September 2017 Newsletter – Special Post Hurricane


Jack Lighton
Dear Friends of LMC,
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize our team of staff, volunteers and supporters who helped to prepare our campus for Hurricane Irma. Our team was very fortunate to partner with the Georgia Aquarium, who took in our patients so we could continue their rehabilitation care uninterrupted in a safe location.

I would also like to recognize the significant damage Hurricane Irma caused throughout the Caribbean and Florida Keys. Our thoughts are with all who were impacted by this hurricane.

Protecting our campus, staff, volunteers, patients and our mission is of critical importance to us and we carefully followed our disaster preparedness plan ahead of the storm. Now that the storm is over, I am happy to report that our campus sustained minor damage, and our team, volunteers and sea turtles are all accounted for. Here are some specific highlights from our storm prep:

LMC Campus: Our campus closed to guests on Sept. 7 and our staff, volunteers and sea turtles were all safely evacuated by Thursday, Sept. 7. LMC sea turtle patients and select LMC staff members evacuated to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta to ensure our patient’s safety. LMC reopened on Thursday, Sept. 14 and our sea turtle patients returned on Sunday, Sept. 17. You can check out our patients returning back to the Center in this video.

Juno Beach Pier: The Juno Beach Pier did not sustain significant damage and reopened on Thursday, Sept. 14. We thank our partners at Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation for their incredible support in getting the pier ready for the storm.

LMC Aquariums and Life Support Systems: Immediately after it was safe to return to campus, our operations team installed our back-up generators to power the life-support systems for our large aquariums. The team worked in four-hour overnight shifts to keep the generators operating, which protected our wonderful marine life.

Manatee Lagoon: Manatee Lagoon experienced some water damage and will be closed until further notice. Our retail operations team is working to assist the Manatee Lagoon team.

Sea Turtle Hatchlings: To date, more than 200 sea turtle hatchlings have been delivered to our Center for care. These are disoriented or “blow-back / splash-back” hatchlings from the storm, and we expect this number to grow.

Sea Turtle Nesting – Hurricane Irma: As we always remind people when there are storm events, no season is a complete loss for sea turtles. Sea turtles spread out their nests over the course of the season and in different locations on the beach so that no single event (e.g., storms, predators, etc.) results in a total reproductive loss. Prior to the storm, we had approximately 38 percent of our nests still incubating on the beach (the majority of which were green nests).

Please help us thank the team at the Georgia Aquarium: In the coming days we will have a large “Thank You” banner on campus and we will invite our guests, staff, volunteers and supporters to sign this banner to show our sincere thanks to the Georgia Aquarium team. If you can’t get to campus, please feel free to email a note of gratitude to the Georgia Aquarium team at

On behalf of our entire team, I thank you for your continued support of our mission and we look forward to visiting with you on campus soon.

Warm Regards,

Jack E. Lighton

President & CEO


The Turtles’ journey during irma

Prior to Hurricane Irma’s arrival, our team decided to evacuated our sea turtle patients to Georgia Aquarium to ensure their safety. On Thursday, Sept. 7 our 10 patients along with about 40 hatchlings were loaded up and brought to Atlanta, where they would ride out the storm. Each patient reacted differently to the transportation, and an update on how each patient did can be found here. Along with the Georgia Aquarium staff, our team made sure the sea turtles were well taken care of during the storm. When the storm subsided our team had to wait to return to Juno Beach due to the shortage of gas and supplies. The turtles returned on Sunday, Sept. 17 with a police escort homecoming, which can be viewed here. We are happy to report each turtle has adjusted well to coming back to the Center. We extend our sincere gratitude to the team at the Georgia Aquarium who took in our patients during this storm.





As we always remind people when there are storm events, no season is a complete loss for sea turtles. Sea turtles spread out their nests over the course of the season and in different locations on the beach so that no single event (e.g., storms, predators, etc.) results in a total reproductive loss. Prior to the storm, we had approximately 38 percent of our nests still incubating on the beach (the majority of which were green nests).

  • Since leatherbacks are the first ones to nest, none of their nests were impacted by Irma.
  • Approximately 6.3 percent of our total loggerhead nests were lost to Irma.
  • Green turtles are the last to nest and their season aligns with peak hurricane season. However, greens have adapted to these natural weather events and usually lay their eggs higher on the beach than the other two species. Approximately 17.5 percent of our total green nests were lost due to Irma.
  • Overall, we lost approximately 10.8 percent of our total nests to Irma. However, let’s not forget that this was a record breaking year with over 19,000 nests laid! Even with Irma’s impact, our nest numbers are still higher after the loss than our previous record year, at 16,335 nests.
More good news is that we still have nests left on the beach and we have even recorded a few hatch outs in the past week! Additionally, the greens are still coming up to nest – we have documented 14 new green nests since our morning patrols resumed after the storm on Tuesday, Sept 12.




Winter Programming Showcase – Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Winter programming is back at LMC! October marks the return of our popular winter programs and we need you to help us kick off the season! Come check out this year’s winter program offerings by visiting us for our Winter Programming Showcase event. This is a free event that will feature the different winter programs that will be offered October – May.


Palm Beach County Food Bank Volunteer Day – Sept. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. We are very grateful that our sea turtle patients, staff members, volunteers and facility were not tragically affected by the storm. Many members of our local community have been devastated by Hurricane Irma. It is important that we pull together to support each other in times when help is so widely needed. LMC is organizing a volunteer shift at the Palm Beach County Food Bank on Wednesday, Sept. 27. If you are available to join us for this three-hour shift, or if you would like to contribute non-perishable food items for us to bring to the Food Bank for our neighbors in need, please contact Demi at Thank you!


Screening of Smog of the Sea – October 6. Join us for a free screening of The Smog of the Sea, a documentary from filmmaker Ian Cheney that chronicles a research expedition through the Sargasso Sea. Marine scientist Marcus Eriksen invited on board an unusual crew to help him study the sea: renowned surfers Keith & Dan Malloy, musician Jack Johnson, spearfisher woman Kimi Werner, and bodysurfer Mark Cunningham become citizen scientists on a mission to assess the fate of plastics in the world’s oceans. Learn more on the event page.

5:30-6:30 p.m. – All at Once beach clean-up
6:30-7 p.m. – Debris collection/light snacks
7-7:30 p.m. – Film Screening


Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon – The Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon Florida’s most prestigious ocean conservation awards ceremony is on Friday, Oct. 27. Hosted by Loggerhead Marinelife Center, the Go Blue Awards Luncheon recognizes and awards four individuals and one business or nonprofit that have promoted, implemented or contributed to a “blue” lifestyle of marine conservation and have made significant contributions to improve and protect our oceans, beaches and wildlife. This year’s speaker is Brian Skerry, a National Geographic photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Find out more information here.


 Marine Science Academy

: Loggerhead Marinelife Center is continuing the “Marine Science Academy” (MSA) program that will introduce students to interdisciplinary topics in marine science and ocean conservation.

Funded by the Loxahatchee Club Educational Foundation, MSA is open to high school students (grades 9-12) within Palm Beach and Martin Counties. Over the course of the 2017-2018 academic school year, students will participate in outings, trainings, workshops and service opportunities. There is no fee associated with membership.

Activities will include:
• Field Experiences (kayaking, snorkeling, using transects and quadrants to estimate percent cover)
• Aquatic and marine species collection and observation
• Citizen Science training (species counts, sky quality monitoring, marine debris removal)
• Topics in marine biology, coastal ecology, oceanography, and marine geology
• Topics in ocean careers
• Conservation projects
• Volunteering with Loggerhead Marinelife Center (all members must volunteer at LMC a minimum of 40 hours during Fall 2017 – Summer 2018)

For questions, or more information, please e-mail Prestyn McCord, School Programs Coordinator, at
To apply for membership, please fill out the MSA Application form found below.

WHEN: Meetings will be held once a month during the school year beginning in October 2017 and ending in April 2017, with additional activities and field trips added as needed.

WHERE: Meetings will be held at Loggerhead Marinelife Center: 14200 US Highway One, Juno Beach, FL, 33408, with associated activities and field trips in and around the Jupiter area.

​FEENo fee. Application below required for participation.




For the month of August, we would like to recognize Thomas Dickinson as Volunteer of the Month.

Thomas began volunteering at LMC all the way back in 2003. Over the course of those years, he has donated more than 2,250 hours. He has volunteered 105 hours this year alone.

Thomas was nominated by fellow volunteers on their Sunday morning shift. If you take a look in the turtle yard you will see him tirelessly siphoning tanks, cleaning tools in the disinfection area and washing down gurneys behind the scenes.

In addition to being a tremendous worker within the sea turtle rehab team, Thomas is a very talented photographer. His work has been featured on our website and in our annual reports. Local news outlets even reach out to use his photos.

Thank you for all that you do, Thomas!



Manatee Lagoon experienced some water damage from Hurricane Irma and will be closed until further notice. Our retail operations team is working to assist the Manatee Lagoon team.