Tourists meet turtles: Volunteers talk education as turtle season begins

Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 01:20 PM.

The biggest challenge the Turtle Watch organization has is educating the public while they walk the beach looking for signs of turtle nesting.

Turtle season and tourism collide every year in our area.

Maxwell tries to education the public about lights on the beach at night, and the danger they pose for turtles wanting to come ashore to nest.

While Kemp's ridleys will come ashore during the day, the others come ashore at night with the stars and moonlight as their guide. Lighting on the beach, as well as obstacles such as beach toys and trash left on the beach can result in the female turning around and going back into the water without laying her eggs.

In the same vein, hatchlings typically break out of their shells at night and instinctively head toward the brightest light.

Maxwell said if you're on the beach and encounter a sea turtle, stay back and call the sheriff's office, which will in turn call her.

Maxwell received a call Sunday morning from Walton County Beach Patrol Officer Jason Day, telling her there was a sea turtle close to shore behind the Whale's Tail that did not seem able to go underwater.

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