Andy has lived in Florida since the summer before he entered third grade. Inspired by Florida's wildlife since childhood, it's no surprise that he now creates sea turtle art. After our family visited the Cayman Turtle Farm in September 2011, he was even more artistically inspired.
Sea Turtle Art
Florida Sea Turtles
Five species of sea turtles inhabit Florida's waters. During the summer months, there are approximately 50,000 sea turtles in Florida. This makes it the most important nesting area in the United States. Sea turtles come ashore to nest beginning in May and hatching continues until late October. A female can lay several nests during one season and only nests every two or three years. After incubating for two months, the hatchlings break out of their shells and thrash about together causing the walls of the nest to collapse and the bottom of the hole to rise. Once near the surface, the hatchlings wait until the sand temperature cools to emerge, which usually happens after dark. Once out of the nest, the turtles scramble to the water. (If you'd like to see some great footage of this process, watch Turtle: The Incredible Journey).
South Walton Sea Turtles
The South Walton Turtle Watch is a group of volunteers whose purpose is to locate endangered and threatened sea turtle nests and to protect them along the beaches of Northwest Florida during the crucial nesting and hatching season. By law, only certified members are allowed to interact with endangered sea turtles. Sea turtles are protected by the Endangered Species Act and only those with special permits are allowed to touch the nests, turtles, or hatchlings. For more information, visit South Walton Turtle Watch's web site or Facebook page.
Protecting Sea Turtles
The Sea Turtle Conservancy has a helpful list of Things to Remember During Sea Turtle Nesting Season, including ways you can protect them. If you come across a sea turtle that is stranded or dead; a hatchling that is wandering in a road, parking lot, or directions other than the water; or if you see someone disturbing a nest or turtle, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Law Enforcement at (888) 404-FWCC.