I am going to run the 5 km Turtle Trek race on Saturday September 29th to support the Charleston Sea Turtle Hospital! This is the 3rd annual race, which takes place on the beach at the Isles of Palms County Park. I am excited to be a part of this race for the third year!
The sea turtle hospital at the South Carolina Aquarium has rehabilitated and released over 255 patients back to the ocean. If you have not seen the new Zucker Family Recovery Center in the aquarium, I would highly suggest it. They have fun interactive displays and you are even able to see the patients up close.
If you would like to support the sea turtle hospital, you can click on the "Donate" button below to be taken to my fundraising page. Thanks for caring for our sea turtles!
Our two summer interns, Jill & Skyler, have headed back home as their last year of school starts soon. They were amazing additions to our EBSP turtle patrol team and they will be missed! We look forward to seeing what the future holds for them!
Our last nest was found almost two weeks ago, so chances are we are done now for the season with 109 nests and 93 false crawls. It is full swing for hatchlings as we have already inventoried 48 nests (44%). If you would like to come see us inventory nests, you can come to our public inventory programs on Wednesday and Friday evening at 6:30 PM. For more information and to make sure the program is being held, please call our Environmental Learning Center at 843-869-4430, this program is free with park admission.
Earlier this year at the Young Naturalist end of the school year party, I asked them to draw pictures of sea turtles. We added some informational text to the pictures and have put them up in Edisto. See if you can spot some the next time you visit the ELC, the water station, and some of the restaurants around town.
Check out the video below to learn about the issues facing the green sea turtles in Florida.
Blog Post By: Jillian Sower, Summer Sea Turtle Intern
On Sunday the 29th, we had the opportunity to visit the Sea Turtle Care Center located in the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston. One of our volunteers, Sherry, is also a volunteer for the sea turtle hospital and was able to give us a tour. I took quite a few pictures of the patients, but am unfortunately unable to post them at the request of the hospital.
The hospital has quite a few patients. They have loggerheads and green sea turtles, as well as a Kemp’s Ridley or two. It was an amazing experience to see these turtles in the daylight; I’ve really only seen sea turtles at night during our night walks when the visibility is low and when the turtles are usually covered in sand. These turtles, though typically recovering from injuries, each seemed to have their own unique personalities. My two favorites that I saw were Professor McGonagall and Hedwig, both loggerheads (most of the patients were named after characters from the Harry Potter series). Although they were recovering, they were both active and friendly. They came to the side of the tanks where we stood and seemed very curious about us. Hedwig swam around the tank, in constant motion, while we were there, while McGonagall seemed content to remain along the one side of his tank.
Although it was very exciting for me to see these turtles, and educational, as I’d never seen a green sea turtle in person before, it’s sobering to remember that these turtles’ injuries were mostly caused by people, such as boat motor strikes and fishing net entanglement. You can read a little more about each turtle and their issues at scaquarium.org/sea-turtle-care-center/. You can also use this website to donate to the Care Center and/or become a Sea Turtle Guardian.
Once we finished viewing the sea turtle patients, we went and explored the aquarium. The facility is home to many species of animals, such as sharks, many fish, sea horses, starfish, sting rays, and other non-oceanic animals, like turtles, snakes, and an albino alligator. It was fun to see all of these species and to read about them. The albino alligator was really cool to see; though I have to say I was disappointed with the otters – they seemed more content to nap in their logs than to come out and swim around. The aquarium also has an awesome gift shop 😊.
If you ever find yourself in Charleston, definitely take the time to go to the aquarium. It’s very educational and fun too, especially seeing unique species like the recovering sea turtles located in the aquarium’s recovery area. Also to make sure to clean up after yourselves when you’re on the beach, to recycle, and to use less single-use plastics to prevent sea turtles from consuming plastic pollution in the ocean!
We thought that our turtles may be done nesting after nest 107 as we had not had a new nest in a few days. However, Friday morning we found nest 108 and then nest 109 was found on Sunday morning. We are happy to have a couple more nests on our state park beach. We typically get our last nest in the first week of August, so chances are the nesting season is done now. Although, our turtles can always surprise us.
It is now full swing for the hatchlings! We have had over 30 nests emerge on our state park beach. Remember if you are on the beach at night to only use red lights. The bright red lights can be disorientating to hatchlings as well so if they seem more interested in the red lights than the ocean, be sure to turn them off and keep still as they crawl on by.
We still have our inventory programs every Wednesday and Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to call our Environmental Learning Center (843-869-4430) to make sure there are nests to be inventoried and for more information!
We had our last night walk of the 2018 sea turtle season! This was our 25th night walk, which means we took out approximately 750 participants and walked close to 75 miles!
Last night we did not get to see any turtle activity. The two nest emergences happened early as we missed seeing them on the walk to the inlet. The following morning, there was no new nest or false crawl seen and just those two nests that hatched. It was a beautiful night though for our last walk of the season. Thank-you to those that supported our sea turtle program by attending our night walks and/or purchasing a night walk t-shirt.
Stay tuned for more night walks next year! Remember they run every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in June & July. We start taking reservations for them in May already. So plan in advance to ensure your spot!
Sea Turtle Specialist