Juno Beach-based non-profit serves as hospital, educational facility, research center and conservation hub
Written by Meg Teuber, LMC College Ambassador, Clemson University
While there are several turtle rehabilitation centers in Florida and around the world, few have the extended focus on ocean conservation that Loggerhead Marinelife Center does. After more than 30 years of growth, LMC is fortunate and humbled to become a prominent leader in sea turtle rehabilitation, research and education.
Many sea turtle rehabilitation centers have a main focus on rescuing injured sea turtles and hatchlings. Additionally, many sea turtle researchers focus on sea turtle conservation through data collection and monitoring through nesting surveys. Loggerhead Marinelife Center does this in addition to serving its guests through over 35 education programs, which teach students and visitors of all ages the importance of protecting our ocean ecosystems, and dedication to global conservation projects.
In 2013, Loggerhead Marinelife Center started Project SHIELD, which aims to provide conservation solutions to fishing piers, recreational boaters, beach-side hotels, snorkel and SCUBA operators, fishing charter operators, and beach access points as well as pollution prevention projects. On top of educating the public through workshops, outreach and signage, Project SHIELD also includes the Responsible Pier Initiative which helps to prevent pollution on many piers throughout the Southeastern United States and internationally. The Juno Beach Pier, managed by LMC, hosts quarterly underwater cleanups to remove debris that could harm marine wildlife. Loggerhead Marinelife Center has also placed recycling bins, containers for recycling fishing line and cigarette receptacles across Florida’s eastern coast, preventing thousands of pieces of debris from potentially polluting the ocean.
The Center’s one-year-old Balloon Ban Project also rests under Project SHIELD. Currently, there are 15 Florida municipalities involved. Balloons are often mistaken as jellyfish, a common prey item for sea turtles. By banning the use of balloons near the ocean an effort is being made to help decrease the amount of trash in the ocean and save the lives of many sea turtles.
It’s no wonder that Loggerhead Marinelife Center stands out from the crowd. On top of rehabilitating sea turtles, studying sea turtle nests along a 9.5-mile stretch of beach and educating the public, Loggerhead Marinelife Center has formed conservation initiatives to help not only sea turtles, but the ocean as a whole. LMC seeks to be recognized locally and internationally as the leading authority in sea turtle education, research, and rehabilitation, teaching others that ocean conservation will help ensure that marine ecosystems will remain clean and beautiful now and forever.