Turtle Nesting on Okaloosa IslandGet ready for sea turtle week in Destin-Fort Walton Beach.  Although sea turtle nesting season in Northwest Florida runs from May 1st through October 31st, sea turtle week is from June 13th through June 17th.  During nesting season, sea turtles emerge from the water to lay their eggs on our beaches.  After the incubation period, sea turtle hatchlings will leave the nest and start their new journey out in the Gulf of Mexico.  There are several different species of sea turtle that nest on our beaches:      

* Loggerhead

* Green

* Kemp's ridley (rare to nest, but we see them in the Gulf quite frequently)

* Leatherback (rare)

Sea Turtles are such an important part of our ecosystem, and there are a few things you can do to help them nest successfully.  After enjoying a great day at the beach, make sure you flatten those sandcastles, fill in your holes, pick up any garbage, and remove all of your belongings.  All of those things can act as an obstacle for nesting sea turtles.  If you notice the brown sargassum seaweed along the beaches, the unsightly inconveniSandcastlesence is so important for the ecosystem for many small sea creatures and is not harmful to the health of beachgoers.   

World Sea Turtle Day is Thursday, June 16th, and there are other things you can do to help.  When on the beach at night, refrain from using a flashlight or flash photography.  If you are staying in an ocean front room, shut off your exterior lights and close your blinds.  If you are out on the beach at night, make sure you use a turtle friendly red flashlight!  Bright white lights can cause disorientation in hatchlings and deter adult females from nesting on the beach.

You can also learn more about nesting sea turtles and the amazing work being done to rehabilitate injured sea turtles at the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center.  C.A.R.E.ing for turtles events are held every Wednesday at 5:00p.m. at the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center.