Sea Turtle update at October Wild Nite

Wild Amelia
Press Release
Contact: Kathy Brooks
[email protected]
October 23, 2018 3:00 p.m.

“Update on Amelia’s Sea Turtles” will be the topic of Wild Amelia’s November Wild Nite on November 13th at 7 p.m. at the Peck Center Auditorium. Photo of leatherback hatchling–Courtesy of Kathy Brooks

On Tuesday, November 13th, at 7 p.m. at the Peck Center Auditorium, 516 S. 10th Street in Fernandina Beach, Wild Amelia will present a nature forum—a “Wild Nite”—one of a monthly series that precedes the 13th annual Wild Amelia Nature Festival , set for May 17-19, 2019. The topic of this forum will be “Update on Amelia’s Sea Turtles,” a subject close to the hearts of many who live on Amelia Island. The guest speaker will be Mary Duffy, President of Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch. Ms. Duffy will offer an update on this summer’s most recent sea turtle nesting activity and anomalies, as well as the preliminary results from a genetic research project. The forum is free and open to the public of all ages.

For over two decades, Mary Duffy has led a group of committed volunteers—Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch—to collect data about the loggerhead and occasional green and leatherback sea turtles that nest on Amelia Island. Volunteers walk the beaches at dawn looking for turtle tracks, verify and mark the nest, watch the nest for almost two months, confirm hatching, and then excavate to get exact numbers of shards, dead pips, and live hatchlings still in the nest.

From early May to late August, these endangered sea turtles come ashore on Amelia Island to dig their nests and lay their eggs, continuing a ritual that began in prehistoric times. Older than the dinosaurs, sea turtles follow migratory patterns that may take them thousands of miles away in the ocean from the beach of their birth. In the summer of 2018, volunteers discovered 164 nests. Each nest had about 100-150 eggs. The hatchlings that emerged from these nests some 50-60 days later will face peril as they make their way to the sea and once in the sea; it is thought that only one in 4000 will survive to adulthood! In the summer of 2018, over 12,000 live hatchlings emerged from the nests. To learn more about sea turtle nesting and the ups and downs of the nesting season on Amelia this summer, what you can do to help sea turtles survive and the work of the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch, come to “Update on Amelia’s Sea Turtles” on November 13th; bring your questions, too.

Wild Amelia’s mission is to educate residents and visitors about the local bioregion and encourage stewardship of the area’s natural resources through events and programs that educate and entertain while promoting a conservation ethic. Wild Amelia’s educational programs are year-round, culminating in a three-day Nature Festival on the third weekend in May—this year May 17-19, 2019. For more information about Wild Amelia, please visit and Wild Amelia on Facebook.