On a scale from a subtle turtle supporter to a sea turtle saver, where do you find yourself? You’ve got a turtle sticker on a water bottle somewhere or maybe you were swimming out passed the second sand bar to rescue a Kemp Ridley on a Saturday night. Regardless of where you are on the scale, we can all agree that sea turtles represent a majestic animal in our ecosystem that captivate our attention when we see one gracefully cruise by out of nowhere.
The Pensacola Beach Advocates are inviting you to the Sea Turtle Baby Shower THIS Saturday, June 3rd, for a special time of conservation education, music, vendors, and lots of family fun. This free event is an easy way to get everyone out of the house and learn something new while you’re there!
Groups like the Pensacola Beach Advocates and Pensacola Beach Sea Turtle Patrol will be onsite at the Gulfside Pavilion from 9 AM-noon celebrating this year’s sea turtle nesting season. Don’t worry, this is not an event where you need to bring waterproof diapers and shell-shaped blankets. This is a fun educational outreach to build awareness around these beautiful creatures we share the Gulf of Mexico with. Word on the water is there will be a live mermaid and face painter there as well!
Although this is a time of celebration, there is still much to be done in an effort to protect and preserve our sea turtle friends throughout the year. You will have the chance to talk with volunteers who do the daily patrols and learn about the many ways you can get involved. Our hope is that everyone who steps foot on our beach does so with a heart to help keep it a beautiful place for all living things!
Here are a few tips to keep top of mind when visiting the beach during nesting time (May-October):
- Red lights over flashlights! Sea turtles are intelligent navigators. They use the moon and tides to determine the best time to lay their eggs. A busy beach in the summertime can be a deadly distraction for mama turtles ready to lay their eggs. Thinking about a night walk on the beach? The Pensacola Beach Visitors Center provides turtle-friendly RED LED flashlights to help everyone safely see.
- Fill your holes! Building sandcastles and digging holes can be lots of fun, as long as you are filling them in when you are done! You don’t have to be a baby turtle to fall in a big hole. If you see a hole on the beach, you can make a difference by filling it in for everyone making their way out to sea.
- Leave nothing, just your feet! Santa Rosa Island Authority along with many beach locals work 7 days a week to keep our beaches clean. Please make sure you drop your trash in the provided cans. Locals can help by tucking a trash bag in the beach tote for picking up little things. You see can be a big impact when everyone makes a small effort to keep things clean.
Over 2.5 million visitors were “headed to the beach” in 2022, and that number is expected to continue growing year after year. That is over 5 million feet walking in the path where turtles lay eggs every year. Think of the impact that would have on our ecosystem at large if everyone walked with an awareness of all the living things that live here.
If you aren’t able to make it to the baby shower this weekend, there are many ways to support the Pensacola Beach Advocates and the turtle warriors working throughout the year! You can offer your time to the local patrol teams or donate financially at the Pensacola Beach Visitors Center.
For more information on ways to get involved with turtle conservation and preservation of our beaches, you can visit the Pensacola Beach Advocates website and follow their social media for more information!