Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol

The Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol is a group of 150 volunteers who work to ensure South Carolina's sea turtle population is able to continue to thrive.

Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol

 

History

 

South Carolina’s sea turtles face many threats including habitat loss due to coastal development, predation and human disturbances such as artificial lighting, so it’s comforting to know that there are committed groups out there like the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol working to ensure that the population can not only survive, but thrive.

Established in 1990, Seabrook Island Sea Turtle Patrol monitors loggerhead turtle nests, logging hatch success rates of turtle nests on Seabrook Island and recording statistics on hatched eggs and live and dead hatchlings through their nest inventories. They also move nests that are vulnerable to tides and watch for turtle crawls and injured turtles.

Role

The mission of these trained volunteers is to “protect and preserve the sea turtles” that visit Seabrook through “identification and protection of nests, inventory of nests, data collection, and education of island residents and visitors about sea turtles and ways to protect their nests.”

When you talk about sea turtles here, you generally mean loggerhead turtles, South Carolina’s official state reptile; although other sea turtles have been known to nest in South Carolina as well.

Loggerhead nesting season begins in May and the first hatchlings typically arrive in July. Most adult females nest every two or three years and lay three to six nests a year, so Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol volunteers stay busy with nest inventories.

The Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol gathers the data from these inventories and in turn shares the information they’ve collected with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. They also assist SC DENR with DNA sampling, a method the agency uses to track nesting patterns.

Another essential role that Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol provides is educating the public about sea turtles. They have a dedicated education committee that develops training materials and schedules education sessions.

The Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol has hosted youth leadership groups and organizations such as the Boy Scouts to learn about sea turtles and to explain the turtle hatchling process and the patrol’s purpose.

These opportunities not only provide memorable experiences for young people, it imparts to them at an early age the importance of conservation and protecting the marine ecosystem.

Contact

For the latest news and updates on nest inventory results and to view turtle photos, stay current through their website www.siturtlepatrol.com or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/siturtlepatrol/.

To report a dead or injured sea turtle, call 630-842-9446 or 800-922-5431.

FOLLY BEACH