For eleven years, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, Fla. has celebrated Turtlefest; over the weekend more than 10,000 visitors had the chance to participate in "turtle-tastic" opportunities geared to bring awareness to the threatened and endangered sea turtles.
As an unofficial prelude to turtle nesting season, which runs from the beginning of March to the end of October, friends and visitors came together and enjoyed such main stage events as Time With Tom, The Resolvers, the Treasure Coast Wildlife Presentation, Palm Beach County Rescue Demonstrations, and the Jimmy Buffet Cover Band of Jimmy Stowe and the Stowaways.
Throughout the day, students could participate in sea turtle watercolor painting, digging for ancient treasures called "Jurassic Parts," and pick up lots of ideas to get creative with reusable and recyclable materials.
The best part, however is always the interaction with the injured and rehabilitating sea turtles. Through these endangered gems of the ocean, we learn of the impact humans have on the sensitive ecosystems and how awareness leans heavily for the future survival of all ocean species.
For the last 30 years, the primary purpose of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center has been to rehabilitate and return each sea turtle patient to health so that it may be returned to the ocean. The state of the arts facility features a surgical suite and x-ray room. Four employees and 56 volunteers help to keep this life-saving program operational.
"I used to come here when I visited my parents in Jupiter. My husband Brace and I volunteer two times a week and find it so rewarding," stated Suzie Thompson as she helped to hand out brochures and answer questions from visitors.
The ultimate vision of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center is to be recognized locally and internationally as the leading authority in turtle education, research, and rehabilitation. For these local ten miles of beaches, nearly 13,000 nests were recorded in 2013. Biologists and veterinarians treated 88 sea turtles, with over 225,000 guests visiting the campus to observe first hand the remarkable glimpses into the mysteries of the ocean.
In 2013, one of the center's most unique sea turtle patients, Big Mama, weighing in at a hefty 352 pounds was released back to the ocean amidst a fanfare of news reporters and cheering crowd.
Learn more about this amazing organization and follow the incredible turtle rescues and awe inspiring turtle releases on Facebook by clicking here.
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