Two species of sea turtles nest along beaches of the Cape Romano complex: loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas). Hatching success has improved significantly since 2005 when Rookery Bay Reserve staff, interns, and volunteers began placing cages over the nests to protect them from predators.
The turtles here depend on interns and volunteers to conduct this important work, including:
- searching miles of beach for turtle tracks (called crawls)
- caging nests to prevent predation by raccoons
- recording the GPS coordinates for each nest
- collecting and compiling other relevant data
Nests are monitored throughout the nesting season and evidence of predation or inundation (due to high tides/storms) is recorded. After the hatchlings have emerged, interns evaluate the nest contents (empty shells, unhatched eggs) to determine hatching success.
Catch up on monitoring activity at the intern blog.
Learn more about research and monitoring efforts underway within the Reserve.
Each year the Friends of Rookery Bay supports an intern who spends the summer protecting sea turtles. You can help!
Nest adoption costs $250 and includes the following:
- Your name on the cage's "turtle tag" and the Sea Turtle Giving Wall at the Environmental Learning Center
- An initial letter with details of nest location and date of expected hatching etc.
- A second letter with result of hatching
- Invitation to the (fall) Sea Turtle Support party
Adoptions or other support received after August 15 will be applied to the coming season. Be sure to indicate the name for your turtle tag (max. 22 characters with spaces).
Did you know you can support these efforts at any level? Just click here and enter your own dollar amount (choose "sea turtle nesting program" in the dropdown).
NEW! You can also support an egg ($5) or hatchling ($20). Visit the desk at the Environmental Learning Center to put your name, or your loved ones' names, on the support wall.
Watch the video below to see our interns and volunteers in action! (no sound)