We are very much committed to the education and outreach portion of our mission. We participate in local fairs and festivals, host educational events on the beach for homeschool and other groups, visit schools, and visit with community groups. In addition, every Tuesday at 4 pm, we do a "Turtle Talk" at the Guy Harvey Outpost on St. Pete Beach. Our permit from FWC allows us to display specimens of sea turtle skulls and carapaces to help teach people about sea turtles. We tailor our talks to the age range of the group we're visiting, all the way from kindergarten to adult.
There's a ton of work to be done. We've only just begun as a nonprofit organization in the past few years, and would graciously accept help. We need help in data management, nonprofit administration, fundraising, craft projects and more.
If you have some time to help, we'll gladly bring you aboard. No need for prior experience or to a commit to a schedule. You can even help remotely! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Sea turtle strandings can occur any time of the year but tend to increase during the winter months. There can be many causes of strandings - cold-stun (in the winter), injury, illness. When sea turtles strand alive, it is critical that we get to them quickly and secure them for transport to an authorized rehabilitation facility such as Clearwater Marine Aquarium or Mote Marine Aquarium. We also need to gather critical data to report to FWC. Even in the case of dead strandings, we capture and report the data. In some cases, we salvage the sea turtle and bring it to FWC. Other times, we may bury or otherwise dispose of the turtle, depending on the direction we receive from FWC.
This is the bulk of or work and where we are busiest during the months of April through October. If you would like to become part of the nesting team, please complete the volunteer application. We'll have volunteer orientations again starting in April. Until then, if you sign up, now, the volunteer coordinator will send you an email with links to a tutorial, you'll take a brief test and then you're an official volunteer. Of course we would still like you to show up in person for one of the first orientations. You'll start out by walking with one of our more experienced walkers, taking a ride in the Jeep with Bruno or Joe, or going over to Shell Key with other volunteers. Please note, only the volunteers on the permit (aka "staff") will ever be allowed to directly engage with the nest, eggs, cages, or hatchlings. You'll need to complete a full season with us before we will consider adding you to the permit in the following season, and even then, there is no guarantee. It is entirely at the discretion of the Permit Holder (Bruno) who he will add to the permit, as he is responsible for the training and supervision of that person and all the work he or she does.
So, if you aren't going to be handling turtles, why do we still need your help as a new volunteer for morning patrol? Our walkers are often the first people to identify location of turtle tracks, before the jeep gets there on St. Pete Beach, and are the ones who will be investigating Shell Key looking for tracks. Only the staff will locate a clutch of eggs (when necessary) but the other volunteers will be helping with data collection, documentation, transportation of nest staking and caging materials, etc.
Similarly, we need help from both staff (on the permit) and non-staff volunteers for night-time nest sitting. It can get quite busy, especially during the late July and early August time frame as there are several nests potentially hatching ("live") on the same days. Nest sitters are important to us because they are the first to notice any change in the nest and contact the Captain (staff) on duty that night. The Captain may be monitoring several nests in the area, so we rely heavily on the nest sitting volunteers to watch and protect the nests.