KICK-OFF FOR COASTAL GEORGIA’S SEA TURTLE NESTING SEASON

13th ANNUAL TYBEE TURTLE TROT 5K BEACH RUN

Nesting season for Georgia’s sea turtles officially starts on May 1st.

The annual Turtle Trot is a fundraiser for the Tybee Island Marine Science Center’s sea turtle conservation efforts. Proceeds from race participation support our nesting sea turtle monitoring program, the Tybee Sea Turtle Project, and help cover Ike’s room and board. It’s all happening at the Tybee Pier & Pavilion; the run, a sea turtle release, music, and you’ll also meet Ike, Tybee’s official Marine Debris Ambassador.

THE SCHEDULE

April 21: Registration deadline for a free tee-shirt.
April 28: Packet pick-up from 4 to 7 p.m. at the science center.
April 28: Online registration ends at noon, but you can still register in-person.
April 29: Sign-in/Registration starts 7 a.m. and the run begins 7:30 a.m.

AWARD CEREMONY AND FUN FOLLOWS THE BEACH RUN

Awards go to the top three finishers in each age group and overall top male/female winners. New this year, will be an award for the slowest trotter, a turtle’s pace, sponsored by Cathy J. Sakas the Coastal Naturalist.

Register Online

This year’s release is being sponsored by Diane Kauffman’s Mermaid Cottages.

SEA TURTLE RELEASE

After the race we’ll have our ceremonial releasing of a sea turtle back to the ocean, right off our beach and next to the pier–with our partners from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) a hospital for sick/injured turtles. Soon as we know which of their patients will be released, we’ll let you know.

Dr. Terry Norton, the GSTC’s director, and the science center’s turtle vet, makes a huge difference for countless sea turtles and diamondback terrapins.

Check out the GSTC

Tybee Island Sea Turtle Project is a conservation program of the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. The center is a member of the Georgia DNR’s Sea Turtle Cooperative. Permitted volunteers protect the island’s nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings by monitoring sea turtle activity. During nesting season, May 1 to October 31., early in the season volunteers walk the beach looking for sea turtle tracks (crawls) that indicate a sea turtle came on land to nest. After a nest has been laid, they “nest sit” through the night. In addition to nest monitoring, the science center provides educational programs on sea turtles, manages the island’s Lights Out! Campaign, and plays host to Ike-Tybee’s official Marine Debris Ambassador.

TYBEE’S MARINE DEBRIS AMBASSADOR

Ike is an endangered loggerhead sea turtle. He hatched on September 22, 2015 from Nest #62 on Ossabaw Island and weighed just over a half of an ounce.

The Marine Debris Ambassador program is designed for the education and enrichment of our students, scouts, and island visitors. A visit to the Coastal Gallery provides access to and understanding of endangered sea turtles.

Just so you know, we don’t really know if Ike is a boy or a girl. With loggerhead sea turtles you can’t tell until they are sexually mature, which can take up to thirty years.