The centerpiece of the MEEC will be Captain, a juvenile green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
originally found in the basin of Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2010. The turtle had sustained injuries after being struck by a boat and was taken to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, where she was treated and rehabilitated. Eventually, in October 2013 - almost three years exactly since her initial rescue - Captain was released at Amelia Island, roughly halfway between Jacksonville and Jekyll Island.
Unfortunately, Captain was found stranded again a little farther south, in St. Augustine, less than a month later. Fortunately, she was readily identified, thanks to the two types of tracking tags she had been outfitted with at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
The turtle was first returned to the Georgia center, then transferred to the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota, where larger, deeper tanks made a more thorough evaluation possible. Now her permanent home will be at the MEEC, where the former swimming pool on the Carpenter House property has been transformed and customized to accommodate this special resident.
Along with Captain, the MEEC features an interpretive center with interactive displays on subjects ranging from sea turtle conservation to marine debris. Free programs on such topics as "Dune Ecology" and "Turtle Care and Enrichment" will be offered daily, Tuesday through Saturday, at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Beach walks will also be available, and there will be opportunities to meet Captain and observe her as she feeds.