SARASOTA, Fla. (October 23, 2017) – Look for new flags flying around Longboat Key as the NESTS program – Neighbors Ensuring Sea Turtle Survival – works to enhance the sea turtle protection and education efforts of Longboat Key’s Turtle Watch and Police Department, the Town of Longboat Key, and Mote Marine Laboratory. NESTS is targeting its education efforts towards large property owners, businesses, hotels, and condominiums to teach best lighting practices. NESTS is a free program of Sarasota-based non-profit Sea to Shore Alliance.
“NESTS aims to support and compliment the efforts of Longboat Key’s wonderful, existing turtle organizations,” said program director Kaley Cochran. “Our goal is to help condominiums, hotel owners, and other businesses understand how to address lighting issues effectively and publicly recognize those properties for proactively protecting our environment.”
During sea turtle nesting and hatching season, which on Longboat Key runs from May to October, lights on the beach can disorient newly hatched sea turtles as they emerge from the nest, often leading to death for these tiny turtles. As part of its sea turtle programs, Sea to Shore Alliance conducts aerial surveys to identify lighting “hot spots” along beaches that can negatively affect nesting and hatching turtles. Members of the free NESTS program receive an attractive NESTS flag to display, the opportunity to have a Sea to Shore Alliance scientist speak at the property, and access to Sea to Shore Alliance experts to help address any lighting concerns in a collaborative manner. This may be especially helpful to hotels and condominiums that host so many out-of-town visitors who may not understand the negative effects of lighting on our endangered and threatened turtles.
About Sea to Shore Alliance:
Sea to Shore Alliance, through research, education, and conservation, works to improve the health and productivity of coastal environments for the threatened and endangered species and human livelihoods that depend on them. Sea to Shore Alliance is a Florida-based 501(c)(3) grassroots, field-based research, conservation, and education organization with projects in the U.S., Belize, and Cuba. Sea to Shore Alliance’s projects all focus on three key species: manatees, sea turtles, and right whales.