Several members of the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol spent time during Earth Week cleaning litter and debris from our beach to prepare for the arrival of the first nesting Loggerhead Sea Turtles. During the season, patrol members spend time each day to ensure our beach is as safe as it can be for both nesting females and emerging hatchlings, and there are several things that residents and visitors can do to help too!
· Lights out! Turn off exterior lights and draw blinds if you live in a home along the beach. Bright lights discourage nesting and attract hatchlings away from the water. If you need to use a light on the beach, shield the light with a red lens.
· If you see a nesting turtling or emerging hatchling, keep your distance, keep pets away, and notify the turtle patrol at 843-310-4280.
· Stay clear of nests and out of the dunes. Sea turtle nests on our beach are marked with an orange DNR sign and white pole and are always located in areas where no one should tread. Similarly, stay out of bird nesting areas as indicated by signage.
· Fill in any holes and level and sand structures that you make on the beach. Tiny hatchlings and big nesting mother turtles alike can become stuck in or on these excavations.
· Remove all equipment from the beach before leaving. Items on the beach discourage nesting mothers and, in some cases, can ensnare them. If you have a permit to have a bonfire, extinguish the fire thoroughly by the required time and cover with sand.
· Pack out any trash or food waste that you bring to the beach. Trash is dangerous when ingested and food waste attracts predators.
The Turtle Patrol appreciates your help in taking care of our beach and wildlife! Remember – taking good care of our planet doesn’t need to stop when we leave the beach. Check out the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/siturtlepatrol) and Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/siturtlepatrol/) throughout the season for ideas on how to make Earth Day every day!
-Submitted by Joshua Shilko