The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is offering the public a unique summer opportunity to help guests gain a first-hand understanding of the mysterious world of Jekyll Island’s endangered sea turtles. A program now in its second year, Ride with Night Patrol will allow guests to experience the beach from an entirely fresh perspective.
Participants will meet biologists at 8:45 p.m. at the Great Dunes Pavilion. From there, they accompany them to the beach on all-terrain vehicles. They then provide field assistance in order to gain hands-on experience in spotting sea turtle crawls, taking measurements of sea turtles and their habitat, and marking the egg chamber appropriately. Throughout the night patrol, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center’s staff is available to answer any questions guests may have.
“This is a wholly unique experience most people would never have the opportunity to do,” said Sea Turtle Center Research Coordinator Dr. Kimberly Andrews. “The experience of working alongside a seasoned sea turtle biologist and contributing to efforts to protect the sea turtle population on Jekyll Island makes this a worthwhile experience. This is certainly something a visitor will never forget.”
Night patrols with Sea Turtle Center staff will be offered nightly now through July 2013. A minimum of 8 hours advance notice is required and staff can only accommodate a maximum of four guests per patrol. Each night patrol session can last for up to 11 hours (participants have the option of staying on the beach all night or returning at any point) and costs $100 per person.
All programs are subject to weather and physical requirements.
New this year to the Night Patrol program is the Nest Tracker Initiative. Through the program, guests can “adopt” a sea turtle nest on Jekyll Island beaches, and stay up-to-date about the hatchlings of their nest. Those who opt into the Nest Tracker program will be mailed a specialty package which includes a personalized Nest Tracker certificate, Nest Tracker stickers, information detailing as well as a photo of the adopted nest, plus a Sea Turtle Tracker information sheet and their name listed on the Georgia Sea Turtle Center web site.
In addition to the mailed package, trackers also receive “soon to hatch” notices about when the eggs in their nests are close to hatching, an inventory of the nest throughout the season, as well as a post-season report about their nest.
“This is a very innovate program our staff is initiating this year,” Andrews said. “Not only will patrollers have the opportunity to go on these night watches, they can also keep a piece of that experience with them when they return home. It certainly magnifies the connection they feel for the island and these wonderful creatures.”
Participation in the Nest Tracker Initiative is $40 per nest, and more than one name can be listed as the nest tracker. All funds from this new program directly benefit the research department at the Center.
For additional information regarding Ride with Night Patrol, or to make a reservation for an upcoming patrol, call 912.635.4043. For more information or to register to track a nest, call 912.635.4137, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org/join-us/nest-trackers/.
For more information about these and all programs at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, visit www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org or call 912.635.4137.
About the Georgia Sea Turtle Center: Established in 2007 on Jekyll Island and operated by the Jekyll Island Authority, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center was developed as an institution devoted to the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles and preservation of the delicate balance of the oceanic ecosystem.
Through sea turtle rehabilitation, research and educational programs, Georgia Sea Turtle Center staff work to increase awareness of habitat and wildlife conservation challenges, promote responsibility for ecosystem health and empower individuals to act locally, regionally, and globally to protect the environment. For information, visit www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.orgorwww.jekyllisland.com.