April Newsletter 2016

CEO Chatter with Jack Lighton

Dear Friends of LMC:

Although the social season here in Palm Beach County may be slowing down, LMC’s remaining 2016 activities are heating up! Sea turtle nesting season is continuing to progress. I am proud to share that to-date we have over 20 leatherback sea turtle nests on our local beaches! LMC researchers are now on local beaches day and night continuing our very important research programs. These programs are designed to help us better understand the local sea turtle population and the beaches they call home.


Are you interested in taking a fun and unique vacation this summertime? Consider booking a trip through LMC’s new Project SWIM eco-tour initiative. This program is designed to help individuals who are interested in Serving the Worlds Imperiled Marine Life (SWIM) via a fun and service-based vacation in some of the most environmentally unique areas on our planet. Experience a unique vacation like never before. While our eco-tours are crafted around the needs of each conservation organization, they are also catered to deliver the best and most unique experience for you. From helping research and rescue sea turtles in Maui to replanting coral reefs in the Florida Keys, LMC’s new travel programs will allow you to have fun, while doing a lot of good for the planet and marine life!


One of the most important parts of Loggerhead Marinelife Center is our amazing volunteer community. We would like to recognize our volunteers and National Volunteer Week – a time where we promote, thank, and recognize volunteer efforts taking place here at LMC and around our world. On behalf of LMC, I would like to thank the women and men who volunteer here and help us tell our story of ocean and sea turtle conservation to guests from around the globe.


Last but not least, Run 4 The Sea is back!  This 4-mile run and exciting 1-mile kids fun run is one of the best ocean-side events in Palm Beach County and allows us to showcase LMC’s work and the importance of our beautiful beaches.We hope to visit with you on campus soon! On behalf of our entire team, we thank you for your continued support and passion for our mission.

Warm Regards,

Jack E. Lighton
President & CEO


Travel with Loggerhead marinelife center for marine conservation

If you think back on your last visit to Loggerhead Marinelife Center, you’ll recall seeing our dedicated staff and volunteers in constant action: transporting sea turtles to and from treatments in our hospital, conducting swim tests on newly arrived hatchlings, observing behavior of recovering patients and conducting critical research on one of the busiest sea turtle nesting beaches in the world.


Now you can be a part of that action.

We are excited to launch our new Serving the World’s Imperiled Marine Life (SWIM) Destination Eco-Tour program that gives guests the opportunity to experience hands-on sea turtle research, rehabilitation, and conservation efforts while embarking on a unique vacation to some of the world’s most unique marine ecosystems. Your participation in a SWIM program will assist critical conservation projects and provide much needed volunteer and financial assistance to like-minded organizations making strides in marine conservation.

2016 Destinations and projects include:

  • Invasive Species Removal: May 27 – 29, 2016 in Key Largo, Florida
  • Loggerhead Sea Turtle Research & Rehabilitation: June 17 – 24, 2016 in Juno Beach, Florida
  • Marine Animal Research & Rescue: July 14 – 23, 2016 in Maui, Hawai’i
  • Coral Restoration: August 25- 27, 2016 in Key Largo, FL
  • Hawksbill Sea Turtle Monitoring & Conservation: September 24 – October 2, 2016 in Padre Ramos, Nicaragua

* Airfare and all meals included


What you will get (and give):

  • Assist conservation organizations with their day-to-day efforts and special projects
  • Provide support for non-profit conservation organizations in need of volunteer and financial assistance
  • Take an active role in global conservation efforts to help minimize the effects of human impacts on marine life
  • Explore diverse ecosystems while learning about their ecological importance in local communities

Interested in signing up? For more information on how to become involved and to book your SWIM program, visit www.marinelife.org/SWIM or contact Hannah at hcampbell@marinelife.org.

2016 sea turtle nesting season update

The leatherbacks are here! We kicked off the Leatherback Project on March 14 and our researchers have encountered 14 nesting leatherback sea turtles as of April 6. Of those turtles, 5 were encountered for the first time and those new turtles were given a unique name as well as metal flipper tags and a microchip.There were 9 turtles that were previously documented by researchers. These turtles were identified by the presence of flipper tags and/or a microchip. There is an international database run by the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research out of University of Florida that compiles all tagging information for sea turtles worldwide. This database is extremely helpful to researchers since sea turtles are highly migratory and often cross international boundaries and may be encountered far from their original tagging location. Interested in following updates on the Leatherback Project? Follow our new blog here.

So, how many nests laid in our survey area? As of April 6, we have documented 20 leatherback nests across our survey area. The loggerhead turtles should start to nest any day now. Last year, we recorded our first loggerhead nest on April 13.

Meet our sea turtle research technicians

These recent graduates and post-graduate students will be assisting LMC biologists with our morning nesting surveys, as well as the Leatherback Project. These seasonal positions extend for 4-7 months and our technicians are a crucial part of our research staff. They will be collecting data out on our beaches all summer – so make sure to say hello if you see them on our beaches conducting our survey work!



Alexis Ferrera

Hometown: Kenwood, California

In college, I became involved with sea turtle biology while studying abroad in Bonaire and volunteering with Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, completing nesting and open water surveys. I was awarded a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon in Marine Biology. Two weeks after graduation I moved to Florida for an internship at Mote Marine Laboratory in the Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program (STCRP), and then took a second internship with the Sea Turtle, Dolphin and Whale Hospital. I was then a technician in the STCRP for the following two seasons. I look forward to expanding my skills this season on the east coast! This will be my first season as a Nesting Season Field Technician with LMC.




Aubrey Frye

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

I received a Bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in Aquatic Sciences in 2014. While there, I did nesting research on a much, much smaller scale with painted and yellow mud turtles. I then interned at the Omaha Zoo, in the Walter Scott Aquarium, and became interested in sea turtle nesting. I jumped at the opportunity to accept the position 2 years ago.  This is my third consecutive season working as a Nesting Season Field Technician for LMC. Last year was a doozy, with over 15,000 nests documented. I can’t wait to see what the turtles have in store for us this year.


Jake Lasala

Hometown: Monmouth, IL

I received my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 2009 and finished my Masters of Science at Georgia Southern University in 2011. I am currently working on my Ph.D. at Florida Atlantic University. I have worked with turtles for over 14 years and worked with marine turtles for over 8 years. My research at FAU focuses on the reproductive behavior of marine turtles nesting in southern Florida. Specifically, I am examining the number of male loggerheads, green sea turtles and leatherbacks across multiple nesting seasons to determine their breeding sex ratios. This will be my first field season working as a Field Technician for the Leatherback Project, but it will be my 4th field season working in Juno. Here’s to a great season!


Jen Reilly

Hometown: Farmingdale, New York
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the Long Island University at Southampton College and my Master of Arts degree in Marine Conservation and Policy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. I have cumulative field experience in sea turtle biology and conservation starting with my internship working for a Graduate student with her thesis research on Hawksbill sea turtles in Hawaii. I also did another internship assisting with sea turtle nesting surveys under the Habitat Conservation Plan in Volusia County, Florida. For the past several winter seasons, I volunteered on seal watch cruises gathering data on the harbor seal population off the south shore of Long Island, New York. This is my third consecutive season as a Field Technician at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Sea turtle nesting on our beaches have been nothing short of phenomenal and an even greater rewarding experience. I am so excited to see what this season will bring us!

Kayla Goforth

Hometown: Painted Post, New York

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science from the University of Florida. I began working with sea turtles in the summer of 2014, tagging the nesting loggerhead and green turtle populations first in Port Saint Joe, Florida and then Sarasota, Florida. I have also worked on research projects studying seagrasses, bottlenose dolphin populations in the Mississippi sound, and the respirometry and energy expenditure of shark. This will be my first season working as a Field Technician for the Leatherback Project.





McKinzie Wilgus

Hometown: Springfield, Missouri
I graduated from Principia College with a B.S. Degree in Biology in 2015.  Throughout my college career I had the opportunity to travel abroad, where I experienced many amazing things. My first trip was to Peru, where I worked with green sea turtles and discovered my new passion. The following year I travelled to Trinidad for a sea turtle biology class. I had the opportunity to work with leatherbacks, which became my new favorite animal. The next summer I did an intern with OSA Conservation in Piro, Costa Rica, where I had the opportunity to work with green and olive ridley sea turtles. These times abroad have made me realize how much I care about sea turtles and their conservation. This will be my first season as a Nesting Season Field Technician with LMC.



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Nicole Chiarelli

Hometown: Palm City, FL

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science and Environmental Science from Florida Atlantic University.  I completed an internship with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Resource Program in 2013, assisting staff members in site inspections, pre-construction meetings and resource assessments.  I began volunteering with LMC as an Education Docent in 2014 and decided to pursue more hands-on experience with sea turtles.  Last year, I moved to Costa Rica to work for a sea turtle conservation project in the Nicoya Peninsula where I tagged nesting Olive Ridley’s, relocated eggs to a protected hatchery and excavated nests.  I am currently a water quality testing volunteer with the Florida Oceanographic Society in Stuart.  This will be my first season as a Nesting Season Field Technician with LMC.




Samantha Colios

Hometown: Jupiter, Florida
I’m a current an undergraduate student at Florida Atlantic University’s Honors College, studying environmental science. I volunteered at LMC for almost 3 years before interning last summer with the research department. Near the end of the summer of 2015 I was promoted to a research technician and am returning this year as a Nesting Season Field Technician.





Sara Bolds

Hometowns: Fort Myers, FL and Wheaton, IL

I will be graduating May 1st from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I completed a sea turtle internship with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples, FL during the 2015 nesting season. During my internship, I collected data for my senior research project which examined the effects of urban glow on loggerhead hatchling orientation on two beaches. I hope to continue my education and get my Master’s degree in conservation biology. This is my first season as a Nesting Season Field Technician with LMC.

4 reasons to run 4 the sea!

Summertime in Florida is hot. There is no doubt about it. However, a nice ocean breeze makes a morning run in Florida quite enjoyable. Our fifth annual Run 4 The Sea is back and better than ever! The event will be held on Saturday, June 18, along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean and A1A. The event features a four-mile run for adults and a one-mile fun run for the kids. The race will directly benefit LMC’s continued mission: to promote conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles.

Need more reasons why you should sign up to Run 4 The Sea? 

You’ll help protect our precious sea turtles and the sea. 


Whether you walk or run the four miles, you’ll be an ocean conservation ambassador for Loggerhead Marinelife Center. This is a simple and fun way to tell your friends and family you care about the beautiful oceans and the creatures that call them home.

Exercise makes you happier and healthier.


It has been scientifically proven that exercise increases happiness and your overall health. A four-mile run could burn between 300-500 calories, depending on certain variables. I’d say that’s a solid workout.

Medals and t-shirts. Need we say more?  


 For the second year, every Run 4 The Sea participant will receive a medal. All pre-registered runners will also receive a beautifully designed t-shirt. Along with these goodies, guests will enjoy a scrumptious breakfast, paired with perfectly roasted coffee. DJ Al will be back for the third year, spinning the perfect summertime race jams.

You’re running alongside beautiful Juno Beach. 


Did you know that Juno Beach is one of the most densely nested loggerhead sea turtle beaches in the entire world? Along with the delightful ocean breeze, you can gaze out towards the very beach that is home to over 10,000 sea turtle nests every year.  Not only will the race provide a nice view, it will also serve as a reminder of how important ocean and sea turtle conservation efforts are.


The four-mile race begins at 7:00 a.m. with the one-mile run following at 8:15 a.m. Registration opens at 6:15 a.m. on Saturday, June 18. Packet pickup will be at Loggerhead Marinelife Center on Wednesday, June 15, and Thursday, June 16, between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Race day pickup will begin at 6:15 a.m. Race bags include official Run 4 The Sea t-shirt and other goodies.

Interested in being a vendor at Run 4 The Sea?  Your business will have a captive audience of over 500 people, with the majority interested in an active lifestyle. Vendor fee is $75, which includes two chairs and a table. You must provide a tent. You can email Veronica Clinton at vclinton@marinelife.org or call 561-626-8280 ext. 103 for more info. You can also find more information on the race at www.marinelife.org/run.

Special thanks to our 2015 Run 4 The Sea Sponsors: Palm Bach Gardens Medical Center, Atticus Printing, The Gymnastics Revolution, Loggerhead Marina, and Jersey Mike’s Subs (Palm Beach Gardens). 

marine biologist from Malaysia visits lmc

Scott Mayback

We love working with international organizations! Scott Mayback (pictured) is a marine biologist working with the sea turtle rescue program through the Gaya Island Resort Marine Center in Sabah, Malaysia. Scott has been working at Loggerhead Marinelife Center since April 2 and will be here until May 3 to gain more rehabilitation experience and collaborate with the education department on several of the conservation programs. Scott helped to establish the sea turtle rescue program in Malaysia three years ago. This is the first sea turtle rehabilitation center established in Malaysia. Since the start of the program, they have rescued 10 sick or injured sea turtles. The causes of strandings are boat strike injuries, fishing net entanglement, chronic debilitation, and neurological issues. Scott would like to learn more about the treatment plans and equipment used at our facility to help implement a higher standard of medical care to their patients. He would also like to spread awareness about these threatened and endangered species, as well as educate the public on how to prevent further depletion of the species. We are very grateful to have Scott here!

Final call for counselors-in-training!

citsDo you know a teen that is looking to gain some work experience in the science or education field that likes to have fun, too? We are looking for fun-loving teens interested in science to apply for our seasonal Counselor-In-Training positions for this year’s Junior Marine Biologist camp! Selected applicants will spend a minimum of three weeks throughout the summer learning about Florida’s coastal ecosystems while gaining valuable experience working in the outdoors and with children. Outgoing personalities are a must! To learn more about this unique opportunity, visit our camp website to download the CIT application. These CIT positions fill up quickly! Applications are due no later than Monday, May 2, 2016. Participant MUST be available on Monday, May 23, and commit to a minimum of three 35/hour weeks.

Earth day activities at lmc

Earth Day is almost here! Earth Day is honored around the world on April 22. Every year, more than one billion people participate in Earth Day. So how can you participate this year? 

10351304_10152881555341973_5989829825509686792_nTo celebrate Earth Day on April 22, join us – starting at 4:00 p.m. at LMC – for our annual Earth Day Beach Clean-Up! The event will feature a Trash Free Seas cleanup on the beach and throughout Loggerhead Park along with contests, prizes, and Earth-friendly snacks! The beach clean up will start at 4pm. The first 100 guests will receive an Earth Day giveaway. We will award prizes after the beach clean up for the greatest number of items removed, the largest item removed, and the strangest item removed. After the cleanup, snacks will be available on the back deck.


After the beach clean-up, head on over to Harbourside Place in Jupiter for their Sip, Shop & Support Event! Support Loggerhead Marinelife Center while sampling wines throughout Shops at Harbourside Place. Cost: $20 donation (Includes: Exclusive turtle bracelet & wine samples). 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

To continue the Earth Day celebration, join us the next day – Saturday, April 23, at 8:00 a.m. at LMC- for the Great American Clean-Up. Please come early to register – as this is one of our biggest clean-ups of the year! We will clean the beach for an hour and then enjoy a complimentary breakfast, courtesy of Whole Foods Market – Downtown at the Gardens. Please bring a bucket to collect trash in! The first 250 volunteers to register will also receive a free t-shirt. Please fill out this form and bring it to the clean-up to receive your t-shirt. Special thanks to Perez & Dubois Real Estate for being this month’s sponsor. You can RSVP to bluefriends@marinelife.org.


Summer programming showchase event


Summer programming is back at LMC! May marks the return of our popular summer programs and we need you to help us kick off the season! Come check out this year’s summer program offerings by visiting us on Saturday, May 7, for our Summer Program Showcase event. Our regularly scheduled programs will be jam-packed in one day and offered for FREE from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. for children of all ages. Programs include: Children’s Research Lab, guided Turtle Hospital tours, exclusive pre-registration* for our popular Turtle Walk and Junior Marine Biologist summer camp programs, plus information on all 2016 seasonal offerings! For more information and to check out the exciting event program schedule, visit www.marinelife.org.

*credit card payment only

Save the date: Endangered species day!


Did you know there are nearly 50 Federally Endangered species found in Florida? Many of them can live right in your backyard! Join us on Saturday, May 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to meet some of these special residents of Florida and hang out with our federally protected sea turtle patients! A special appearance by Manatee Rescue Division will also be conducting a manatee rescue workshop and share what guests can do to help protect these gentle giants. With wildlife encounters, children’s crafts, and FREE turtle yard tours, this is definitely an event you don’t want to miss. We hope to see you there!

free fishing pier program


Do you know an aspiring young angler?  Join us for a free Kid’s Fishing Program at the Juno Beach Pier on May 1!  Participants will learn basic techniques for fishing from both a beach and a fishing pier including knot tying, casting, species identification, and proper release protocols. In addition to fishing skills, participants will learn to be ethical anglers. Instructors will cover habitat protection, sea turtle rescue, and the importance of collecting and recycling monofilament fishing line. Participants will leave with the knowledge and experience necessary to serve as responsible anglers. To reserve a spot in a fishing program, please contact Demi at 561-627-8280 ext. 107 or dfox@marinelife.org.  Space is limited.

volunteer of the month


We would like to give a huge congratulations to LMC’s April volunteer of the month, Pam Bariou. Pam has been an active LMC Volunteer since September 2015 and has accumulated 200 hours in that time. She volunteers each Sunday as a Greeter. Pam also regularly fills in for additional Greeter shifts, helps at sea turtle releases, education outreaches and has volunteered for nearly all of our special events since getting involved in the volunteer program. Pam greets every visitor with a smile, provides great information and is always willing to help out in any way. While volunteering, Pam also shows visitors around the Exhibit Hall and tries to make visits to LMC special for each guest.

Pam moved to Florida from the northeast to enjoy the beautiful weather. She enjoys golfing, going to the beach, spending time with Dorothy, her family, her grandkids and her two dogs. We truly appreciate everything Pam does for LMC and look forward to having her volunteer each week. It is because of kind and loyal volunteers, like Pam, that we can continue saving sea turtles! We thank Pam for being such a great addition to the LMC volunteer family.

 The great give is back!


The Great Give is here! The Great Give is a 24-hour online giving event led by theCommunity Foundation for Palm Beach County, United Way of Palm Beach County and United Way of Martin County, designed to raise as much money as possible for local nonprofits in a single day. This community-wide event celebrates the spirit of giving and the collective effort it takes to strengthen our community by raising critical funds for local nonprofits. Every dollar counts. Save the date for May 3-4 this year! Click here for more info.


program spotlight: public evening tours


Did you miss last month’s Evening Guided Tours? You still have time to experience this exclusive after-hours all-access tour! Each Wednesday throughout April ONLY we will be leading the last of our Evening Guided Tours for the season. Join us as we enjoy light bites and wine during an hour-long stroll through both our Exhibit Hall and Turtle Yard. Highlights include an introduction to our many fish species in our five aquaria, a glimpse at a prehistoric fossilized sea turtle, learning about sea turtle conservation and how you can help, and of course a behind-the-gates tour of our sea turtle patient rehabilitation area.

• Advance registration only • $20/adult, $12/child

take a once in a lifetime walk with sea turtles this summer


Our popular, summertime Turtle Walks are back! The walks will be held Wednesday through Saturday evenings in June and July, which is the peak time of nesting season for loggerhead sea turtles to emerge from the ocean and lay their eggs. These walks are held on Juno Beach, one of the most densely nested loggerhead sea turtle beaches in the world, home to over 10,000 loggerhead nests last year.

Experienced LMC scouts will patrol our designated section of Juno Beach searching for sea turtles while visitors enjoy an informative presentation on the plight of sea turtles and visit with our sea turtle patients in the outdoor sea turtle hospital. Once a sea turtle is found and begins her egg-laying process, the group is then able to join the scouts on the beach to watch this unforgettable experience. Turtle Walks are $17 per person or $12 per person for LMC members. Walk-ins are a flat rate of $20 and are not guaranteed a spot. Children must be 8 years or older to attend the walks. Attendees must be able to walk up to half a mile to attend the walks.

We can only accommodate up to 25 people per night and dates fill up quickly. There is no relationship between sea turtle nesting activity and the phase of the moon, weather, or tides. All scheduled Turtle Walk nights have the same odds of the group seeing a nesting turtle. There are no refunds on tickets if a turtle is not spotted. Registration opens on May 2. 


We love our volunteers – national volunteer week 2016!

VolunteersThis week is National Volunteer Week and we are here to celebrate! We simply could not do what we do without these dedicated and loving people. They are truly amazing. We have an active network of more than 300 volunteers and rely heavily on their support. We have volunteers in all different areas of our campus. Our administration volunteers assist with sea turtle adoptions, guest surveys, and event prep. Our gift store volunteers act as stock assistants, sales associates, and cashiers. Greeter volunteers are the first impression of LMC as they welcome guests and provide information to enhance the LMC experience.


Education docents are sea turtle ambassadors in the outdoor sea turtle hospital, experts on the displays and aquaria in the exhibit hall, represent LMC at special events and outreaches, and are involved in nearly every public program LMC offers. We would not be able to provide weekly educational programs to our guests without the dedication of all of our field trip and public program volunteers. They educate thousands of students and visitors every year on the importance of sea turtle and ocean conservation. Our sea turtle rehabilitation volunteers help clean tanks, prepare food, as well as weigh and measure the sea turtles. The feeder volunteers arrive bright and early to feed and prep the appropriate food diets for our patients.


We could not do what we do without these incredible volunteers. THANK YOU! If you’re interested in joining our volunteer family, click here.


looking for a mother’s day gift?

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Mother’s Day is nearly three weeks away! Make Mom smile with a special gift from our wonderful gift store. We have something for every mother, no matter what her interests are. Everything from chocolate, jewelry, turtle tunics, coastal decor, and much more!

You can also adopt a sea turtle in honor of a mom in your life. You can adopt a sea turtle now for as low as $35! All adoptions include a personalized certificate and letter, a glossy photograph, educational materials, and advance notice on your turtle’s release. Your thoughtful gift helps LMC save these magnificent creatures while engaging your loved ones in the ongoing need for ocean conservation.

Not local? You can always check out our online gift store for sea turtle and marine-themed gifts! We keep growing our online store every week with more and more items. Happy shopping!

Thank You, Our Amazing Supporters

• A huge thank you to Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar (Harbourside Place) for their continuous support and generosity! In February, Tommy Bahama hosted LMC’s Blue Friends Society’s social event and a Shop & Share Event – donating 10% of their sales back to LMC. They also donated $500 to cover the cost to fix the vandalism on the Juno Beach Pier this month. Thank you!!

• Special thanks to Curate Clothes & Accessories for hosting a Shop & Share event! They donated 10% of their sales back to LMC from the event. Curate also sold vibrant turtle scarves for the event. We thank them so much for their support!


• A special thank you to Max Brassner for helping our sea turtles! Max spent his spring break gathering spare change from his neighbors with a sign that read, “Change for the Sea Turtles.” Thank you, Max for all your hard work and support!

Max's Change for Sea Turtles_Mar2016

• Thank you to Consign-It-Jupiter for helping LMC sell donated art work to raise funds for the turtles! Your support will help the operations of the center wherever the need is greatest.Consign-It-Jupiter for helping LMC sell donated art work to raise funds for the turtles! Your support will help the operations of the center wherever the need is greatest.