excavation and are assisted by fellow volunteers who would like to help! Then the eggs are counted and recorded for Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission. This year, so far, we have had 5 loggerhead nests successfully hatch yielding 523 hatchlings on one of our permitted beaches. The largest nest this season yielded 138 eggs, 120 of them hatched!!! Once again, a huge thank you to all of our beach walkers and volunteers for staying so dedicated to our reptilian friends!!
Say Hello to Stevie!!
On May 28 th  2020, a female loggerhead emerged from the ocean during the night to deposit her precious cargo of eggs. She worked for hours, finding the right spot on the beach, digging and digging, then laying each egg one by one, continuing on to camouflage the nest perfectly. The following morning, the nest was discovered by our SAT FWCC Permitted Volunteers, and the nest was staked, data collected and monitored for the next 55+ days, through hatching.

The nest hatched on July 19 th , and a few days later, as permitted by the FWCC, the nest was excavated to collect data on the egg inventory within the clutch. On occasion, our volunteers come across live hatchlings that are stuck in the nest. They may have gotten tangled in roots or they may be a little too weak to make it out on their own, especially if they are at the bottom of the nest.

This particular excavation was a bit challenging though. We typically excavate 72 hours post hatch, but because of the location to vegetation (hence increased chance of root entanglement) and the storms that were battering the beach, we excavated 48 hours post hatch and came across “Stevie”.
Stevie was stuck in the nest, not in roots, but in a SEASHELL!! As she was emerging, she climbed right through the middle of a broken seashell which was preventing her from reaching the surface. The shell fit perfectly around her tiny shell and she appeared to be wearing a little tutu! Upon freeing he, she was placed in a bucket of sand while we completed the excavation. As we were trying to figure out how to safely remove the seashell, Stevie managed to wiggle out on her own! Whew!

Shelby, an SAT Volunteer and Sea Turtle Rehab specialist at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon was on hand for the excavation and deemed Stevie healthy and ready for release. But because of the storms and the extremely rough ocean conditions that evening, Stevie more than likely would have been washed back to shore and not survived, so we kept her cool and comfortable until the following night when the weather and waves calmed down. Just around sunset, we returned Stevie to the water and she swam away with mighty little flipper strokes heading towards a weed line in the open ocean.

We chose to name her Stevie in honor of one of our long time beach walker volunteers who spent many, many hours over the years walking the beach here in the Lower Keys, staking and monitoring nests and performing excavations herself. Stevie and her husband Jerry, also an SAT Volunteer recently moved out of the Keys and we all miss them so very much.

Cheers to both of our Stevie’s! And flippers up to all of our dedicated volunteers who help save sea turtles every single day.
Check out the live video of Stevie’s release on our FB page (Link provided below.)
Incubating Success: Examining Sea Turtle Nests
Incubating Success: Examining Sea Turtle Nests -...

Beginning with its founder Eleanor Fletcher's early research, Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) has a long history of innovative and exploratory sea turtle research. Over the course of the Center's 36 years, LMC's research department has...

Read more
Meet Barrel Bag!

Barrel Bags produces a compact, sustainable cleanup bag. Their bags are manufactured in the USA with fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. This washable and easy-to-use mesh bag was developed so ocean lovers and outdoor enthusiasts can pick up some of the 5 trillion pieces of plastic that currently litter recreational areas and beaches around the world. With their bag, every day is a cleanup day! It serves as a physical reminder to pick up after ourselves and others when we go outside to enjoy nature. The Barrel Bag team is made up of a grassroots collaboration of passionate people working to make a difference in our world. They employ high school and college interns who are passionate about the environment, our oceans, and are seeking real work experiences.

Save-A-Turtle would like to thank Los Cayos Apparel for donating these fantastic barrel bags for our future beach clean-ups!
Help Save-A-Turtle keep our Keys clean by joining us in a brand new virtual beach clean-up campaign!!
Take a photo of you & your trash collection, post it on social media, tag us (FB: Save a turtle org or IG: @Saveaturtleflkeys), use the hashtag #KeepOurKeysClean & challenge your friends and family to join in the fun!

Check out our Beach Clean-up Scavenger Hunt (see below) for our Tiny Turtle Lovers!!
Beach & shoreline clean-ups all around the world are being cancelled every month because of Covid-19. Now, more than ever, it's important that we get out there and help clean it up! That is why we are encouraging our SAT family to safely help collect trash and pollution in our beautiful Keys community!! Remember to always wear masks, social distance and limit to 10 people per gathering.
Facts about Baby Sea Turtles

  1. Baby sea turtles are known as hatchlings.
  2. It's estimated that only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood.
  3. Sea turtle hatchlings eat a variety of prey including things like mollusks and crustaceans, hydrozoans, sargassum sea weed, jellyfish, and fish eggs. Unfortunately, hatchlings also mistake garbage and objects like tar balls as food and ingest them.
  4. Hatchlings use the natural light horizon over the ocean along with the white crests of the waves to reach the water when they emerge from the nest.
  5. Once out of the nest, hatchlings face many predators including ghost crabs, birds, raccoons, dogs, and fish.
  6. Many scientists are concerned that rising global temperatures will result in warmer sand, causing more female than male baby turtles.
  7. The Florida Keys primarily sees Loggerhead nests.
  8. Sea turtle hatchlings are naturally born darker in color to camouflage from predators which is called countershading,
  9. Sea turtles are born solitary, meaning they are completely on their own from the day they're born.
  10. The beach where a female sea turtle is born will be the same beach they will lay their eggs once they are become sexually mature.

Swim with a Local
Underwater Exploring is a Florida Keys based business that provides underwater photography and videography. Owner, Mike Papish, has lived in the Keys for 20 years and is an avid diver. His videos with his sea turtle friends have generated thousands of views on social media! To see more incredible Florida Keys underwater videos, click the button below!!

What is your name? Sherri Crilly

How old are you? 57

Where are you from? Toms River New Jersey I have been
living in the keys for 6 years. 

What do you do for a living? Retired health club owner 

What beach do you survey for sea turtle nesting season? Long Beach in BPK

How many years have you volunteered for SAT? Since 2016

What made you decide to become a beach walker? I saw an ad in the local paper calling out for volunteers and thought it would be a fun and interesting experience.
 Little did I know at the time how life changing being a part of Save-A-Turtle would be! I have since become a member of the board and am currently the VP. I am also the FWC Marine Turtle Permit Holder for Big Pine Key.  

Whats your favorite species of turtle and why? Loggerhead. Sea turtles are not social animals whatsoever. But when I am lucky enough to encounter a loggerhead while snorkeling, they seem to want to check me out long enough to provide me just enough time to marvel at their grace and fluidity in the water. And to get a few photos too! 

Why do you love sea turtles? I love all marine life! I find every species fascinating in their own way, including sea turtles. 

What is your best eco-friendly tip?
We buy a lot of fruits and vegetables and it always made me crazy to use so many plastic bags in the grocery store for my purchases. I found reusable drawstring produce bags that I absolutely love and they wash beautifully. Invest in a set and you will not regret it.

Sherri loves spending time in nature and taking stunning photos of all the locals in her backyard as seen pictured above.
Turtle Hospital Update
August brought many tourist to the Florida Keys, especially during Mini Lobster Season. As usual, the Turtle Hospital was inundated with phone calls reporting injured sea turtles due to boat strikes! Four patients were admitted. Sadly, none survived the boat prop injuries. Please be safe on the water and please watch out for marine life. Sea turtles, manatees and dolphins breathe air and have to surface to take a breath.
Nesting season has also brought in many baby sea turtle patients! Most sea turtle hatchlings are brought to the hospital because they were either found in the nest post emergence or they wash back on shore possibly due to a health issue or birth defect. Once the hatchlings are deemed healthy, they will be released offshore in a big patch of sargassum sea grass!
If you see a sea turtle in distress in the Florida Keys call our 24 hour stranding hotline at 305-481-7669 or FWCC at 888-404-FWCC and if you don’t remember any of the phone numbers, you can radio the US Coast Guard on VHF from your boat.

The Turtle Hospital is a Florida Keys non-profit orginization that helps rescue, rehabiltiate and release sea turtles. Click the logo above to visit their website for more info.
We are looking for pictures & photos from our Save-A-Turtle Family! Do you have any photos of sea turtles, nests or turtle tracks? If so, please e-mail them to: Melissa_goldblatt@yahoo.com
Report Sick, Injured or Dead Sea Turtles in Florida- Call FWCC at 888-404-FWCC