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Turtle Island’s Gulf of Mexico Office and our Sea Turtle Restoration Project work to protect and restore populations of endangered sea turtles and marine biodiversity on the Texas Coast and throughout the Gulf. A new study from the Univeristy of Miami shows that far more (320,000) endangered sea turtles were likely exposed to toxic oil from BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion five years ago than previously thought, making our efforts to safeguard these turtles even more critical. For nearly 25 years the project has safeguarded sea turtles and engaged the public in our conservation efforts through education, outreach, beach nesting patrols, classroom visits and other habitat protection efforts. Learn more below and join us!

Photo © Ron Wooten

Texas Sea Turtle Nesting Beach Patrol

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In 2014, Turtle Island began coordinating volunteer recruitment, training and scheduling of the Upper Texas Coast Nesting Beach Monitor Program.

The Upper Coast program, initiated by Dr. Andre Landry of Texas A&M University, is one of six patrol units on the Texas Coast that provides vital sea turtle nesting data, first responders when sea turtles are sighted by the public, and crucial training to volunteers.

Here are events for our Winter Texans and patrol training:

  • Kemp’s ridleys – Monday, January 23, 2017
  • Turtles and single-use plastic bags  – Tuesday, January 31, 2017  (Casa del Mar guests only)
  • Educators Day at Moody Gardens – Saturday, February 4, 2017
  • Winter Texans Reception at the RR Museum – Wednesday, February 8, 2017
  • Sea turtle – Saturday, February 10, 2017
  • Bring the Bag – Wednesday, February 15th (t-shirt bags too)
  • Patrol training – February 16th 4 pm – 9 pm (Rosenberg Library)
  • Patrol Training  – February 18th 9 am – 1 pm (Crystal Beach Fire House)
  • Patrol training – March 18th, 2017 9 am – 1 pm (Surfside)
  • For more info on the winter Texan programs and sea turtle Sat. check out this link. http://www.galvestonnaturetourism.org/

The 2016 sea turtle nesting season is over, see the total number of nests here:  https://seaturtles.org/turtle-count/

Watch a sea turtle nesting here:

Sea Turtle Action Center (Come Visit!)

The Galveston-based Sea Turtle Action Center is a hub for all of our Gulf of Mexico activities. It serves as a volunteer and outreach center in the heart of historic Galveston, Texas. If you would like to volunteer with our office, donate artwork or services please email joanie@seaturtles.org or call (409) 795-8426. View a photo tour of our work in the region by clicking here.

Education and Outreach

Joanie, Girl Scout and Kemp's ridely sea turtle

In the last decade, Turtle Island has reached more than 30,000 students and teachers in Texas to inform and inspire them about sea turtles and the Gulf ecosystem. This year we began our work to establish two Ocean Guardian Schools in the Gulf of Mexico. Learn about Ocean Guardian Schools.

We are proud of our past work with students and teachers to introduce and pass a bill that made the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle an official Texas state symbol. We will reach dozens of Galveston and Houston Area schools, teachers and youth groups with our friend ‘Rob’ the Ridley to educate and share news about how to protect these vulnerable sea turtles. Read more here.

fgbnms-2We are working with Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Staff to raise awareness about the sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico. Learn more about the incredible sanctuary in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico by clicking here. One of the way we are doing this is by providing FREE lesson plans to teachers.  These plans have been developed for Texas teachers to use, and all materials needed are easy to find and the plans are aligned with the Texas science standards. Please feel free to use the free lesson plans below:

Monitoring Beach Cleaning

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Tourist-friendly and  popular beaches are often cleaned of seaweed by large machines without regard for vulnerable baby sea turtle hatchlings, nesting turtles and stranded turtles. Turtle Island’s Gulf of Mexico Office works with authorities and volunteers to implement responsible beach cleaning plans that incorporate careful lifesaving, on-the-ground checks for hatchlings in seaweed.

Sea Turtle Incubation

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Turtle Island and our allies are calling for sea turtle eggs laid on the Upper Texas Coast to be incubated locally, and the hatchlings released locally.  We seek to increase resilience of the Upper Texas Coast Kemp’s ridley population by allowing sea turtles from eggs laid at the site to imprint to local beaches, so that mature adults will later return to the site to nest.  The release on the Upper Texas Coast of local sea turtle hatchlings will help build public pride in the sea turtles, which will lead to support for increased protections of the marine habitat as a whole.

Sea Turtles on the Pier

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Sea turtles are often hooked by recreational fishermen, and the problem is made worse because the fishers, out of fear, decide against contacting wildlife authorities. Turtle Island is working to educate fishers, so that sea turtles can be protected and rehabilitated. Already, we’ve produced materials that are distributed in bait shops, we have signs up on three piers on the Upper Texas Coast and are continuing to do outreach.

In addition, we have implemented a monofilament collection program on piers on the Upper Texas Coast. Volunteers maintain and collect the material.

If you would like to volunteer and help collect monofilament and keep sea turtles free from the lines,  please email joanie@seaturtles.org. If you are not in the Galveston area please click here to learn about how you can set up your own program.

And follow the latest news stories related to the hotline below:

Turtle eggs recovered on Crystal Beach

Bring the Bag Campaign

Turtle Island teamed up with Surfrider Galveston to create a joint Bring the Bag Campaign. Bring the Bag will help the City of Galveston work towards the reduction and elimination of single-use plastic bags in order to create a safer, healthier, and cleaner environment. One person uses 500 plastic bags per year, these bags can enter our waterways, oceans and litter our beaches. Sea turtles often confuse plastic bags for jellyfish and can be harmed or even killed by plastic bag litter. The good news is that you can join the Bring the Bag campaign today by simply making a commitment to bring reusuable grocery bags when shopping, and stop the wasteful cycle of single use plastic bags! Take the 30 day pledge here by clicking here.

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BTBGalveston/
and our Website: http://www.bringthebag.org/.

And follow the latest news stories and milestones on the Bring the Bag campaign below.

  • Galveston tries to outwit bag-ban foes, Houston Chronicle.
  • Bring the Bag was invited to the a City Council for workshop to discuss the impact of a bag ban on local ecology and the economy.
  • April 22nd is Declared Bring the Bag Day in Galveston, Texas by The Mayor and the City Council of the City of Galveston.