On the fourth day of Christmas my green friend gave to me…4 sea turtles, 3 rain barrels, 2 milkweed plants and a live Christmas tree!
Really…4 sea turtles? Well sort of…my green friend knows how much I love sea turtles and wanted to give me a meaningful gift. Every year I walk the beach during nesting and hatching seasons to count nests and hatchlings. However these wonderful sea creatures are protected so having sea turtles in your possession is a Federal offense.
Here, on the east coast of Florida, I have found Loggerhead, Leatherback and Green turtle nests as well as hatchlings. This year there were 50% less nests (24 vs. 48 in 2013) than there were last year in the 3.5 miles that I monitor.
The four sea turtles that my green friend gave to me are actually “adopted” turtles. The Sea Turtle Conservancy offers adoption programs that offer a certificate, a picture of your turtle and the ability to track your turtle online and see its’ journey.
Shelley, pictured, was also a participant in the 2014 Tour de Turtles and came in 7th while logging 820 miles in 150 days. She is an adult Loggerhead and was sponsored by the Sea Turtle Conservancy to raise awareness about the threat of Commercial Longline Fisheries. This year’s winner, Panama Jack, won the race logging in 3,345 miles in 150 days! He is an adult Leatherback from Panama, sponsored by Turtle and Hughes and was swimming to raise awareness of the threat of Light Pollution.
Sea Turtles are important in our ecological system as they and the manatees are two of the few animals to eat sea grass, allowing it to remain healthy. The seagrass is important in providing breeding and developmental grounds for many species of fish, shellfish and crustaceans.
My green friend sure does know what I love! What a great gift to have received 4 adopted sea turtles! Not only does it give me the fun of tracking my turtles and possibly finding them in the next Tour de Turtles race but this gift provides support to a very worthwhile cause.
If you are reading this post as the first you might be wondering what the heck I am doing talking about the twelve days of Christmas after Christmas. Follow this link and I’ll explain the reason for my posts.