On Earth Day, April 22, 2018, as part of our upcoming Blue Table Initiative, Loggerhead Marinelife Center has partnered with local restaurants and The City of West Palm Beach Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to go #StrawFreewithLMC For this event, the restaurants listed have agreed to refrain from offering plastic straws to their patrons on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2018, to help increase public awareness of the need to eliminate single-use plastics, such as straws. In one day, this event will eliminate an estimated 15,000 straws from potentially entering the marine environment and posing a threat to sea turtles and other marine wildlife.
While plastic straws are called “disposable,” they last forever and are among the top 10 items collected globally during beach cleanup events. Already in 2018, LMC and partner organizations removed over 1,700 straws from Florida beaches. However, plastic pollution is much more than a litter problem. Sea turtles and other marine life are becoming ill and often dying from ingesting plastic, mistaking it for food.
So this Sunday, April 22nd, please join us by going #StrawFreeWithLMC and celebrate Earth Day by skipping the straw, and saving a sea turtle!
Jupiter Participating Restaurants:
- The Center Street Nook
- The Marriott Palm Beach Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa
- Duke’s Lazy Loggerhead Cafe
- Surf Taco
- Jetty’s Waterfront Restaurant
- Rancho Chico
- Tequesta Brewing Company
- Twisted Trunk Brewing
- Corner Cafe
- Nick & Johnny’s Osteria
- Hurricane Cafe
- Dive Bar Restaurant
- Calaveras Cafe
- Jupiter Beach Resort
- Juno Beach Cafe
- Chowder Heads
- Little Moir’s Food Shack
- Tommy Bahama
- Jupiter Fish House
- Lou’s Bar & Grill
- Time to Eat Diner
- Baldino’s Italian Restaurant
- Jupiter Hills Golf Club
- Papa Kwans Coffee Shop
- Cafe Des Artistes
West Palm Beach Participating Restaurants:
- Palm Sugar
- Leila Restaurant
- Pizza Girls
- ER Bradley’s
- 123 Datura
- Clematis Pizza
- Nico’s Pizza
- City Pizza Italian Cuisine
- Copper Blues
- Brother Jimmy’s BBQ
Nesting season is here- so don your red lights and test out your nesting season knowledge!
1. I want to see a sea turtle nesting, what’s the best way to do this?
Sign up for a Turtle Walk at Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Starting in May, Loggerhead Marinelife Center hosts regularly scheduled Turtle Walks to help you get up close and personal with nesting sea turtles. Space is limited, so sign up today!
Wait for the full moon and walk up and down the beach all night
Hide in the bushes and jump out when you see one coming up the beach
2. Why is it important to keep beach front lights off, and shades pulled shut during nesting season?
Artificial lights can disorient potential nesting sea turtles and hatchlings
Artificial lights produced by humans can disorient and confuse nesting sea turtles and sea turtle hatchling. Turtles use light produced by the moon to guide them back to the water, and when artificial lighting is brighter, turtles will follow that light instead; leading them into the road, swimming pools, storm drains etc. By keeping the lights off and switching to red lights instead, you can help prevent sea turtles from getting lost.
The sea turtles might try to come inside for dinner if they see that you’re home
A sea turtle’s carapace, or shell, is very sensitive to light.
3. How do female sea turtles pick a nesting beach?
The beach with the least trash
The beach with the nicest shells
They have magnetite crystals in their skulls that act as a “GPS” to lead them back to the beach they hatched on
Female sea turtles will actually lay their eggs on the exact same beach they hatched themselves! This is why it is so important to allow hatchlings to crawl down the beach to the water by themselves. When they crawl across the sand, they “imprint” and are able to find that beach many years later.
4. When digging holes or making sand castles on the beach, you should:
Leave them there so others will be impressed by your hole digging and sandcastle building skills
Build giant walls around them to prevent people and sea turtles from ruining them.
Sleep in them overnight
Knock down sandcastles, fill in holes, and remove beach furniture
After playing on the beach, always be sure to knock down your sandcastles and fill in any holes. In the dark, nesting sea turtles and hatchlings are unable to see huge holes and can potentially fall in and get stuck, wasting precious energy they need to survive in the ocean. Sandcastles can prevent hatchling sea turtles from reaching the water by blocking their paths or slowing them down- allowing predators like crabs, birds, racoons, etc. to easily catch them. It is also incredibly important to take all beach chairs and other leisure equipment with you when you leave the beach, turtles can become trapped in them and get seriously injured.
5. When female turtles are nesting, they shed tears and look like they’re crying, but the turtle is really:
Crying because of all of the trash in the ocean
Keeping flies and small bugs out of her eyes
Crying because she will never meet her babies
Secreting extra salt from her body
When female sea turtles lay eggs, a stream of “tears” runs down their faces. These tears are actually the result of glands in their eyes that expel salt ions from their bodies. Because sea turtles drink saltwater, they need a way to rid themselves of excess salt. We only really ever see sea turtles naturally out of the water when nesting or in some cases sunning themselves, so we only really see them “crying” when laying eggs.
6. If you spot a nesting sea turtle on the beach, you should:
Take pictures using flash for Instagram
Shine a light on the beach to illuminate the turtle’s way
Start screaming and run away because turtles are scary
Sit still and quietly while allowing the turtle to pass undisturbed
When a nesting sea turtle is spotted, it is important to stay calm, quiet, and low to the ground. Please do not shine bright lights at or near the turtle, or you might disorient them, hurt their eyes, or scare them back into the water.
7. A sea turtle’s gender is determined by:
How much salt is in the ocean
The number of eggs laid
How big the mother turtle is
The temperature of incubation of the developing egg
In most species, gender is determined before a baby is born- or hatched. BUT in most sea turtle, alligator, and crocodile species it is determined after the eggs are fertilized. Research shows that if the eggs are incubated at a low temperature, they will be males, if they’re incubated at a high temperature, they will be females.
8. What species of sea turtles nest on Florida beaches? (select all that apply)
Green Sea Turtles
Leatherback Sea Turtles
Kemps Ridley Sea Turtles
Hawksbill Sea Turtles
Loggerhead Sea Turtles
Leatherback, Green, and Loggerhead sea turtles nest on the beaches of Florida every year. Although Kemps Ridley and Hawksbill sea turtles are seen swimming around Florida waters, but they rarely nest here.
9. If you see a healthy sea turtle hatchling on the beach crawling towards the water you should:
Pick the hatchling up and take a selfie
Bring the hatchling to Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Put the turtle in the water
Leave the turtle alone to make its way to the water, but ensure other beachgoers don’t harm or step on it
If you happen to spot a strong, healthy sea turtle hatchling making its way to the water, please allow it to crawl to the water on its own. Make sure other beachgoers see the little turtle as well but do not interfere.
10. About how many eggs do female sea turtles lay per nest?
Female sea turtles usually lay about 100 eggs per nest and can lay 2-8 nests per season.
Happy nesting season everyone!
This week, LMC found something incredibly sad under the Juno Beach Fishing Pier—a bird’s nest made entirely of monofilament line. In the middle of this plastic nest, was a single egg, laid by one of the resident birds.
We’re aware of the threats fishing line poses to sea turtles and other marine life under the pier, but this find shows yet another dimension to the problem. Since bird chicks are known to be entangled in nests with fishing line, the fate of this baby bird is uncertain.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center has installed fishing line recycling bins on piers and popular fishing locations around Palm Beach County. The line is then collected and sent away to be recycled. Just last week, LMC sent 65 miles of monofilament fishing line from these bins to be recycled.
How you can help:
- When fishing, always dispose of your line in the proper receptacle.
- If a fishing line receptacle is not available, dispose of fishing line in the trash.
- If you find fishing line or any plastic trash in the marine environment, please pick it up and dispose of it properly.
For more information on how to start a monofilament recycling program in your area go to http://mrrp.myfwc.com
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and people are starting to think about the great loves of their lives- but has the ocean made your list?
Along with making Valentine’s Day plans here at LMC, we’ve decided to show our love for the ocean, as well as our loved ones, by doing these five things on Wednesday, and every day!
1. Remember Your Reusable Bag
While on the hunt for that perfect Valentine’s Day surprise, don’t forget to bring along your reusable shopping bag! Last year alone, LMC picked up more than 8,000 plastic bags off of Florida beaches, removing the threat they pose to marine life. If more people remember their reusable bags, they can reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment.
2. Skip the Straw
An estimated 500 million straws are thrown away every day in the US. That’s a lot of trash for an item that is used only once, and briefly. So if you’re out with your special someone this Tuesday, remember to say, “no straws please.” More information on LMC’s work to eliminate straws and other single-use plastics from local restaurants will be coming soon.
3. Choose Sustainable Seafood
If you’re heading out for Valentine’s Day dinner, and seafood is your dish of choice, be sure to order sustainably! LMC has partnered with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program to promote sustainable seafood choices. To help you make informed decisions year-round, just stop by LMC for a Seafood Watch Consumer Guide or download Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch App and choose only seafood listed as “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative.”
4. Hold on to those Heart-Shaped Balloons
While love may be in the air, Valentine’s Day balloons should not be! Please hold on to all of those heart-shaped balloons and other helium-filled greetings. Every balloon and plastic ribbon released into the air will inevitably come back down, and many will end up in the ocean where they can entangle sea turtles and other marine animals. Deflated balloons are often mistaken for jellies, a common food source for sea turtles. In 2016, LMC launched a Balloon Ban initiative that has spread to five counties in Florida.
5. Recycle your Valentine’s Day Cards
Most greeting cards and envelopes, including those shared on Valentine’s Day, are recyclable. So after you finish reading those sweet words from your loved ones, toss that card in the proper receptacle. You may need to remove music players, plastic embellishments, or foil lining on an envelope before they go into your household recycling bin. It’s good to keep recycling in mind when purchasing cards as well.
Wishing you a turtally-awesome Valentine’s Day from all of us here at LMC, and thank you for sharing our love for the ocean. If you’re still looking for that special Valentine’s Day treat, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is offering admission for a special Evening Guided Tour on Feb 13 and 14!
A few weeks ago, we welcomed Katie O’Hara to our team as Conservation Coordinator.
Growing up in Virginia Beach with a marine biologist mom, Katie was exposed to conservation work from an early age – beach clean-ups and assisting with sea turtle stranding responses were all part of the usual routine.
Katie also grew up coming to LMC while spending holidays at her grandparent’s house just up the road. Spending time at LMC allowed her to develop a first-hand appreciation of the impact the Center has on visitors and their understanding of sea turtle conservation. Katie went on to pursue a career in marine biology and earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
Since graduating, Katie has worked at the Annapolis Maritime Museum where she developed and launched Right Catch, the first comprehensive sustainable seafood program for the City of Annapolis. Before her time at the Maritime Museum, Katie held positions with the Cousteau Society and Broadreach Global Educational Adventures – where she led student groups on 21-day marine biology and SCUBA trips aboard a catamaran in the Caribbean.
Katie will be a regular contributor to the Conservation Blog. She will publish a weekly post with project updates, department travel, and “SHIELD shout- outs,” showcasing the work of our collaborators.
Katie is creative, driven, and passionate about saving the ocean. We are all very excited to have her join our team.