NESTS is a free, community-based educational outreach program that encourages the public and businesses to engage in simple activities that benefit nesting sea turtles, their nests, and their hatchlings.
Many of Florida’s sandy beaches and near shore environments provide critical habitat for sea turtles. Unfortunately, rapid coastal development — combined with a lack of awareness about the fragile nature of these nesting sites — is currently threatening the future of Florida’s marine turtles.
As the number of residents and visitors continues to grow, it’s imperative that coastal communities are inspired with a strong sense of stewardship over these priceless creatures and their habitat. Sea to Shore Alliance uses the NESTS program to help promote the protection of sea turtles and their nesting beaches by teaching and encouraging this sea turtle friendly activites across Florida.
From March through October, Florida shares it beaches with nesting female sea turtles and newborn hatchlings– but the turtles face numerous challenges. Among them are:
● Nesting females can be discouraged from coming ashore to nest because of bright coastal lighting
● Hatchlings head towards lights from buildings and streets, rather than the safety of the sea
● Plastic and other litter on the beach can entangle or block turtles going to and from the water
● Beach furniture and recreation equipment block and entrap females during nesting attempts
● Raccoons and other predators attracted to the beaches by human activities destroy turtle nests
● Turtles accidently cross roadways and are hit by cars when natural dunes have been removed
There are easy ways to help!
The NESTS program has simple, everyday activities that you can do to help protect sea turtles and conserve their nesting habitats.
When someone volunteers to join the program, they are given an eight question “list of actions”—such as turning off lights at night during nesting season, or picking up trash at the beach. The more sea turtle friendly actions completed, the more points earned, and therefore the higher the level of membership achieved!
There are three membership levels and folks are rewarded with either a NESTS t-shirt, tote bad, or porch flag and the comfort of knowing that more sea turtles will have a better chance of survival thanks to their efforts! By becoming a NESTS member, you’ll have the chance to earn rewards you can display to show your commitment to sea turtles and their habitats.
The life of a sea turtle can be challenging but you can help give these fascinating reptiles the best possible chance of survival by becoming a NESTS member. It’s easy and you can get the whole family involved!
Of course, one can take action to help sea turtles at any time during the year. To earn points towards receiving a NESTS reward, you need to visit our S2S/NESTS booth in person at one of the many festivals or events we attend throughout the year. An updated schedule is listed in the “Events” section of the Sea to Shore Alliance Facebook page. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out what events we’ll be attending in your area over the coming months.
You can like NESTS on Facebook to stay on top of event announcements, info about the program, cool turtle trivia, and current sea turtle news around the world.
This list will be updated throughout sea turtle season in Florida (May 1 – October 31st) to include sea turtle friendly condos, long-term rentals, and hotels. Participating institutions on Long Boat Key, FL have allowed NESTS to educate on their property, reduce beach lighting, and go beyond the written code for the protection of sea turtles.
The NESTS – Neighbors Ensuring Sea Turtle Survival Program was developed by Sea Turtle Conservancy, Disney’s Animal Programs, and The Ocean Conservancy. NESTS is currently being administered by Sea to Shore Alliance.
Neighbors Ensuring Sea Turtle Survival