Skills & Techniques

3 Tips for Protecting Sea Turtles

Susy Alkaitis - June 29, 2018

Hampton, VA: Going to the beach this summer? You may not know it, but the months of May through early October are prime sea turtle nesting season in North America. Right now, there may be a mama turtle laying a nest of over 100 little eggs on a beach near you. Check out our video and blog below for three easy things you can do to help protect these beautiful creatures!

Tip #1: Pack up your stuff and throw away trash – It’s easy for your things to get away from you on a windy day on the beach, and it might seem convenient to leave your beach chair or sun shade out on the sand for tomorrow’s beach time, but objects left behind on the beach can confuse and deter mother sea turtles who usually come up on the beach to nest at night, and even small obstacles can disorient hatchlings on their way to the water, making them easy prey for birds and scavengers, which brings us to tip #2.

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Tip #2: Fill in holes and knock down sand castles – We love a good sand castle, but holes and sand structures can trap or confuse hatchlings on their way to the water. So, snap a picture of that awesome castle or massive sand-hole and fill it in at the end of the day.

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Tip #3: Turn off bright lights, or use a turtle-friendly red light – Hatchlings usually emerge at night or early morning and use light-cues to find their way to the open ocean. Bright lights on the shore can confuse and disorient hatchlings, causing them to spend their energy crawling toward light and away from the ocean. You can help them find the water by turning off exterior lights on your house, and by walking by moonlight, or using a red flashlight when on the beach at night. If you do find a hatchling crawling toward the ocean, leave them be – they need to build up strength by crawling over land so they can swim without drowning when they reach the water.

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Sea turtles for generations to come thank you for your help!

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Enjoy Your World,

Jessie and Matt

Leave No Trace’s Jessie Johnson and Matt Schneider are part of the 2018 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Taxa, and Klean Kanteen. 

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