October 26, 2014

Environmental Lifesavers

Beach Nomad. Eve Haverfield began Turtle Time as part of a global effort to protect and recover the sea turtle population. She’d walk the beaches at sunrise, alone, checking for signs of nests or injured turtles. Now, her program is in its second decade and she has 100 volunteers who help her track turtles during nesting season from May 1 to Oct. 31.

Natural navigators. Sea turtles are migratory reptiles with a natural knack for navigation, which is how they can come back to nest at the beaches where they were born. "They’re one of the few animals in the world that can use latitude and longitude to find their place in the world," Haverfield says.

Sound the alarm. Southwest Florida is a nesting hot spot for loggerhead and green sea turtles; both are on the endangered species list. Sea turtles are an indicator species. "Sea turtles let us know what goes on out in the ocean. If the ocean starts being hostile [environmentally], then sea turtles become affected."

Lights out. When baby turtles hatch, they naturally crawl towards bright lights, which means a porch light can be deadly. Haverfield’s hope for this nesting season is that no lights be visible from the beach. "That means proper lights have been installed [amber LEDs] and that curtains are closed at night so that interior light is not visible."

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