December Newsletter 2015

CEO Chatter with Jack Lighton

Dear Friends of LMC,

From our sea turtle family to yours, we hope you are enjoying a happy and joyous holiday season and looking forward to 2016. Here at Loggerhead Marinelife Center, we are thrilled to be welcoming a record number of guests to our campus who are able to interact with our team of staff, volunteers, and sea turtle patients to learn more about the importance of ocean and sea turtle conservation.


In 2015, due to the support of our donors, LMC was able to significantly expand our conservation impact across all departments here at home and around the globe. LMC is able to achieve greater levels of impact due to the funding we receive from our supporters. We are so happy to spotlight the power of teamwork in this year’s Annual Fund Campaign where we share “Nikki’s Story” – a story of hope, determination, and teamwork made possible due in part to our donors’ support.


As we prepare for the New Year, I would like to thank our very kind supporters for their tireless dedication to our mission and vision. Our team is grateful for the support and trust we receive from the community. We are honored to have the opportunity to continue in our founder’s footsteps.

I wish you and yours Happy Holidays and look forward to visiting with you soon.


With Gratitude,

Jack Lighton, President & CEO

Will You Help Save Nikki and Our Oceans?

You can donate to help save Nikki here

Sea Turtle Holiday Celebration


Celebrate the holiday season with our sea turtles during LMC’s annual Holiday Event! The event will feature family-friendly activities throughout the day, including free field trips, seasonal crafts, and educational activities. Our sea turtle mascot, Fletch, will be making several appearances for plenty of photo opportunities. He will be encouraging guests to make their Holiday Wish for the ocean. We will also have a holiday photo booth on site. Those are always a blast!

Oil-Covered Sea Turtle Hatchlings Arrive at LMC

We recently received two oiled or tar covered washback green sea turtles. These little turtles weighed in at less than a quarter of a pound and were only a few inches in length. One was found just south of John D. MacArthur Beach State Park and the other was found north of the Lake Worth Pier. These are the first cases of oiled sea turtles in three years from this area. Although the origin of the oil is unknown, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is working with the National Marine Fisheries Services to help determine what type of oil was covering the turtles and where it may have originated.

The oil was removed from both turtles using Dawn dish detergent on the exterior of the turtles and mayonnaise and cod liver oil on the head and inside the mouth. One turtle was successfully cleaned, treated and was released. Unfortunately, the other oiled turtle was too weak and debilitated from this traumatic event that it did not survive. One more oiled green sea turtle, of the same size, was found in Volusia County one week later and is being rehabilitated at the Marine Science Center. It is hypothesized that the Gulf Stream may have carried this turtle north from the same area the others were found.

This is a good reminder that our actions directly affect the environment and wildlife around us. To learn more about how you can help, visit our Conservation Page.

Lights Out


Ahoy, mateys! Come sail the mighty seas at Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Ninth Annual Lights Out Gala! This year’s event will once again celebrate the start of sea turtle nesting season, which runs from March 1 to October 31 annually on Florida’s east coast. Light on speeches and long on fun, guests will be treated to a gourmet, plated dinner, premium refreshments, wonderful music, stunning cinematography, and dancing aboard “The Black Pearl.”

Guests will begin their evening in LMC’s sea turtle hospital courtyard to enjoy an exceptional cocktail hour, while interacting with the center’s sea turtle patients, staff and volunteers, creating memories which will last a lifetime. After cocktail hour, guests will be escorted into the center’s grand gala structure and immersed into a journey on the high seas.

Guests will also have the chance to purchase a “Buried Treasure” bag. The luxury bags are marine-themed and feature a luxury towel, a bottle of champagne, and the chance to win an extravagant mystery prize. Each bag will have a message in a bottle – letting guests know if they won a buried treasure! Treasures average a $2,000 value. Suggested attire is coastal or swashbuckler chic.


The presenting sponsor of the Lights Out Gala for the fourth consecutive year is PNC Bank. Additional sponsors include: Gordon and Patricia Gray & Family, Pratt & Whitney, Roe Green, Bruce Beal, Ross & Susan Johnson, Florida Power & Light, PGA National Resort & Spa, Loggerhead Marina, The Gardens Mall, Ann Miller, Jack Lighton & Giovanni Di Stadio, Dr. Jack Lighton, Pete & Lynne Wells, Betsy Munson & Isabel Stephenson, Lee Wealth Solutions, WLS Vitamins & Dr. & Mrs. Jefferson Vaughan, Jupiter Medical Center, Braman Motocars, Dr. Morgan Poncy, Gunster/Carrie Hanna, Ed Lunsford, Florida Weekly, Palm Beach Illustrated and Alacrity Entertainment, Inc. 

A limited number of tickets and sponsorships to the gala are still available, starting at $325. To learn more, please contact Veronica Clinton at or 561-627-8280 ext. 103. *Seating is limited. 

Palm Beach County is home to one of the world’s most densely nested sea turtle beaches, and The Lights Out Gala will showcase LMC’s extraordinary commitment to protecting threatened and endangered sea turtles, along with the oceans and beaches that they call home. The gala is LMC’s premiere fundraising event and all proceeds will benefit their vital sea turtle education, research, and rehabilitation programs.

Project SHIELD: Conserving this Beautiful Planet

Throughout 2015, LMC staff has traveled to various destinations to implement the Responsible Pier Initiative.  Although these locations are beautiful, many experience conservation issues that may not be visible at first sight. We know that our partners around the world are facing issues much greater than incidental capture from fishing piers. From our experiences, we created Project SHIELD, a multi-faceted program that provides conservation solutions to areas in need. While we will continue to instruct anglers and pier managers on responsible practices and sea turtle rescue, we have expanded our focus to include marinas, beachside resorts and hotels, beach access points, fishing charter operators, and snorkel and SCUBA operators, as well as pollution prevention projects at various sites.

About a week ago, we returned to Puerto Rico to implement Project SHIELD. Signage depicting responsible practices is now hanging at both Escambrón Beach in San Juan and on Rompeolas in Vieques. You can read more about the project’s launch here.

Because of YOU, We Won the Providencia Award!

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We are truly honored to accept Discover the Palm Beaches Florida’s 2015 Providencia Award. The award is given annually to a local business, organization, or individual with a record of making an extraordinary contribution to the vitality and prosperity of The Palm Beaches as a desirable tourist destination. We want to give a special thank you to each and every one of you who voted for us! To be included in this year’s selection process, along with The Brazilian Court Hotel and Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative, is quite humbling. THANK YOU!

End of Year Sea Turtle Nesting Season Report

The 2015 nesting season was an OUTSTANDING season for our sea turtles and  research crew. With the help of seasonal field technicians and an intern, staff recorded 42,118 crawls in 9.5 miles of survey beach! Of those crawls, 16,335 resulted in sea turtle nests.

A few highlights from this season:

  • Record breaking nesting season with 42,118 crawls recorded. Previous record was 28,941 nests in 2012.
  • Deepest nest recorded was 52’’ by a leatherback sea turtle.
  • Largest clutch size was 169 eggs laid by a green sea turtle.
  • Most crawls in a single night were 1,063 crawls on June 23rd. This was about double our previous record number of crawls laid in a single night!
  • Our researchers excavated and counted nest contents from 830 marked sea turtle nests to evaluate hatchling production along our survey area.
  • An estimated 1.3 million hatchlings emerged along the Juno, Jupiter and Tequesta beaches this year!

One sea turtle nest is still incubating on Juno Beach as of December 7. The nest is anticipated to hatch in the early part of this month. The nest is suspected to have been laid by a hawksbill sea turtle. Once the nest successfully hatches, we will be able to collect samples for genetic analysis.

In addition to all the nesting data collection, our research staff traveled to international sea turtle conferences this past year. LMC staff members attended the Second Annual Southeast Regional Sea Turtle Meeting this past February. Our Research Data Manager, Sarah Hirsch, presented on the effects of beach nourishment on loggerhead sea turtles in Juno Beach. In June, LMC staff attended a conference on sea turtle rehabilitation and research in Taiwan. Our Research Field Manager, Adrienne McCracken, presented on the methods and techniques used by LMC’s biologists to conduct nesting surveys on our high-density nesting beach. This past weekend, our research staff members also attended the Florida Keys Sea Turtle Workshop at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida. The conference included a presentation session and lab workshops on anatomy, blood analysis, necropsy and wound VAC therapy. In 2016, two of our research staff members will be presenting at the 36th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation to be held in Lima, Peru.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center to Provide Retail and Café Management at FPL’s New Manatee Lagoon Facility

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Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) will provide retail and cafe management at Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL), Manatee Lagoon – An FPL Eco-Discovery Center™ when the Riviera Beach facility opens in February 2016.The Loggerhead Marinelife Center agreement calls for the Juno Beach-based non-profit to assume management responsibility of Manatee Lagoon’s store and café retail operations. LMC and FPL will share responsibilities for training personnel.

“Visitors to this attraction deserve a great experience the minute they walk through the entrance to Manatee Lagoon,” said Pam Rauch, vice president of Development and External Affairs at FPL. “Anyone who has visited LMC knows what a tremendous asset it is to our community. Partnering with LMC ensures that Manatee Lagoon personnel will benefit from LMC’s know-how to successfully operate this free, visitor-friendly educational facility.”

LMC has been a fixture among Palm Beach County’s eco-attractions for decades. Manatee Lagoon and LMC share similar missions which involve educating the public on the importance of preserving habitat for future generations.

“Manatee Lagoon will be a wonderful addition to Palm Beach County’s growing cultural portfolio.  Like Loggerhead Marinelife Center does for sea turtles, Manatee Lagoon will help educate guests on the plight of the endangered manatee and the lagoons and ecosystems they call home.  LMC is honored to expand our long-standing partnership with FPL and we look forward to providing exceptional experiences at this wonderful new facility,” said LMC President and CEO, Jack E. Lighton.

Program Spotlight: Holiday Room Rentals

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Looking to host your holiday party somewhere unique while also supporting our endangered local wildlife? Loggerhead Marinelife Center is opening up its doors and welcoming you and your guests to celebrate the holidays with our sea turtles this season! Room rental includes a complimentary tour for your guests of our sea turtle yard. They will have an exclusive encounter with our sea turtle patients and learn about one of Florida’s most iconic sea creatures. For more information on booking your holiday party amongst the sea turtles and to check out our special holiday rates, please contact Hannah Campbell, Programs Coordinator, at 561-627-8280 x105 or

Seniors: It’s Time to Come Out of Your Shell


Our seasonal Science for Seniors program is back with brand new topics! Join us on January 5 for our second annual Senior Day, starting at 2 p.m. Enjoy coffee, donuts, and other light refreshments and listen to Dr. Paul Brown, M.D. as he gives his first lecture of the season. For more information or to RSVP a large group, please contact Hannah Campbell, Programs Coordinator, at or 561-627-8280 ext. 105. For more information about each segment of this four-part program, please click here.

Volunteer Spotlight

Karyl Clark

We would like to give a huge congratulations to LMC’s December volunteer of the month, Karyl Clark! Although Karyl has only been volunteering at the center since September, she has been a wonderful addition to the volunteer team. Karyl volunteers in the gift store 3-4 times per week, filling in for other volunteers and helping staff at offsite “pop-up shops.” She has volunteered more than 100 hours since her start. Karyl has also volunteered for numerous special events over the last few months. She attends LMC beach clean-ups and picks up trash when she walks her dogs on the beach in the mornings.

Karyl moved to Florida earlier this year after retiring from UPS. While working, she spent a lot of time traveling. Upon retirement, she chose to move to Florida to enjoy the nice weather. Karyl has family in this area so she had visited LMC before getting involved. Her other hobbies include making jewelry and gardening. It is because of kind and loyal volunteers, like Karyl, that we are about to continue saving sea turtles! We thank Karyl for being such a great addition to the LMC volunteer family.

Thank You, Our Amazing Supporters

• Special thanks to PGA National Resort & Spa for hosting the Seventh Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon – which recognized individuals who are leading the way in raising awareness and have made significant contributions to improve and protect our oceans, beaches, and wildlife. PGA National is a wonderful supporter of LMC! We appreciate the various ways they contribute toward our mission.

• We want to thank Gretchen Scott Designs – Jupiter for hosting a Shop & Share event, benefitting LMC. In one evening, Gretchen Scott raised over $2,000 for our turtles and educational programs. In addition to this wonderful fundraising event, Gretchen Scott consistently donates 100% of the proceeds from the sales of their turtle tunics back to LMC. Thank you!

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• Thank you to Salute Market for hosting the November Blue Friends Society Social! More than 70 LMC supporters gathered for delicious appetizers, cocktails, raffles and a night of fun. Salute also hosted a Beach Bash Clean-Up at LMC, where guests cleaned the beach and enjoyed cocktails and snacks! If you’re interested in joining the Blue Friends Society, you can read more here.