Registration for the 2014 Sea Turtles and Their Babies program
at the Anne Kolb Nature Center is now under way.
The program typically sells out, so early reservations are recommended.
Call the park at 954-357-5161.
For many years, millions of sea turtles swam freely in the oceans. Just in the past 100 years, their numbers have decreased for these reasons:
- Nesting beaches have been destroyed by development or polluted waters
- People eat sea turtles and their eggs
- Lights from nearby roads and businesses misdirect the hatchlings from the seas
Beginning each May, sea turtles make their way to our shores to lay their eggs in the sand. The process takes several hours for the turtle, and once she buries the eggs, she leaves and does not return. The eggs incubate for about two months, and then the hatchlings make their way out of the nest. It seems as if the hatchlings purposely wait until the temperature cools down and then emerge from the nest after dark. This is when they scramble to the water, with any luck surviving long enough to come back one day and lay their own eggs.
Naturalists at the Anne Kolb Nature Center have been offering insight into the sea turtles who visit South Florida for many years. Their annual program includes a one-hour video presentation and lecture, as well as a trip to the beach to watch hatchlings make their way into the surf. The presentation starts at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays and provides the following information:
- Identification of the species of sea turtles found in South Florida coastal waters
- Breeding and nesting
- Identification of crawls and nests
- Conservation efforts
- Past exploitation
- Current management
- Problems now facing sea turtles
There are five species that visit our area: Loggerhead, Green, Leatherback, Hawksbill, and Kemp's Ridley, although the Hawksbill and Kemp's Ridley are not known to nest in South Florida. Loggerhead nests are most commonly found in our area.
This evening program begins at 8 p.m. at the Mangrove Hall at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, followed by a hatchling release on the beach afterward. The fee is $8 per person, and preregistration and prepayment are required - no walk-ins are accepted, as space is so limited. Participants should also anticipate paying for metered parking at the release site.
No artificial lights or cameras are permitted at the beach hatchling area - viewing of hatchlings takes place under darkness. Also, there is no guarantee hatchlings will be seen on any given night.
For further information, call the park office (954-357-5161) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
A brief video on sea turtle release:
More information about sea turtles: http://www.broward.org/NATURALRESOURCES/BEACHANDMARINE/Pages/seaturtles.aspx
The Sea Turtles and Their Babies program is subject to change or cancellation if weather conditions are not favorable.