Why Loggerhead Marinelife Center is so much more than I thought

“Loggerhead Marinelife Center is one of Florida’s most unique cultural destinations, focused on ocean and sea turtle conservation.”

As a South Florida native and frequent Juno Beach goer, I have attended LMC on many occasions growing up but I never fully understood everything they did until now. I just started working at Loggerhead Marinelife Center as the marketing & social media coordinator, and to be able to market the Center I need to know everything it’s about. I learned a few things very quickly.

1. LMC is making a difference worldwide.
I knew the Center was a popular destination and focused on sea turtle conservation but what I didn’t know was all of the efforts LMC does towards ocean conservation. The public doesn’t always realize that LMC focuses on ocean conservation, but the Center is currently partnered with over 16 organizations worldwide. LMC’s global conservation efforts are designed to protect sea turtles and their habitat. “Sea turtles tell us the health of the ocean and the ocean tells us the health of the planet,” is a widely stated statement at Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Project SHIELD is a multi-faceted program that provides 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. When learning about all of these efforts I learned why these initiatives are so vital. A small initiative, such as LMC’s Ballon Ban, can make such a big difference because balloons resemble jelly fish which is common prey for sea turtles. Balloons end up in the ocean and turtles mistake it for their food.

2. LMC manages the Juno Beach Pier.
Most people think a pier would not be partnered with an ocean conservation organization because of the fishing that takes place on the pier, but Juno Beach Pier is a part of the Responsible Pier Initiative that LMC started. It is designed to work with anglers and fishing piers to teach responsible fishing practices. First-responders are trained and supplied with necessary resources to respond effectively to sea turtle injuries and stranding’s. The main concept of the Responsible Pier Initiative is to provide educational signage and rescue nets and take pollution prevention measures. Something I got to experience firsthand was the recent installation of the cigarette butt disposal boxes on the pier. This makes it easily accessible for people to dispose of their cigarettes properly.

3. LMC has given me a new perspective
I used to just grab a single-use water bottle before heading out of the house when I have a ton of reusable options. But LMC has banned plastic bottles on the campus. More than 80 percent of water bottles end up in landfills, and can last over 450 years composing the majority of litter on beaches and in oceans, according to EcoWatch. I didn’t really realize the huge impact water bottles have. I am sure as I continue to work here, there will be many things I gain a new perspective on!

When I tell people that I just started working at LMC, the reaction is mostly “Oh the place that saves the turtles.” At first I would just say yes, but now I’m excited to go into more detail to explain how the Center does so much more!