October 2017 Newsletter


Jack Lighton

Dear Friends of LMC,

I am honored to bring you this special "Go Blue Awards" edition of our monthly newsletter. October is a very busy month at LMC. We will host our 9th Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon on October 27th and on October 31st we will officially conclude our record-setting sea turtle nesting season.

Now in its 9th year, our Go Blue Awards Luncheon - chaired by Lynne and Pete Wells and hosted by our Blue Friends Society - is Florida's premier ocean conservation awards event. Our Go Blue Awards Luncheon allows LMC to recognize and honor individuals and businesses who help support LMC's mission of ocean and sea turtle conservation.  Our awards are bestowed by an independent panel of judges, many of whom are internationally recognized for their conservation efforts.

This year we are proud to have Manatee Lagoon, a FPL Eco-Discovery Center, as the Luncheon's presenting sponsor. We also are excited to welcome one of National Geographic's most notable photographers and conservationists, Brian Skerry as our keynote speaker. Please join us in celebrating this magnificent event and the incredible work of this year's finalists.

You may recognized the name "Skerry" as the name of a current sea turtle patient. We are excited to honor Brian Skerry's visit to LMC by naming one of our sea turtle patients in his honor. "Skerry" is part of our newly re-imagined adoption program, which has arrived just in time for the Holiday Season. A sea turtle adoption from LMC is the perfect size for anyone.

Speaking of the holidays, one of our most favorite family-friendly events, Turtleween, returns to LMC on October 21st.  This is a perfect way to spend the afternoon with your little hatchlings, ghosts, and goblins.  As with all LMC events we infuse all that we do with a responsible conservation-minded perspective and offer fun and exciting ways that each of us can enjoy Halloween while reducing our impact on our planet.

Please remember, the sea turtle tells us the health of our ocean; our ocean tells us the health of our planet.  We are grateful for your support and passion for our mission and we look forward to visiting with you on campus soon.

With Gratitude,

Jack E. Lighton

President & CEO


Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards 

The Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon, Florida’s most prestigious ocean conservation awards ceremony, is on Friday, Oct. 27. Presented by Manatee Lagoon, 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. An award-winning photographer, Brian is praised worldwide for his aesthetic sense as well as his journalistic drive for relevance. His uniquely creative images tell stories that not only celebrate the mystery and beauty of the sea, but also bring attention to the large number of issues that endanger our oceans and its inhabitants.

For National Geographic Magazine, Brian has covered a wide range of stories, from the harp seal’s struggle to survive in frozen waters to the alarming decrease in the world’s fisheries, both cover stories.  Other NGM features have focused on subjects such as the planet’s last remaining pristine coral reefs, the plight of the right whale, sharks of the Bahamas, marine reserves, sea turtles and squid. His latest cover story, about dolphin cognition, appeared in the May 2015 issue. He is currently at work on his twenty-sixth feature story for NGM. Purchase a signed copy of his latest book HERE.

Our finalists have been announced for each category. The Eleanor Fletcher Award, named for the founder of Loggerhead Marinelife Center, recognizes an individual who has exemplified a lifelong, extraordinary commitment to marine conservation through their work or volunteer activities. The Blue Ambassador of the Year Award recognizes a person who has made significant contributions in marine conservation through volunteer-related activities. The Blue Friend of the Year Award recognizes a person who has made significant contributions in marine conservation through work-related activities. The Blue Hatchling Youth Award recognizes students up to and including 12th grade who have made significant contributions in marine conservation through volunteer related activities. The Blue Business of the Year Award recognizes a business that has made outstanding contributions toward promoting and encouraging conservation, restoration or preservation of marine life and/or marine ecosystems through their business practices, products or technology. Learn about all the finalists and their Blue Lifestyle HERE.


Save THe Date 

Turtleween - This year, our FREE annual "spook-tactular" Halloween event is on October 21st and is sure to be a turtle-y fun time for the whole family! From 10 a.m - 4 p.m. bring your ghouls and goblins for a visit with our sea turtle patients and decorate a free, reusable, turtle-approved trick-or-treat bag to use on the big day! Take a peek into our Haunted Hospital, experiment with our mad scientists in the Mad Science Lab, get creative and up-cycle with us at our post-consumer craft area. We will have Scary Seas to explore and spooky Creatures of the Deep who are dying to meet you in our Abyssopelagic Zone, where you can create your own bioluminescent creature from the deep! Catch our own Dr. Logger in a special, spooky presentation on an ocean without sea turtles. Get in the Halloween spirit at our face painting station and be sure to show off your costume at our costume parade led by our very own mascot, Fletch!


Bear Trap Bash - Please join us at the inaugural Bear Trap Bash, presented by The Honda Classic Cares. Replicating the energy of the famed Bear Trap at The Honda Classic, this Halloween party will be raising awareness for philanthropy in Palm Beach County, including Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Join us for spirits, brews and bites, live music, an exciting auction and prizes for the best costume! Purchase tickets HERE.


Beach Clean-Ups - The next Beach Clean-Up is on Oct. 21. Join Lynne Wells and her group of Blue Friends each month on the third Saturday at 8:30 a.m. for the Juno Beach beach clean-up. Following 1-hour of cleaning the beach, join us for a light breakfast sponsored by Whole Foods Market in Palm Beach Gardens. Bring a bucket to collect the trash and garden gloves if you have them. Help us keep the very beach that our turtles call home free from trash and litter.
 Complimentary coffee by Oceana Coffee will be served. Please RSVP to Lynne: bluefriends@marinelife.org. Check out our website for more beach clean-up dates HERE.


Conservation Corner

RPI Hernando County - LMC’s Responsible Pier Initiative has expanded to five new sites in Hernando County! In partnership with the UF/IFAS Hernando County Extension Office, educational signage and mono filament recycling tubes were installed at fishing piers and boat ramps, though not quite as smoothly as usual. READ MORE
All At Once - LMC was recently invited to become an All At Once partner at the Jack Johnson concert in West Palm Beach. We spoke with thousands of concert-goers about how they can take part in sea turtle conservation and learned more about the sustainability initiatives in place on the tour. Jack spoke about the ocean pollution he has seen and encouraged his fans to be involved in their communities.



Knowledge is power!

Astronomy Nights at LoggerheadCome enjoy the wonders of the night sky! Attend a seminar led by the Astronomical Society of the Palm Beaches featuring highlights of the current night sky including a planet, a galaxy and constellations. Then, join us in the park to peer through powerful telescopes and binoculars to get a closer look. Feel free to bring your own binoculars and telescopes for this far-out nighttime program! This season’s Astronomy Nights launches on October 13th. For more information or to reserve your spot, contact Sue at sthompson@marinelife.org. Cost: $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children 8+


Homeschool WorkshopsDid you know Loggerhead Marinelife Center now offers workshops exclusively for homeschool students? These workshops series focuses on various marine science topics, including marine biology, coastal ecology, veterinary science, water quality, oceanography and ocean conservation. These workshops include hands-on activities and lessons for students ages 6-13. Join us for our upcoming All About Plankton workshop on October 17th and our Kayak Adventure workshop November 14th and 21stFor more information, please contact Sue at sthompson@marinelife.org and register HERE.  Cost: $10 for one student and chaperone to attend


Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire Visits LMC Sea Turtle Hospital


An enthusiastic group of veterinarians and biologist visited LMC this past August to gain more knowledge and experience for the development of a sea turtle hospital and conservation center in Bonaire, the Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB).  Their goals were to write protocols for STCB’s stranding and response team, create a “photo book” of ideas and concepts to show other conservationists involved in STCB and find potential sources of donations to help develop education programs and fund the rehabilitation of sick and injured sea turtles.  The visit to LMC, in combination with Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, had “far surpassed the learning aims and outcomes that were envisioned,” said Dr. Sue Willis. “It turned out to be the best training experience that I ever experienced.”

“All of Loggerhead's staff, particularly the veterinary staff, were incredibly generous with their time and knowledge. The knowledge I have gained has been invaluable in developing the plan for Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire to move forward in sea turtle healthcare and rehabilitation. I now can better assist them in developing their rehab program and facility, as well as help with goals in education, conservation and fundraising. The gift of knowledge from LMC will be instrumental in STCB's future progress,” said Dr. Michele Mautino.

Since returning to Bonaire, STCB has decided to create a “STCB Visitor Center,” identified five key educational programs that will be implemented, completed and submitted a grant application to fund new development with STCB, and started a partnership to create a “SWIM” ecotour trip with LMC to Bonaire. They will also work on extending their conservation-based retail items, raise money for hatchling tanks, implement research methodologies adapted by LMC and strengthen their relationships with the US sea turtle rehabilitation facilities.

It was a pleasure having Dr. Sue Willis, Richard Willis, Dr. Michele Mautino, and Randy Rathbun at our facility. We wish them well with the development of their new sea turtle rehabilitation and conservation facility and appreciate our new partnership.



NIGHTTIME RESEARCH - The results of our research projects are slowly trickling in and we have gotten some interesting findings. One of our research projects dealt with maternal transfer of the fibropapilloma virus (a herpesvirus) that is believed to cause large tumorous growths that primarily affect green turtles. We found that nearly 45% of our sampled nesting females tested positive for this virus. This means that a large number of turtles are sub-clinical carriers (i.e., they do not express external symptoms, but carry the virus internally). The next step of this research is to test the blood of their hatchlings to determine if the virus is transmitted from mother to offspring. Irma washed out the majority of our remaining nests for this study; however, we are still waiting on a few nests from this study to hatch. We are very excited about this research as it might tell us that the virus is transmitted maternally, and is not just picked up from their environment. Another project of interest was determining concentrations of previously unidentified contaminants in leatherbacks. Some of these contaminants are “endocrine disruptors,” meaning that they disrupt hormonal levels in the body. Many of these contaminants - such as bisphenol A, or BPA,of which you may have heard as being common in plastics in water bottles, were detected in the plasma of the nesting leatherbacks. More concerning is that we found very high concentrations of these contaminants in the eggs. Some of these toxicants appear to be related to maternal health and hatchling quality and further research will seek to determine if effects on hatchling development are occurring as a result.


MORNING SURVEY - As of October 3, we have recorded 19,081 nests along our survey area (97 leatherback, 11,179 loggerhead and 7,805 green turtle nests). This year is a record breaking nesting season for LMC. The previous record year was 2015 with 16,335 nests.

Our biologists will continue to be on the beach daily to monitor the remaining marked sea turtle nests for signs of hatchling emergence, erosion, tampering or predation events. This season, our researchers marked and evaluated over 1,200 nests (that means we counted over 100,000 eggshells!). The data collected during excavations of the marked nests will enable our researchers to calculate the number of hatchlings produced in our 9.5 miles of beach.

A nest excavation is conducted once a marked nest has hatched and either the emergence was observed, or the nest has incubated for 70 days (80 for leatherbacks). LMC research staff wait at least 72 hours post-observed emergence before excavating a hatched nest, so as to minimize impact on the natural hatching process. All contents of the nest are dug up, separated and counted. The nest contents are sorted into: hatched eggs, unhatched eggs, dead hatchlings, live hatchlings, pipped dead and pipped live. The term pipped refers to the process of the baby turtle cracking the egg shell to begin the emergence process. If the turtle has not fully emerged from the egg it is included in the pipped category; if it has completely crawled out of the egg it is counted as a hatchling. All live hatchlings and pipped live are evaluated and released by our research staff in accordance with Florida Fish and Wildlife protocols. If a hatchling needs medical attention it is transferred to the care of LMC hospital staff.

As of October 3, there were about 100 marked nests remaining on Juno, Jupiter and Tequesta beaches


For the month of September, we recognize Donna Langdon as Volunteer of the Month.

Donna began volunteering at LMC just a few months ago. Since beginning in May, she has been greeting guests at the front desk and educating them on LMC and our mission.

In her short time here at LMC, Donna has gone above and beyond the call of duty. She volunteers every Friday morning and always comes in when we are in need of help & a smiling face at the guest service desk. Following Hurricane Irma, Donna came in to assist staff & volunteers as they got Loggerhead Marinelife Center up and running again.

Donna helped lead the Biologist Beach Walk program this summer. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, with some of her photos being used in our Weekly Updates.

Thank you for your hard work, Donna!





 MASCOT CORNER: Wind, Rain, Surf and Trash

Hello Friends, Fletch here, the lovable and huggable Loggerhead Marinelife Center mascot. I had a very busy summer attending various events around town giving out hugs, high fives and pictures with friends - especially selfies. Then Hurricane Irma came to town in early September and we took a trip to Georgia to escape the storm. That’s another story for a future newsletter or I may just wipe those memories from my little sea turtle brain. So let’s talk about Hurricane Irma. The storm not only brought strong winds, heavy rain and rough surf to Florida, but the surf left a lot of marine debris on our beautiful beaches. Marine debris is a fancy word for TRASH. Yes, trash from humans not reptiles, birds, fish or other marine life was brought on shore by Hurricane Irma. What kinds of trash, you may ask? All kinds of trash: plastic bottles, plastic bags, straws, bottle caps, glass bottles, tires, cans, 6-pack rings, foam containers and even the kitchen sink, to name just a few. So, what can you do to help keep my ocean home trash-free? You can make the choice to be a “Helpful Human,” by taking the “Marinelife Guardian Pledge:”

I pledge to reduce, reuse, recycle,
respect the environment, never
trash it and clean up where others
have trashed it.

Then live the pledge as part of your daily life style and share it with family, friends, co-workers, teachers and classmates. Let’s work together to keep my ocean home clean, blue and trash-free. Protecting the ocean is our responsibility. Let’s get started; there is a lot of work to do!



Support Sea Turtle Conservation!

Adoption Spotlight - This month, LMC will host the Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon, featuring keynote speaker Brian Skerry. To celebrate Brian Skerry's work as a world-renowned National Geographic photographer, telling the story of our world ocean and fighting for its conservation, we have named one of our sea turtle patients in his honor. Skerry the turtle arrived at LMC on September 25 with old boat propeller wounds as well as anemia and slight hypoglycemia. Skerry has been progressing well during the turtle’s treatment at the Center. You can support LMC's efforts to rehabilitate Skerry by adopting the turtle at marinelife.org/adopt.






Gift Store - Some of our gift store products are now available on Amazon! Make sure you shop on AmazonSmile. It is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When shopping on AmazonSmile select Loggerhead Marinelife Center and a percentage of your purchase will be donated back to LMC! Check out our products and don't forget to shop AmazonSmile!


Vendor Spotlight

Name: Melissa Rinaldi
Company:  Go Coastal Studio
Gift Store Product: Paintings
Where you're from and currently reside: Jupiter, Florida

How long have you been painting? When or how did you get into it?
I have been painting pretty much all my life. I was homeschooled until high school, so we chose our path in addition to pursuing the core subjects. It only started as a career for me when I was pregnant with my third child. That was two and a half years ago. I went to Flagler College and started out as an art major, then I switched to political science. I actually practiced real estate law and didn’t paint seriously for six years, but I still kept art as a side gig and creative outlet. I lived in Tampa, Philadelphia and now I’m here in Jupiter.

Where do you get ideas? What is your inspiration?
My map series is the most popular. In fact, I did a map of Jupiter. I’ve always taken suggestions from my fans on social media and have painted a variety of maps along the Florida coastline. My inspiration and style is bright and beachy – but with attention to detail. I wanted more than todo just impressionist/abstract art.

What is your favorite thing you’ve ever created?
I did a mural in a local Abacoa studio called Ready 2 Hang Art. It was really cool to create that, and the owner let me take two months to paint it. It’s up for another month.

Where is your favorite place to see art?
I loved going to New York City, the big galleries, just the different styles are all so amazing. Also, I love the Met. The Salvador Dali museum in St. Petersburg, Florida is amazing too; I love Dali. My favorite artists range from Dali to Michelangelo. It’s really amazing to see how many different styles there are.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard about art/creativity?
Listen to your audience. This started from my sister in Palm Beach County, who told me to leave out the color black. Now my paintings are bursting with color!

What drew you to painting on mugs?
That’s how I partly changed from painting as a hobby to painting as a career. When I learned how to print my works of art on a purse, phone case, mug and other every day items that people can use, it was transformational. And that’s the great thing about social media. You get ideas, like “Don’t forget this or that.” Listening to your audience is key. That’s who I paint for – not myself, and that’s why it’s great to know how to do different things. It’s about expanding things beyond the sketchbook.



Many thanks to The Elsner Perrault Sass Team with Illustrated Properties, who held a Twilight Broker’s Open House in Breakers West to benefit the Research Department at Loggerhead Marinelife Center. The team is focused on giving back to the community and donates 10% of their commission to the charity of the buyers' and sellers' choice. You can learn more about their team at sellingthepalmbeaches.com  


Loggerhead Marinelife Center recently received a $6,293.25 grant from the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program to purchase a new ATV. The grant program is funded by the sales of the seaturtle specialty license plate. We’re so grateful to the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program for their support. The grant has already enabled us to more effectively conduct research along the 9.5-mile stretch we monitor, while representing the beautiful state of Florida and educating others about the importance of protecting its environment.


Special thanks to September's beach clean-up sponsor, James Stanton at UBS, who helped to collect over 500 pounds of debris from the beach following Hurricane Irma.

We would also like to thank this month's beach clean-up sponsor, RBC, Kirstin and Telby Turner.


Thank you to Abacoa Property Owners' Assembly, Inc.  for visiting and donating to Loggerhead Marinelife Center. We enjoyed hosting their residents at the Lunch and Learn event.


Thank you to Stuart Ceramics Painting Studio for hosting a fundraiser for LMC this month! Throughout the month of October, Stuart Ceramics will donate 10% of your total back to LMC if you mention Loggerhead at checkout.





Manatee Lagoon is re-open after Hurricane Irma. 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.

LMC is grateful to partner with Manatee Lagoon, which features a multifunctional educational center, a manatee webcam, two levels of observation areas and so much more. We are 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. Pre-registration is required for events.

October Activities 

Manatee Lagoon Tour – 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.

Manatee Tales Story Time - Listen as a Manatee Master storyteller reads colorful books about aquatic species that live in Lake Worth Lagoon. Children ages 2 to 5 are welcome.

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

Children’s Art Class – Every Saturday express your creativity with a different art theme each week.