Clearwater Marine Aquairum is kicking off sea turtle nesting season with Sea Turtle Awareness Day on Saturday, May 12at Pier 60 Clearwater Beach. The event includes a beach cleanup followed by educational acitivities and stations from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The public is invited to help clean the beach for the sea turtle hatchlings and nesting females beginning at 8 a.m. Picking up trash eliminates items that may entangle both hatchlings and adults. Trash, holes, sandcastles and other obstructions can prevent adult sea turtles from locating the best place to nest and can also trap sea turtle hatchlings on the beach, preventing them from reaching the water.
In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, we will be using buckets instead of plastic trash bags when possible. Participants are encouraged to bring any clean 5-gallon buckets, including kitty litter buckets, with them or contact CMA to donate them.
The beach cleanup will be followed by free and fun educational activities with Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s sea turtle team, focusing on sea turtle nesting and conservation. Prizes and give-away items will be distributed to participants while supplies last.
From May – October CMA staff monitors loggerhead sea turtle nesting along 13 miles of beach in North Pinellas County. Sea turtles nest at night and can be impeded by artificial lights, chairs, sandcastles, toys, and trash, all of which can prevent adults from nesting successfully and avert hatchlings from reaching the sea. Sea Turtle Awareness Day aims to educate the public about the importance of lighting, keeping the beaches clean, and protecting this endangered species.