SPRING 2022: 57
HOW TO HELP
Things you can do to help the turtles:
• Don’t leave trash on the beach or in the water
• Don’t leave beach chairs and umbrellas on
• Fill in any holes dug in the sand
• Smooth over sand castles and other things
children may build in the sand, so as to not
interfere with the turtle’s path
• Don’t use flashlights at night, or have any lights
on your property facing the beach
• Observe the Brevard County ordinance that bans
lights on the beach beginning May 1
• If you see a turtle coming ashore, maintain a
distance and do not get between the turtle and
IF YOU GO …
Where: Groups assemble at dusk for orientation.
State park groups meet at the Sebastian Fishing
Museum in the park. STPS groups meet at either
Satellite Beach or Melbourne Beach.
Cost: Both the State park and STPS ask for
donations. Last year those donations ranged from
$10-$18 per person. The Sea Turtle Conservancy
charges $15 for a reservation.
Registration: This is done online, beginning May
1, and spaces book up fast. The turtle walks take
place in June and July.
To register go to: State Park website - https://
Sea Turtle Preservation Society - https://
Sea Turtle Conservancy - https://conserveturtles.
Friends of the Carr Refuge - https://carrrefuge.
Susan Skinner, preservation society chairwoman, pitches in to drive the rescue van
when an injured or stranded turtle needs help.
the Carr Refuge and Sea Turtle
Conservancy lead walks out of
the Barrier Island Education
Center. Groups send scouts
out to search the beach for
turtles. When they are spotted,
the group is led to the nesting
locations. The whole process can
take several hours. Don’t plan on
getting much sleep that night.
In addition to the walks, the Sea
Turtle Conservancy also takes
the public out to turtle nesting
locations where the turtles
have already hatched. Executive
Director David Godfrey says his
teams dig into the nest area and
invariably find live hatchlings
still in the nest.
Susan Skinner is the chairperson
for the Sea Turtle Preservation
Society. She can also be spotted
behind the wheel of the STPS
rescue van. Injured or stranded
turtles are taken to the Brevard
Zoo or Sea World in Orlando,
the two closest turtle rehab
locations in Central Florida.
According to Skinner, STPS
responded to 270 Brevard turtle
strandings last year.
Skinner says the public should
not approach an injured or
SEA TURTLE PRESERVATION SOCIETY
stranded turtle. Before doing
anything, call the STPS hotline
at 321.206.0646 for assistance
from trained volunteers.
Outside Brevard, call the Fish
and Wildlife Commission’s
hotline at 1.888.404.3922 to
report an incident. She says
even dead turtles should be
reported. Last year 1,889 calls
were made to the hotline.
EDUCATION IS KEY
The Sea Turtle Preservation
Society is an all-volunteer
organization, with more than
a thousand members, and
about 440 active volunteers.
It is funded by memberships,
donations, purchases at the gift
shop at its headquarters on A1A
in Melbourne Beach and the
annual Turtle Krawl 5K event at
Nance Park in Indialantic.
The Sea Turtle Conservancy
is a science-based research
agency. It’s funded by the sale of
Florida Sea Turtle license plates.
It’s based in Gainesville, but
locally works out of the Barrier
Island Center in Melbourne
Beach. Godfrey says it has been
studying turtles for more than
Education is a key role played by the STPS. Volunteers
visit local schools. There are turtle trunks filled with
education materials that teachers can check out for use
in classrooms. They also visit resorts and condominiums
to make turtle safety presentations. According to
Skinner this “works really well for visitors who don’t
know about our beaches and turtles.”
There is also an information kiosk at Port Canaveral
that is open on weekends and has a gift shop and
A turtle walk can be an exhilarating experience and
Brevard County offers many opportunities to participate.