Sea Turtle Patrol
CWC Expectations for Turtle Patrol Volunteers
1. Commitment for entire season: May – October
(note: short vacations ok)
2. Availability for minimum 2 days/week
(more especially during first year is best to gain experience)
3. Ability to walk on sand and withstand summer heat/humidity
4. Willingness to work within prescribed protocols and guidelines
(protocols set and required by FWC.
5. Willingness to be on the beach early (sunrise). Some activities are required to be completed by 9 a.m.
6. Willingness to pick up trash on patrol.
7. Ability to provide own transportation to and from assigned zone
(Note: supplies for data collection and nest marking provided)
A. Each spring, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Marine Turtle Research staff holds Nesting Beach Survey Workshops at various locations throughout Florida. Workshop attendance is required at least every 2 years. (Many CWC volunteers attend annually.) Volunteers may attend any of the scheduled workshops. New this year, reservations are required.
B. CWC holds a Patrol Orientation meeting in April at Lemon Bay Park in Englewood. Date and time TBA.
C. This is physical activity. You must be able to walk a mile on the beach, carry equipment, and to dig in the sand. Like the postman who delivers in all weather, turtle patrollers are on the beach in heat and rain- just not during thunderstorms.
Training Turtle Patrollers
Volunteers begin by walking the beach on patrol with an experienced person called a sea turtle permit holder. They watch and listen in a one-on-one or small group. Eventually, under the watchful eye of the sea turtle permit holder they begin to perform the various tasks. Then they are assigned to patrol with an experienced volunteer who continues on-the-job training. Often it's not until the second year of volunteering until a new volunteer is assigned a section of beach on their own.
Several times per year the Coastal Wildlife Club meets and goes over changes, protocol issues, and questions. These are often pizza parties or pot luck dinners that mix work & fun. It's also a way for the various volunteers to mix socially and get to know one another.