May 2017 Newsletter


Jack Lighton

Dear Friend of LMC:

Sea turtles tell us the health of our ocean, and our ocean tells us the health of our planet! The 9.5-mile stretch of beach that LMC monitors is one of the most densely-nested stretch of beach in North America. Sea turtle nesting season is here, and as our beaches welcome thousands of sea turtles it is important that we all work together to keep our beaches clean and dark. Cleaner and darker beaches help protect nesting sea turtle “moms” as well as sea turtle hatchlings. There are many fun and easy ways for all of us to help promote a safe and successful sea turtle nesting season. Check out this list for ways you can become involved.

Here in Palm Beach County, we welcome three distinct types of sea turtles to our beaches: leatherback, loggerhead and green sea turtles. The leatherback sea turtle, currently the largest sea turtle in our ocean can grow up to 2,000 pounds. It is also one of the most effective natural predators against jellyfish, eating its body weight in jellyfish each day! In fact, LMC manages one of the longest running-research studies on leatherback sea turtles. Learn more about this innovative research study here.

LMC has now transitioned into our “Summertime Programming,” which includes everything from our popular Junior Marine Biologist Summer Camp to our beach programs, where guests can observe a nesting sea turtle or join our research team on the beach to better understand our research process. LMC will host a number of family-oriented events in the next several months, and we hope that you will join us. Run 4 The Sea, World Oceans Day, Marinelife Day at The Gardens Mall and the Juno Beach Pier Photo Contest offer a fun interactive events perfect for every member of our community.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your continued support. This year has seen many exciting new programs at our center, including the launch of LMC’s Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign. In just five months, you have helped us welcome a record number of guests and students, while raising a significant amount of funds toward our expanded campus. We have a number of matching gift opportunities that allow supporters to double their giving impact towards our campaign. Now the best time to become involved in creating a legacy of ocean conservation. With your help, we will continue to accelerate and amplify our conservation and education impact here in Florida and around our planet – a legacy of which we can all be proud.


With Gratitude,

Jack E. Lighton
President & CEO


Save-THe-Date: LMC Events

  • Summer Programming Showcase. Summer programming is back at Loggerhead Marinelife Center! June 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, June 3 for our Summer Programming Showcase event. Take a peek into our Junior Marine Biologist summer camp room and take advantage of the early-bird registration prices returning for on-campus guests only (up to $45 savings per camper)! Don’t forget to bring in your prospective campers so they may enjoy a sampling of the fun activities they will experience in camp! Plus, get information or register on all 2017 seasonal beach programs including Turtle Walks, Hatchling Releases and Biologist Beach Walks. For more information and to check out the exciting event program schedule, visit:

  • May Beach Cleanup. Join Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Blue Friends on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. for the monthly beach clean-up. Following the one-hour clean-up, join us for light bites sponsored by Whole Foods Market in Palm Beach Gardens. Help us keep the very beach that our turtles call home free from trash and litter. Complimentary breakfast and coffee by Oceana Coffee will be served. Please RSVP to This beach clean-up is sponsored by Bahama Buck’s.

  • Run 4 the Sea. Calling all runners! On June 17 from 7-10:30 a.m., our Sixth Annual Run 4 The Sea will be held in beautiful Juno Beach along the scenic Atlantic Ocean and A1A and celebrates ocean conservation and endangered sea turtles. The event features a fun one-mile run for children and a four-mile run for adults, as well as a post-race celebration with music and breakfast. Can’t make it to Run 4 the Sea 2017? You can still support LMC and earn a race medal and t-shirt by participating as a virtual runner – plus, you’re given the flexibility to run anywhere at any time you desire. There are no age limits or restrictions on how you clock your virtual four-mile run! You do not have to submit your time, but we encourage you to share a photo on LMC’s Facebook event page! Medals and t-shirts will be mailed in July to all virtual run participants. Sign up to participate at:

  • Marinelife Day 2017: The Art and Science of Marine Pollution. This year at Marinelife Day at the Gardens Mall on Aug. 19, Loggerhead Marinelife Center will hold an art contest and science fair for students ages 6-18. Artwork and science projects focused on the top five deadliest marine debris items will be showcased at the event. Select projects will have the chance to work with LMC staff to make their project a reality! The project proposal deadline for both programs has been extended to July 10. For more information, please email

  • Endangered Species Day. Join us in our indoor Learning Center on Friday, May 19 at 12pm to celebrate Endangered Species Day and learn about our favorite endangered marine species – the sea turtle! The free, 1-hour lecture will include information on the biology, morphology, ecology and conservation of sea turtles as well as a special feature on our current sea turtle research projects taking place this nesting season. The lecture will be followed with a FREE behind-the-gates tour of our outdoor sea turtle rehabilitation area to meet our current patients. Free Turtle Yard tours will be offered each hour at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm and filled on a first come, first serve basis. For more information regarding Endangered Species Day at LMC, please contact Kate at

Are you An Ocean Ambassador ?

Our education department is calling all ocean ambassadors to join us for a month filled with ocean conservation programs for all ages.

  • Turtle Walks. Turtle Walk registration is selling out fast! It’s that time of year again and the sea turtles have begun their annual trek to our beaches for summer time nesting and you can watch them! Join LMC staff and volunteers on our unique Turtle Walk program that brings you up close to nesting sea turtles in a safe and responsible setting. You’ll experience a sight you won’t soon forget! Guests will enjoy an educational presentation prior to walking down to the beach to watch a nesting sea turtle lay her eggs. To register for one or more of our seasonal beach programs, please visit

    Photo courtesy of Greg Lovett//Palm Beach Post

  • Travel for the Turtles: Serving the World’s Imperiled Marine life 2017. Travel with LMC and make your next vacation look (and do) good for sea turtles and the environment by joining one of our 2017 SWIM destination eco-tour programs! The Serving the World’s Imperiled Marine life (SWIM) program gives you the opportunity to experience hands on sea turtle research, rehabilitation and conservation efforts while experiencing a unique vacation to some of the world’s most unique marine ecosystems. Take a glance at your itinerary here. Read up on our 2017 destinations (including Hawai’i, Nicaragua) and detailed itineraries at or contact Hannah at to decide where you want to SWIM this year!

  • Calling all High School Students! Seasonal Volunteer Opportunity – Counselor-in-Training (CIT). Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Education staff is currently searching for enthusiastic, eco-minded high school students to join our Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program to assist with our popular Junior Marine Biologist Summer Camp program. CITs will gain valuable experience in the marine science fields as well as real working experience to prepare them for the future. Interested applicants may apply for our CIT position by completing the application found at Deadline for submission is Friday, May 19 to

  • 2017 Junior Marine Biologist Summer Camp. Reserve your camper’s spot in our popular Junior Marine Biologist Summer Camp before we are sold out! This year, we have added two new sessions for aspiring marine biologists and we have seen a record-breaking amount of children ages 6-17 that want to spend time with the turtles this summer. For more information on our exciting, “hands on, feet wet” summer camp program, check out our website at

  • Jr. Research Lab. Children come to the aid of sea turtle hatchlings as junior researchers learn about the nesting process and hatchling care at Loggerhead Marinelife Center in this 30-minute program. Children will perform a simulated excavation and learn about why long term data collection is important to sea turtle conservation and will release their hatchlings out to sea. Program limited to 10 children. Registration takes place 30 minutes prior and is given on a first come, first serve basis.

Conservation Corner

  • Palm Beach County Ocean Friendly Restaurants. In response to the increase of plastic pollution in coastal zones and ocean gyres, the Surfrider Foundation’s Palm Beach County Chapter and Loggerhead Marinelife Center have partnered to bring the Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program to Palm Beach County. Read more about steps restaurants can take to cut down on waste and how LMC’s campus is striving to set an example here.

  • Earth Day Recap. Thank you to all of the guests, supporters, volunteers and staff who made our #EarthDay celebration a success! As of Earth Day, our Gift Store and Tortuga Cafe no longer sell plastic water bottles. A huge thank you to everyone who participated in our beach cleanup. With everyone’s help, we removed a bunch of trash from Loggerhead Park!

  • Juno Beach Pier Conservationist of the Month. We are pleased to announce that our May Conservationist of the Month is Coach Mike. Currently, Mike is a wrestling coach for the School District of Palm Beach County. He can be found on the pier fishing for snook and providing advice to novice anglers. We thank Mike for taking the time to help other anglers learn how to fish responsibly!

  • Deep Blue and You Yoga! Deep Blue Yoga and You! classes will be held on the beach next to the Juno Beach Pier on May 27. Join us at 7:30 a.m. for a FREE 45-minute, slow-flow yoga class followed by a 15-minute beach cleanup. Please be sure to bring your own mat or towel, water bottle and any props you need. For more information on either program, please contact

  • 2nd Saturdays on the Pier. On Saturday, June 10 please join us on the Juno Beach Pier for live music, Kids’ Fishing Lessons, and fishing lessons. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Josh Miles will perform live music at the entrance of the pier. This live music event is open to the public. Our regular pier fishing programs will occur as usual. For more information on our pier programs, please visit:

What’s New in Rehab?

  • Bell Returns Home. Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) recently partnered with the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) to release a juvenile loggerhead back into the ocean. The turtle was found as a straggler hatchling from a nest laid on July 5, 2015 by a sea turtle named Meg on Jekyll Island, Georgia. The GSTC research team found Bell in the bottom of the nest during an inventory after the nest hatched. The initial weight of the turtle was only 15.9 grams. The turtle was kept at the GSTC as an education turtle. An attempt to release the turtle was made last September, but no weed lines could be found so LMC was contacted to try to help get Bell back into the ocean. The Gulf Stream is located much closer to the shores of South Florida than Georgia’s coastline. We were able to release Bell about 12 miles offshore in a large floating bed of sargassum weed on Friday, May 12. Thanks to the help of Florida Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement for their time and use of their boat to make the release a success. The final weight of the turtle prior to release was 1800 grams (3.95 pounds).


Morning Survey. Nesting season is definitely here! We anticipate that leatherback nesting will peak in mid- to late May and then begin to taper off in June. The loggerheads began nesting in mid-April and we are currently documenting about 100 new nests per night! The previous record breaking year for loggerheads was 2016, and we are currently on par with nesting numbers from last year. Last year, LMC recorded 15,234 loggerhead nests. It is possible that we will have an equally high season this year. Peak nesting for loggerheads typically occurs in late June to early July and nesting begins to decrease in August. Our night crew observed a mating pair of green turtles nearshore in early May and a handful of green turtle nests have been recorded in southeast Florida. The green turtles typically begin to nest in late May to early June, so we are on the lookout for our first green turtle nest. We anticipate that the green turtle nesting will reach a peak in August.
The Leatherback Project. Leatherback turtle nest counts have been down this year compared to other years. We are unsure of the cause, but other beaches in the Caribbean are also reporting low numbers. It is possible that the turtles are taking a year off, as they typically nest every two to three years on average. So, there is no cause for alarm just yet. During our nighttime surveys, we have encountered 19 individuals: 17 of those turtles were previously tagged. One of our turtles from encountered this year was originally tagged in 2003 (“Costa”), making her one of the first turtles to be tagged on LMC’s beaches. We have two new tagged turtles this year: “Ramona” and “Lorna.” Additionally, two turtles have been seen twice this year: “Katabatik” and “Gisli”. We have also tagged one loggerhead (“Barbie”: named for the Barbie doll that was found near her when she was nesting) and will tag greens once we get our first nest. We are collecting quite a bit of data on all of these animals including baseline health indices, genetics, contaminant data and disease prevalence. The season is only just beginning and we are excited for what is to come! Please follow our research efforts at:


We would like to recognize Sarah Tolve as May Volunteer of the Month! Sarah began her internship in the education department in January 2017 and has been a tremendous addition to the team. A key component of the Public Programs Internship is the development and implementation of one new program here at LMC and Sarah has far surpassed our expectations. With Sarah on the team, we were able to launch our new Jr. Research Lab program that highlights the efforts of our research team and the importance of collecting nesting data on our local sea turtle population.

On her free time, Sarah is a huge fan of Starbucks (especially if there is chocolate involved), is a member of the Florida Atlantic University dance team and is the head of a community volunteer club at FAU Honors College. She is a rock star and will be working with Florida Oceanographic Society this summer when she returns home to Stuart, Florida.

If you see Sarah in the breezeway, thank her for being awesome! We are grateful to have had her on our team and look forward to working with her in the future as a colleague. Thank you, Sarah!

Jr. Research Lab Program


MASCOT CORNER: “Ask not What…”

Hello friends,

Fletch here, the lovable and huggable Loggerhead Marinelife Center mascot. When I was just a young turtle many years ago, I heard this very inspirational speech from a young President John Kennedy. The message taken from his words was very important to his country. His message can also be applied to sea turtles today and forever:

Ask not what sea turtles can do for you, ask what you can do to help sea turtles.

All species of sea turtles found in U.S. waters or that nest on U.S. beaches are designated as either endangered or threatened. The endangered status means a species is considered in danger of extinction, while threatened means it is likely to become endangered. While sea turtles are at risk, there are things you can do to help:

1) Lights Out for Sea Turtles

  • If you encounter a sea turtle on the beach at night, remain quiet, stay still and keep your distance. Light from your flash light, flash photography and human interaction may prevent her from nesting successfully.
  • Use your natural vision and moonlight when walking on the beach at night.
  • Minimize beachfront lighting during sea turtle nesting season (March 1 – Oct. 31 for Palm Beach County, Florida), by turning off, shielding or redirecting lights away from the beach.
  • Close the blinds and draperies in oceanfront rooms at night, to keep indoor lighting from reaching the beach.
  • Do not construct beach campfires during nesting season. Sea turtle hatchlings are attracted to the light and may crawl into a campfire.
  • Remember “Sea turtles dig the dark.”


2) Help Protect Nesting Habitat

  • Avoid trampling beach vegetation. Use boardwalks when available instead of walking over dunes. The natural vegetation stabilizes sand and reduces beach erosion.
  • Fill in all holes and knock down all sand castles when you leave the beach. Hatchlings and nesting turtles can fall into a hole and become trapped. A sand castle can deter nesting attempts and prevent hatchlings from reaching the ocean.
  • Leave the tracks left by sea turtles undisturbed. Researchers use the tracks to identify the species of sea turtle that nested and to find and mark the nests for protection. If you encounter a sea turtle nest or hatchlings, leave the eggs and baby turtles alone.
  • Remove recreational equipment, such as lounge chairs, cabanas, umbrellas and boats from the beach at night. These items can deter nesting attempts and prevent hatchlings from reaching the ocean.
  • Avoid disturbing marked nests.


3) Be a Responsible Boater

  • Stay alert when boating to avoid sea turtles. Propeller and collision impacts from boats can result in injury and death for a sea turtle.
  • Stay in channels and avoid running in sea grass beds when operating your boat, to protect this important feeding habitat from prop scarring and damage.
  • Avoid anchoring boats in sea grass beds and coral reefs which serve as important feeding and resting habitats for sea turtles.


4) Plastic and Balloons Hurt Turtles

  • Properly dispose of your garbage. Turtles can mistake plastic bags, styrofoam and trash floating in the water as food (jellyfish) and die when the trash fills up their stomach and/or blocks their digestive system.
  • Celebrate events without the use of helium balloons, they hurt turtles. Sea turtles mistake balloons as food (jellyfish) and they can die when it’s ingested.
  • Participate in beach cleanups to remove trash from the beach.


5) Be a Responsible Angler

  • Don’t leave your line behind
  • Cast with care
  • Collect discarded line
  • Replace your old, frayed or brittle line
  • Participate in local cleanup efforts
  • Recycle your line at local monofilament recycling bins or participating tackle shops


6) Take the Pledge and Live it:  “Marinelife Guardian Pledge

I pledge to:

  • Reduce the amount of waste I produce
  • Reuse something instead of throwing it away
  • Recycle something old and make it into something new
  • Respect the ocean, never trash it, and
  • Cleanup the environment where others have trashed it,

to keep a sea turtle’s ocean home: “Clean and Blue, Trash Free”

My sea turtle friends and I thank you, for helping sea turtles, their ocean home and nesting beaches.

Support Sea Turtle Conservation!

  • Adoption Spotlight. Beach days, baseball, exciting vacations – the fast-approaching beginning of summer can mean something different to everyone. For Loggerhead Marinelife Center, it means that we will soon see hatchlings on our beaches and in the hatchling tanks at our center. This summer, you can become an adopted parent of our sea turtle hatchlings at, as well as learning more about how to keep the beaches safe for hatchlings and nesting turtles at


  • Gift Store. As of April 22, 2017 our gift store and Tortuga Café no longer sell plastic water bottles. For the past month, we have been celebrating our transition to selling Boxed Water on campus. Although our campus has featured a water re-fill station and promotes the use of reusable water bottles on campus and at all events, we had offered plastic water bottles to accommodate guests in the past. However, Loggerhead Marinelife Center strives to be a leader in sea turtle and ocean conservation and is working to implement campus sustainability initiatives in 2017. Of the 24 cleanups we’ve sorted so far in 2017, we’ve removed 521 plastic bottles and 5,032 plastic bottle caps. We hope that our efforts to eliminate plastic water bottles from our campus will encourage others to follow in our foot steps. We will offer guests the option of Boxed Water, but we still encourage guests to bring a reusable water bottle to campus or purchase one in our gift store or e-store. All proceeds from our gift store directly support our 38 educational programs and sea turtle patients.


Thank you to The Family Mortgage Team for coming to LMC to clean up the beach and for generously donating funds to support our mission.

Thank you to the sponsor of our May 20 Blue Friends Society Beach Clean-Up, Bahama Buck’s and Athleta. 

Once again, we are overwhelmed by the support that we continue to receive from our community! In just a short 24-hour period, we were able to raise $8,000 (66 individual gifts) for sea turtle nesting and hatching season. Thank you to everyone who gave (time, support, money) during the #GreatGive17! Please follow our nesting and hatching season updates at:
Thank you to Skylar Paletta, who created a t-shirt company and donated proceeds to Loggerhead. 
Thank you to all the wonderful sponsors of our 24th Annual Loggerhead Invitational Golf Tournament: AT&T; Jupiter-Tequesta Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.; Seven Kings Holdings; The Waterford; The Private Jet Company; Enercon; Frenchman’s Creek Beach & Country Club; Angry Moon; Ruth’s Chris Steak House; Starbucks; and Sandy James.


Manatees in the out flow at Manatee Lagoon on Jan. 25, 2016.

Have you ever visited 
Manatee Lagoon – An FPL Eco-Discovery Center?
 We are very thankful to have this wonderful partner in conservation here in the Palm Beaches! During your visit, you’ll learn about manatee and ocean conservation. While attending the center, you may see a few manatees in the lagoon and learn about how manatees play an integral role in the overall health of Florida’s ecosystems. 

We encourage you to take the time to spread information about the gentle sea cow, especially if you live in South Florida or a place where manatees congregate during manatee season. The Manatee Masters at Manatee Lagoon will provide you with all of the educational materials you will need to spread awareness. For additional information about manatees, please refer to Manatee Lagoon’s activity calendar.

As a proud partner of the facility, LMC was selected to manage the gift store and café. With a multi-functional educational center, a manatee webcam, two levels of observation areas and so much more, LMC is grateful to partner with Manatee Lagoon and is excited to watch the center grow as a world-class educational facility in Palm Beach County. Together, we can continue to raise awareness about the sea turtle and the manatee, and help inspire our neighbors, friends and family to be leaders of ocean conservation.

May Activities

Manatee Lagoon Talk – Join us on a walking tour of our visitor center and learn about manatee anatomy, physiology and the importance of GPS tracking devices, as well as the Lake Worth Lagoon.


Mindful Moments Yoga (Adult) – Join Manatee Lagoon for yoga classes against the beautiful calming backdrop of Lake Worth Lagoon.


Rollology/Pilates Class – Join us for pilates classes against the beautiful calming backdrop of Lake Worth Lagoon.


Junior Aqua Lab – A series of four experimental activities that deal with some of the properties of water. Ages 9 to 14.


May Lecture Series: Every Sunday from 2-3 p.m., join the Manatee Masters and an expert speaker for a lecture to learn about a new topic every week!