Balloon releases dangerous for sea and animal life

Information and photographs by Amy Wade
March 7, 2022

Imagine coming across a deer eating a mylar balloon? Amy Wade did just that and she was shocked!  A baby buck had an old mylar balloon in its mouth and Wade yelled, “Drop that balloon!” The buck followed her command but soon “started eating it again before finally walking away with his family.”  Wade recalls reading that some animals are attracted to the smell of plastic and mistake  the balloon for food.

In the  City of Fernandina Beach, there is an ordinance that bans ballon releases within the city limits.  Florida law prohibits more than 10 helium balloons to be released in a 24 hour period.  If a balloon release is part of a funeral, memorial service, or faith-based event, a 100 balloon limit is set.

Editor’s Note:  Amy Wade is a Fort Clinch volunteer and can be seen cleaning up Amelia Island beaches every morning.  She also does Sea Turtle patrol.  Amy founded ‘Beach Junki,’ a non-profit organization that supports beach education to help protect sea turtles.