Sea Turtle Encounters
The Friends of the Carr Refuge can’t wait until the 2018 sea turtle nesting season begins and for you to have an once-in-a-lifetime experience.
June – July
Sea turtles start arriving to the shores of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge as early as March. Once June comes around, sea turtle nesting is in full swing. During this time, Friends of the Archie Carr Refuge conducts guided educational Turtle Walks on the refuge.
Guests are able to experience a nesting sea turtle lay her eggs, cover her nest, and return to the ocean. Florida's beaches, especially along the east central coast in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, provide nesting habitat for more nesting loggerhead turtles than any place in the Western Hemisphere and more green turtles than any place in North America.
Each walk starts with a brief presentation while our scouts search for loggerhead nests. When a nesting loggerhead is found, the scouts will radio one of our guides that there is a mother turtle ready for you to view.
In most cases, the group will reach the turtle while she is dropping eggs into her nest. The guides are permitted to remove sand behind the turtle to expose the eggs and use a red flashlight to illuminate them. When the mother turtle drops her last egg, she will cover the nest with sand and camouflage the nest by moving more sand. Attendees are often able to watch this and the sea turtle’s return to the sea.
Daytime Turtle Digs
August – September
Meeting in the morning hours, attendees gather together for a brief presentation.
Next, the group will head to the beach to observe the results of a nest excavation. The contents of a recently emerged nest will be dug up and displayed. Our volunteers will show what can be learned from excavating a nest, including the hatching success rate. When available (80% success record last year), hatchlings will be released to walk into the Atlantic Ocean.
Watching hatchlings walk to the Atlantic and swim away is a memorable experience for adults and children.
The official sea turtle nesting season begins March 2018, and we will start offering guided educational tours in June 2018. Dates and times will be announced available in late April/early May.