The island of Ocean Isle is in constant ‘guardian mode’ when it comes to the Sea Turtles that return annually to this shoreline to make their nests in early summer.
For years the Museum of the Coastal Carolinas and the Ingram Planetarium have joined forces as The Ocean Isle Museum Foundation, Inc. They continually engage people’s interests and awareness of the sea turtles by putting together interactive afternoon programs. Providing and encouraging education, participation and mindfulness, our turtles and their offspring will fare the obstacles at hand with a much brighter outlook.
The spring of 2011 brought a fresh focus to our armored mariners of the deep. A new non-profit affiliate, The Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization was created by Jim and Deb Boyce, both licensed by the state of NC Wildlife Commission. With their expertise, they offer presentations that go beyond the general introduction to these gentle giants.
Mission statement for the innovative organization: “The Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization will provide, through appropriate management activities and education, a safe and protected environment for all sea turtles that frequent the island of Ocean Isle Beach.”
Since the turtles are arriving at a tourist attractive beach, many people are curious at the spectacle of it all and disregard some common-sense stipulations. From visitors to locals alike we all need to follow guidelines to ensure turtle tenacity.
When navigating toward shore to dig nests and lay their eggs, females will use moonlight to get to their destination. Artificial lighting can hinder the process and distract the turtles. Babies often hatch at night and will follow moonlight toward the ocean. Outside lighting on houses or flashlights on the beach are discouraged during the nesting period as they will misguide the turtles.
Nesting sites are taped-off on the beach and though ardently watched by volunteers, should not be disturbed under any circumstances.
Holes dug in the sand during beach activities can also prove to be a hindrance for the turtles.
Litter of any type can confuse a hungry turtle after the long journey. Please keep discarded items off the beach!
Just a little consideration for these awesome animals will assure their place in our world’s cycle of wildlife.