October 2018 Newsletter

CEO Chatter with Jack E. Lighton

Jack Lighton

Dear Friend of LMC,
As we sail through fall, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to a very special Go Blue Awards Luncheon edition of our monthly eNewsletter! Our Go Blue Awards Luncheon was co-founded by Lynne and Pete Wells and recognizes those who contribute to a “blue” lifestyle of ocean conservation. Now in its 10th year, the Go Blue Awards Luncheon is Florida’s largest and most preeminent ocean conservation awards event. A very unique element of the awards luncheon is our independent panel of judges, who have the challenging position of reviewing all nominations, narrowing down the finalists and awarding the recipients. 

The 2018 Go Blue Awards judges are: Gary Adkison – U.S. Shark Foundation, director; Fabien Cousteau – aquanaut, oceanographic explorer, conservationist and documentary filmmaker; Cristina Mittermeier – contributing photographer, speaker, and explorer for National Geographic; Sally Murray – daughter of LMC Founder Eleanor Fletcher; Susan Murray – Oceana Deputy vice president U.S. Pacific, granddaughter of LMC Founder Eleanor Fletcher; Paul Nicklen – acclaimed National Geographic photographer, biologist and conservationist; Joel Sartore – photographer, speaker, author, teacher, and a 20-year contributor to National Geographic Magazine; and Jim Toomey – Mission Blue executive director, creator of Sherman’s Lagoon Comic Strip.

Due to increased demand, we have moved our Awards Luncheon to the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, and we are humbled to report that we sold out, with 700 guests and a growing wait-list! This year, we are especially excited to hear from Key Note Speaker, Emmy Award-winning Conservationist and ABC’s Ocean Treks Host Jeff Corwin. We thank this year’s presenting sponsor Manatee Lagoon, an FPL Eco Discovery Center, which for the second year is supporting this wonderful event. We are also very grateful to United Technologies Corporation (UTC) for being an Atlantic Ocean Sponsor. UTC recently opened its state-of-the-art Center for Intelligent Buildings, located on Donald Ross in Jupiter, Florida. We also extend our sincere gratitude to the amazing committee, staff, volunteers and supporters who work tirelessly each year to help us host a world-class event. We look forward to celebrating the blue lifestyle with our guests on Friday, Oct. 26.

As we move toward the holiday season, I invite you to consider joining us for two additional festive events:

1.) Fletch’s Fall Festival – bring your ‘hatchlings’ over to LMC on Saturday, Oct. 20 for a day filled with adventure for the whole family! Your hatchlings can enjoy Mommy & Me Paint, Wild Child sensory stations, guided tours, Family Field Trips with Hammock Hikes and Living Beaches. We are thrilled to report that our partners from PNC Bank are bringing their awesome Mobile Learning Adventure, which supports the  #PNCGrowUPGreat initiative. The PNC Mobile Learning Adventure will feature craft activities, STEAM learning station and more! We will even have a special visit from Dr. Logger and Meet and Greets with our lovable mascot, Fletch!  We hope you will join us!

2.) Back for the second year is Palm Beach County’s best adult Halloween costume party, the Bear Trap Bash at PGA National, presented by the Honda Classic. Replicating the energy of the famed Bear Trap at The Honda Classic, this Halloween party will raise awareness for philanthropy in Palm Beach County. Join us for spirits, brews and bites, live music, exciting raffles and prizes for the best costume! If you decide to go, select Loggerhead Marinelife Center on the online ticket sales portal, and a portion of your ticket will be donated back to LMC!  https://form.jotform.com/82038056934156

We have had a very successful sea turtle nesting season this year with nearly 12,000 sea turtle nests on the 9.5 mile stretch of beach our research team monitors. Sea turtle nesting season officially ends on October 31, however, nests can continue hatching out through the end of the year. It is critical that we continue to keep our beaches clean and dark, which will further increase the odds that sea turtle hatchlings can safely make it from the nest to their ocean home.

As we head towards the end of 2018 and on behalf of our incredible team of staff, volunteers, and supporters, I want to thank you for your passion and interest in our mission. We will be announcing additional information on our capital expansion very soon, and it will include beautiful photo-realistic renderings of our new campus along with exciting information about our ground breaking celebration.

Please consider joining us in creating a long-lasting legacy of ocean conservation, from beautiful custom engraved brick pavers, to significant new educational exhibits, you can help transform LMC’s capability to increase our conservation and education impact in Florida and around our beautiful blue planet.  I hope you will join us as we get ready to make Waves of Progress! For more information about our campaign, please visit: marinelife.org/capital-campaign

Thank you for your support of our mission. I look forward to visiting with you on campus or out in our community soon!

With Gratitude, 
Jack E. Lighton
President & CEO

Save the Date

Tenth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon – October 26 – Kravis Center, West Palm Beach

The Tenth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon, featuring Jeff Corwin as special guest & keynote speaker, will recognize businesses, nonprofits and individuals who have promoted, implemented, or contributed to a “Blue” lifestyle of marine conservation. Awards will be given to those who are leading the way in raising awareness and have made significant contributions to improve and protect our oceans, beaches and wildlife.

This year’s luncheon keynote speaker is Jeff Corwin. Since his early childhood, Jeff has had a passion for wildlife and today, he is recognized as a global leader in exploration and conservation. Presently, Jeff is Executive Producer and Host of the ABC television series Ocean Treks. Jeff also formerly hosted Ocean Mysteries. In March of 2015, Ocean Mysteries went viral when a scientific research team along with Jeff, discovered the world’s largest freshwater fish. The record-breaking giant freshwater stingray, caught in Thailand’s Mae Klong River, was over 14 feet long and 8 feet wide.


Fletch’s Fall Festival
– Join us for a FREE family event on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. that is sure to be a turtle-y fun time for the whole family. Celebrate the return of our winter public programming with FREE programs offered throughout the day. Your hatchlings can enjoy mommy & me paint, wild child sensory stations, guided tours, family field trips with hammock hikes and living beaches. Join us for the PNC Grow Up Great Mobile Learning Adventure featuring craft activities, STEAM learning station and more! We will even have a special visit from Dr. Logger and meet & greets with our lovable mascot, Fletch!



Santana Pizza – Attend the Grand Opening on Friday, Oct. 19 – Saturday, Oct. 20, at 240 W. Indiantown Rd., #103, Jupiter, FL. Twenty percent of the proceeds will benefit Loggerhead Marinelife Center! Pizza and saving sea turtles sounds like the best combo to us!
Beach Bash Palm Beach – Saturday, Dec. 29 at 8:00 p.m.
The Beach Club, Palm Beach
To benefit the Sea Turtle Hospital at Loggerhead Marinelife Center – Over 700 philanthropic influencers will descend upon The Beach Club on Palm Beach Island for the must-attend party of the year. Decked in their brightest Lilly Pulitzer fashion, guests will celebrate their Love of Palm Beach, and the 60th Anniversary of Lilly Pulitzer! Savings sea turtles never looked so good!
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Tracy Gulick at 561.627.8280 x 103 or tgulick@marinelife.org
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit marinelife.org/beachbash.


What’s New in Rehab?

The Sea Turtle Hospital at Loggerhead Marinelife Center brings patients into the indoor hospital daily for treatments, cleanings or measurements. We treat patients of all different sizes at LMC. There is a procedure we follow for lifting patients out of their recovery tanks.
How many people does it take to lift a turtle out of a tank? It mostly depends on the weight of the turtle, but the turtle’s personality is also a factor. Most juvenile green sea turtles only need one person to lift it, but if they are a more active turtle, we may need two people. Sub-adult loggerhead turtles can weigh anywhere from 50 to 350 pounds. For turtles weighing about 50 to 100 pounds, we typically have four people, two inside the recovery tank and two outside by the gurney. If the turtle weighs 100 to 250 pounds, we usually have about six people, four in the tank to lift and two by the gurney. For any turtle that is heavier than that, there are about eight to 12 people! It is very important that each turtle lifted out of a recovery tank has the appropriate number of people who are assisting.


Conservation Corner

Title I Schools Turning the Tide on Single-Use Plastics
This month, Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Conservation Department once again kicked off the Title I Water Bottle Project for the 2018 – 2019 school year.

LMC’s Title I Water Bottle Project offers students the opportunity to learn about the harmful impacts plastics have on marine life and what they can do to help. During their LMC Field Trip, participating students are shown hands-on demonstrations aimed to increase awareness of the need to reduce single-use plastics and suggested alternatives to commonly found plastic items. At the end of their field trip, each student receives a free, reusable water bottle. To gauge the effectiveness of the program, students complete pre and post-water bottle distribution surveys, which assist us in obtaining metrics and tracking changes in student behavior and understanding of the harmful effects of plastic pollution.

August Sort Report
Every month, following each beach and underwater cleanup event, Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Conservation Department sorts and records every piece of debris removed from the beach.

In September, six beach cleanups were evaluated, including the 33rd Annual International Coastal Cleanup! This month, 595 volunteers removed 10,327 pieces of debris from Florida’s beaches. Data shows that 88.10% of the trash collected this month was plastic.

The strangest items found were: a toilet brush, a car window control button, a tire, and a shampoo bottle made in Cuba!

A HUGE thank you to the Conservation Interns and Volunteers for all their help with sorting this debris – we couldn’t do it without you!

Research Update

With nesting season pretty much wrapped up, the research team is hard at work on writing publications, grants and yearly reports. We have a number of research projects already in the works for next year on a wide range of topics, including:

  • Prevalence of boat strikes on nesting loggerhead turtles. We noticed that a number of our nesting females had healed boat strikes on their carapace; however, none of these turtles were previously tagged, suggesting they never stranded and/or entered rehab. These types of data are important to document, as it is likely that the statewide stranding efforts vastly underrepresent the number of turtles that are hit by boats. The data only documents the turtles that have injuries causing them to strand. What we want to know is the percentage of turtles that are hit by boats but do not strand. We are collaborating with a master’s student at the University of South Florida on this project.
  • Continuation of our geotube studies. The geotube is a structure consisting of large trap bags filled with sediment that are placed beneath the dune and then covered with sand and native vegetation to stabilize the dune. These structures are more aesthetically pleasing and have less detrimental impacts to the shoreline. Because the bags are black in color, the research team wants to know if nests laid on top of the geotube incubate at warmer temperatures than those placed in a control location. This will have a number of important conservation benefits for the future. Our Data Manager, Sarah Hirsch, recently published a manuscript on the impact of geotubes on marine turtles, and this is a continuation of that study.
  • Dr. Manire and Dr. Perrault are collaborating on a study to determine the effectiveness of a new “detoxification” therapy, known as intravenous lipid emulsion (ILE). This treatment has been shown to severely and rapidly reduce the impacts of brevetoxicosis (from exposure to red tide toxins) in a model species. This study is timely, given the current blooms on both the east and west coasts of Florida.


Nesting News

As of October 4, we have recorded 11,950 nests along our survey area (154 leatherback, 10,976 loggerhead and 820 green turtle 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 about 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 4, there were about 90 marked nests remaining on Juno, Jupiter and Tequesta beaches.


Knowledge is Power!

Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Candy Wrapper Recycling Program – Loggerhead Marinelife Center is collecting Holiday candy wrappers during the month of October to be fully recycled and used to make school supplies, such as pencil cases and craft supplies. Collect your candy wrappers at home, and bring them to a Wrapper Drop-Off Location. Candy wrappers will be accepted at Loggerhead Marinelife Center and Manatee Lagoon until November 5.


HOLIDAY PARTIES – Looking to host your company’s holiday party somewhere unique while also supporting endangered local wildlife? Loggerhead Marinelife Center is opening up its doors and welcoming businesses to celebrate the holidays with the sea turtles this season! Room rental will include a complimentary tour of our Outdoor Sea Turtle Hospital for your guests, where they will learn about one of Florida’s most iconic sea creatures. For more information on booking your holiday party among the sea turtles, please contact Sue Thompson, assistant education manager, at 561-627-8280 x119 or sthompson@marinelife.org.


Join us for a Kid’s Fishing Program at the Juno Beach Pier! – Programs will be held every Saturday during the months of October-April from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Participants will learn basic fishing techniques, including knot tying, casting, species identification, and proper release protocols, in addition to conservation measures, such as habitat protection, sea turtle rescue and the importance of collecting and recycling monofilament fishing line. Participants will leave with the knowledge and experience necessary to serve as responsible anglers. To reserve a spot, please register at marinelife.org/calendar, where you can select your preferred date. Cost: $10/angler. Ages 7-12. All gear provided.


Astronomy Nights at Loggerhead – Come 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 12. For more information or to reserve your spot, please register at marinelife.org/calendar. Cost: $10.00


Volunteer Spotlight

For the month of September, we would like to recognize a volunteer who goes above and beyond to provide excellent care to the patients in our sea turtle hospital. Randy Parsley has earned the distinction of Volunteer of the Month.

Randy joined our rehab team in May 2017 and has since logged an impressive 485 hours of service. One of his favorite parts of volunteering, aside from helping the turtles, is interacting with his fellow volunteers, both in rehab as well as other departments.

Something that makes Randy an invaluable volunteer is that he is a true team player and always comes to his shift with a positive attitude. We are lucky to have him on our team!

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to LMC, Randy!


Mascot Corner: On the Road Again!

Hello Friends,
Fletch here, the lovable and huggable Loggerhead Marinelife Center mascot.  On Monday, Oct. 1 , I swam north to visit the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston and attend a sea turtle fund raiser “Jammin’ for Jammer,” on the Isle of Palms.

On the swim north, I took a detour by the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, Florida, to visit Melissa Ranly, an old friend from Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Melissa was the Hospital Manager at LMC and is now Hospital Manager for turtle rehabilitation at the Marine Science Center.  The Center rehabilitates seabirds and turtles (sea, land and fresh water).  While at the Center, Melissa gave me a tour of the turtle hospital, visiting both sea turtle and gopher tortoise patients. If you are in the Ponce Inlet area, just south of Daytona Beach, stop by and visit the Center. You can participate in educational programs and interactive exhibits, visit the seabird and turtle patients, and meet the rays in the touch pool as well as other marine life in the touch tank.

After a short visit at the Marine Science Center, I was back in the ocean, swimming north to Charleston. During my stay in Charleston, I stopped by the South Carolina Aquarium to visit my mascot friend, Bob. Together, we toured the new sea turtle hospital and educational exhibits that focus on sea turtle “Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release.” There are a number of hands on sea turtle activities for the whole family to enjoy. If you are in the Charleston area, stop by the Aquarium for a family fun day of educational programs and interactive activities.

As the sun went down, the party started at the Windjammer restaurant. Over 250 sea turtle friends attended “Jammin’ for Jammer” with live music, food, drinks, a silent auction and dog, named Carl, dressed as a sea turtle. At the end of the night, over $15,000 was raised, to help sea turtle patients at the South Carolina Aquarium and to support the Isle of Palms sea turtle patrol. It was a night of dancing and friendship with one goal, helping sea turtles.

The next morning, I was on land to visit a mascot friend, named Seamore, at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center (NBSTCC).  The center is located on Navarre Beach, just east of Pensacola, Florida.  The NBSTCC is home to Sweet Pea, a juvenile green sea turtle. Sweet Pea is unable to return to her home, the Gulf of Mexico, due to injuries. The center takes visitors on a journey through Northwest Florida’s coastal and marine ecosystems with interactive and static displays. If you’re ever in the Florida Panhandle, stop by the center for a visit. Who knows, Seamore may be there for a high-flipper five, a selfie or even a four-flipper shuffle.

After a short visit, it was back in the water for a swim home. I swam south in the Gulf of Mexico, avoiding Michael, through the Straits of Florida and a leisurely ride north on the Gulf Stream, back home to Loggerhead Marinelife Center. I am glad to be home and am looking forward to visiting with friends at Fletch’s Fall Festival this Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Loggerhead Marinelife Center.  SEE YOU AT THE FESTIVAL!!!!!





Adoption Spotlight

We have a new adoptable patient, Corwin! Corwin is a sub-adult loggerhead patient that was found struggling in the surf on Juno Beach. The patient’s bloodwork on arrival indicated anemia and hypoglycemia. Corwin is underweight, lethargic and is in poor health overall, due to chronic debilitation. Corwin is receiving parenteral nutrition, antibiotics and iron.


Corwin is named in honor of Jeff Corwin, our Tenth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon special guest and keynote speaker. Since Jeff’s early childhood, he has had a passion for wildlife and today, he is recognized as a global leader in exploration and conservation.



Shop Where it counts

Fall is here! Get festive with some eco-friendly products! From reusable straws and utensils, to notepads and pencils! shop-marinelife.org


Thank You to Our Outstanding Supporters!

Thank you to Hilton West Palm Beach for hosting our Tenth Annual Go Blue Awards kick-off social last month. During the event, the award finalists who promote a “blue” lifestyle of ocean conservation across many states were announced and recognized. Congratulations to all the finalists! 
Thank you to our October Beach Clean up Sponsor:
Kirstin & Telby Turner-RBC Wealth Management
525 Okeechobee Boulevard, Suite 800
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

3801 PGA Boulevard, Suite 801
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
(561) 691-5300

Many thanks to Illustrated Properties LLC for their “month of giving” fundraiser to benefit the Research Department at LMC. The $2,500 funds raised will go toward a satellite tracker for one of our sea turtle patients, Honda.


Have you ever visited Manatee Lagoon – An FPL Eco-Discovery Center? We are 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 share 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.

Upcoming 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 – Held every Saturday. Express your creativity with a different art theme each week.