How to Make a Difference on World Sea Turtle Day
You may not even be aware of this, but you should be! Did you know that there is a day on the calendar to honor sea turtles? World Sea Turtle Day happens every June 16th, making it the ideal time to step up and take action. World Sea Turtle Day is a special day to recognize, appreciate and raise awareness about these fascinating aquatic reptiles. The odds are already stacked against them from birth, so it's important that we do all we can to ensure that the local and global sea turtle populations not only survive but thrive.
So how can you make a difference on World Sea Turtle Day (and every day)? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Learn more about sea turtles & what they need.Being informed and knowledgable about sea turtles, their marine habitat, what they need to survive and what threatens them are the first steps in making a change on World Sea Turtle day and every day on the beaches and coastlines.
Did you know that simply turning off lights on the beach at night, picking up trash and litter, leveling out the sand and filling in holes, and not disturbing nesting sea turtles are some of the easiest and most impactful ways to help sea turtles? These are the essentials for a successful nesting and hatching season.
2. Support local and global wildlife organizations.
Locally, we have the Emerald Isle Sea Turtle Program, with about 80 volunteers, who work to locate and protect the nest sites and help hatchlings return to the surf. Volunteers walk the entire 12.5 miles of the Emerald Isle beach early each morning from May 1 through August 31 looking for evidence that a sea turtle has come ashore during the night to lay her eggs. The 200–350 pound turtles leave characteristic crawl marks up to 40 inches in width. The walkers call in their discoveries and sea turtle program coordinators immediately go to check for the possible presence of eggs. If visitors see a turtle or tracks left by one, they are asked to call the Emerald Isle Police (252‐354‐2021), who will immediately notify the volunteers 24/7.
The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Center in Topsail, NC works hard to serve the area's sea turtle population and is run solely by volunteers.
On a global level, organizations like the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) support the sea turtle population by giving updates on endangerment and threat levels for all seven of the sea turtle species and ideas on what you can do to help. WWF works around the world to eliminate sea turtle bycatch from fisheries, reduce the unsustainable harvest and illegal trade in marine turtles, and stem the loss of critical sea turtle habitats. WWF also works to protect marine habitats, studies climate change and how it impacts marine life and their habitats, and uses satellite tracking to collect data that helps monitor and protect sea turtles.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also works toward turtle conservation, monitoring endangered species and protecting wildlife. They work on a statewide level, a national level and a global level to help preserve and protect marine life the world over.
Local and global organizations can always use your monetary donations to support their cause. Both the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Center and WWF have sea turtle adoption opportunities as a way to help support them and support the sea turtles, which is a perfect way to get your kids involved in the process. Check it out!
3. Volunteer to help during sea turtle nesting & hatching season.
If you're fortunate enough to live at the beach, own a vacation home or beach rental, or spend a few weeks out of the year on the coastline, consider volunteering with your local sea turtle monitoring program. Most North Carolina beaches have their own, as do many beach destinations along the East Coast.
If you aren't able to commit to that, then you can always voluntarily comb your local beach picking up litter and trash, filling in holes in the sand, and just keeping a watchful eye out for any sea turtle activity that needs attention and/or reporting. You'll make a world of difference in the life of a sea turtle just by doing those simple things.
Happy World Sea Turtle Day! Thank you for anything and everything you can do to help.
What's one thing you can do on World Sea Turtle Day this June 16 to make a difference in the life of a sea turtle?