Summer is upon us and with that comes fun in the sun on the beach. This is also the most important time of year for sea turtles as they use beach for the biggest task they have, laying their eggs. And you can help keep these ancient reptiles safe by joining the sea patrol. Tune into this weekend’s broadcast of Peter Greenberg Worldwide for more information. Don’t forget to check back every Wednesday for more voluntourism opportunities.
The North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol is devoted to ensuring sea turtles on their beach and in its vicinity are protected and preserved. They also put efforts forth to educate the public on their mission and the dangers facing these turtles.
Summer is a busy time of year for these volunteers as this is when the female sea turtles come to lay their eggs. Leaders in the group identify and mark nests, inventory nests after emergence, recover hatchlings, and collect discarded eggs from each nest for genetic research study. Volunteers walk the beach every morning, starting at sunrise, from May 1 to mid August, looking for tracks that would indicate a possible nest. These adult loggerheads are about 3 feet long and clock in at about 300 pounds! These female turtles return to the beach they were born at more than 20 years later to nest.
So how can you help out with these awesome, ancient animals? Some easy things you can do to help the turtles while out on the beach this summer.
- Report any sea turtle activity to the sea turtle patrol, whether they’re nesting, stranded, or just tracks.
- Turn off beachfront lights from May 1-October 31 after 10 pm. The turtles instinctively head towards the light, which can take them too far inland to lay their eggs.
- Make sure anything you brought to the beach is taken with you! Sea turtles will eat plastic if they come across it.
- Fill in any holes created by umbrellas, chairs, coolers etc. These holes can trap females and hatchlings on their way to and from the water.
Sea turtles are an ancient reptile that has been around since the dinosaurs. Help preserve this endangered animal by participating in it’s efforts for survival. Contact The North Myrtle Beach Sea Patrol at their website to be involved.
By Laura Lee Jurgens for PeterGreenberg.com