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:
1. Nesting beaches have been destroyed by development or polluted
2. People eat sea turtles and their eggs
3. Lights from nearby roads and businesses misdirect the hatchlings from the seas
Sea turtle nesting season in Broward County typically runs from March 1 through September 30. 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.
You can learn about this struggle for survival when the Anne Kolb Nature Center offers its annual Sea Turtles and Their Babies program that includes a presentation and lecture, followed by a release of hatchling (pending availability, which is not guaranteed). The program is offered on Wednesday and Friday at 8 p.m., July 3 through August 30, 2019. Admission is $10/person for all ages. Each session is limited to 50 people, and preregistration and prepayment are required by reserving online at Broward.org/Parks.
If you can't make it to the program, visit the Marine Environmental Education Center (MEEC) at Carpenter House in Hollywood. The marine center represents a collaboration between Broward County Parks and Recreation Division, which manages the park, and Nova Southeastern University, which manages the MEEC through its Halmos College of Nature Sciences and Oceanography.
The mission of the MEEC is to provide outstanding marine education, interactive learning, and research with a focus on endangered sea turtles. The centerpiece of the MEEC is Captain, a green sea turtle. There is also interactive displays on subjects ranging from sea turtle conservation to marine debris. The center is open on Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and specialized program are offered daily at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Admission is free, although a $3/person donation for ages 3 and up is suggested.