December 2019 Newsletter

CEO Chatter with Jack E. Lighton

Jack Lighton

Dear Friend of LMC, 

Happy holidays to our dear friends of LMC!

As 2019 comes to an end, our Center has so much to be thankful for, especially you! It is because of your generous support that we are able to accelerate and amplify our impact. Thank you!

With your support in 2019, we have been able to:

  • Educate over 64,000 students
  • Save over 1,000 hatchlings
  • Rehabilitate nearly 100 sea turtles
  • Monitor and protect nearly 21,000 nests
  • Remove over 160,000 pieces of marine debris from our coastline
  • Expand our mission in 16 countries
  • Welcome over 350,000 guests – admission free

We celebrate the conservation successes of the 1970s! However, while we are seeing the payoff of those smart investments today, sea turtles continue to face new threats, such as:

  • Increased temperatures that impact incubation and gender formation
  • Dirty water: red tide, blue/green algae, and increased bacteria counts
  • Marine debris: specifically microplastics
  • Habitat loss: loss of coral reefs and reduction of seagrass beds  

Our work is far from done. But, your support gives us great hope and allows us to develop innovative solutions, expand our global partnership network, and serve as a leader in ocean and sea turtle conservation. 

Thank you for being a part of the LMC family! Together, we are having a profound impact on conservation and have a very special opportunity to amplify our work as we approach moving into our newly expanded campus in approximately fourteen months.     

Help Us Celebrate a Year of Innovation and Second Chances – 2019 Annual Fund Campaign:

There are a number of elements I would love to share with you as we successfully closeout 2019. Since we are in the midst of the giving season, we’ve launched our Annual Fund Campaign. This campaign recognizes the important work of Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s (LMC) great staff and passionate volunteers while raising tax-deductible donations to further our conservation, education, and our free-admission status.

This year, we celebrate the story of our patient, Seiche, and our researchers who worked to develop a new and innovative Red Tide Detox Therapy, known as ILE, for patients exposed to red tide. In our letter, we share how your support can help us continue to create innovative solutions, and further sea turtle conservation, in Florida and internationally. When you have a moment, please consider sharing this campaign with your networks. No gift is too small and the support of our community is critical as we continue to advocate for sea turtles and their ocean home. 

Please join us as we Squeeze The Day at Beach Bash Palm Beach – Celebrating Philanthropy in the Palm Beaches

In a few short weeks, we will celebrate philanthropy in the Palm Beaches with one of our most exciting events of the year, Beach Bash Palm Beach hosted by Lilly Pulitzer! More than 60 years ago, Pulitzer radically transformed her brand from a super popular citrus juice stand to one of the most recognized resort-wear powerhouses! To this day, Lilly Pulitzer’s pastels define The Palm Beaches and resort destinations worldwide! “Squeeze the Day” honors Lilly Pulitzer’s Palm Beach beginnings, optimistic approach to life, and love for the Palm Beaches. 

On December 28th, fashionable friends of LMC will descend upon The Beach Club in Palm Beach to celebrate fashion, philanthropy, and the south Florida lifestyle; all while helping to fundraise and support The Sea Turtle Hospital at LMC. To further celebrate the event, we’ve named a new sea turtle patient, Citrus, in honor of our long-standing partnership with Lilly Pulitzer and Beach Bash Palm Beach!   

We invite you to spend the holiday season enjoying one of South Florida’s most iconic sites, The Sea Turtle Hospital at LMC, and to show the world you are part of the ocean conservation movement. It’s simple – see, shop, learn, and save the turtles! 

See. Visit South Florida’s iconic tourism destination, The Sea Turtle Hospital at LMC! Experience up-close encounters with Florida’s most treasured wildlife – the sea turtle. Afterward, take a stroll on the Juno Beach Pier and visit manatees at Manatee Lagoon.

Shop. A sea turtle adoption package is a perfect gift for any age. Our campuses are stocked full of unique, eco-inspired gifts perfect for stay-cayers and out-of-state guests. Your purchase helps to save sea turtles as proceeds from adoptions, and the gift store, support our sea turtle hospital, education, and conservation programs!

Learn. Experience engaging educational programming at LMC, the Juno Beach Pier, and Manatee Lagoon. Uncover the state of our oceans with an introduction to extraordinary marine life and learn about South Florida’s natural ecosystems. 

On behalf of our team of staff, volunteers, and our Board of Directors, I thank you for your passionate support of our mission. Wishing you and yours a holiday season filled with peace, love, and joy!

With Gratitude,

Jack E. Lighton

President & CEO

Beach Bash Palm Beach

December 28, 2019

Stylish Palm Beach hostess and socialite Lilly Pulitzer once said, “If you don’t have any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.” Beach Bash Palm Beach, now in its 14th year, is Lilly Pulitzer’s largest annual charity event. Saving sea turtles never looked so good! This year’s theme, “Squeeze The Day” celebrates Lilly’s sweet beginnings where it all started with a juice stand! On Saturday, Dec. 28, from 8 p.m. to midnight, influencers will spend a beautiful evening at The Beach Club on Palm Beach for one of the most anticipated celebrations of the season.

Together, We Can Turn the Tide!

Seiche receiving ILE treatment.

Dear Friend of Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC),

On behalf of our staff and volunteer community, we want to thank you for supporting our mission and impact. You are helping us transform our efforts as industry leaders for sea turtle health and ocean conservation, in Florida and increasingly around our beautiful blue planet.

Reflecting on 2019, one of the sea turtle patients you helped us to rehabilitate was Seiche (pronounced Say-Sh). This patient arrived in grave condition at LMC’s Sea Turtle Hospital and was given its named after a specific type of ocean wave.

Seiche was originally found floating in the Intracoastal waterway extremely ill. After an initial evaluation, Seiche was diagnosed with red tide toxicity and soon received state-of-the-art treatment from our hospital staff and loving volunteers. Seiche’s condition was critical, however, because of your help and our innovative technologies, we held onto hope.

Thanks to your generous support, LMC’s Director of Rehabilitation, Dr. Charles Manire, and LMC’s Director of Research, Dr. Justin Perrault, were able to pilot an innovative “Red Tide Detox Therapy,” known as ILE, that was administered to Seiche. This therapy is now being used at multiple facilities in Florida with lifesaving results! Groundbreaking treatments such as ILE would not be possible without your help.

Merely two weeks after administering ILE therapy, Seiche’s symptoms were completely resolved. Your support allowed Seiche to return beautiful ocean blue after a month-long hospital stay alongside our staff and selfless volunteers.

But, we still need your help more than ever. Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to our annual fund as we continue to give sea turtles the voice they deserve. Together, we can persistently innovate and deploy new life-saving solutions for sea turtles just like Seiche!

Seiche returning home to the ocean.

Thank you for being Seiche’s hero! Together, we can turn the tide on conservation and make Waves of Progress. Thank you for helping us amplify our sea turtle and ocean conservation impact across our beautiful blue planet!

Introducing the Inaugural Hike2O

Get excited as we introduce the Inaugural Hike2O in partnership with the Florida Trail Association – Loxahatchee Chapter! Registered participants will hike approximately 30 miles, over three days, on the Ocean to Lake Hiking Trail, which spans across Martin and Palm Beach Counties. Hike it forward and sign up with LMC!

What: A 3-day, 2-night backcountry hiking benefit 
When: January 24-26, 2020 
Where: Ocean to Lake Hiking Trail
Who: Adults 18+ with backpacking experience 
(virtual day hiker registration alternative option) 
Cost: $125 full event hiker; $65 virtual day hiker 

What’s New in Rehab?

Our Sea Turtle Hospital’s protocol is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release. Our rehabilitation process includes keeping our patients wild, and more importantly, not having them associate humans with food. This is very important for their successful return as they are released back into the ocean. Fortunately, LMC’s Research Department is able to measure patients’ success, and other valuable information, through forms of tagging after their return into the wild.

Some of our patients have satellite transmitters attached to the carapace, which cause no harm. These transmitters provide the Center with data such as location, water temperature, depth, and even diving trajectory. Tags are only attached to turtles that will not be impeded by the satellite’s size and possible drag of the tag. They are not attached to every turtle due to cost constraints and size.  

More commonly used are passive integrated transponder tags (PIT) and metal flipper tags. Each patient with a carapace length greater than 10 centimeters receives a PIT tag. This type of tag is about the size of a grain of rice and is similar to a microchip that would be placed in a dog or cat. These electronic markers can be detected using a PIT tag scanner and are typically inserted just under the skin of the front flipper. These types of tags can last for decades, if not indefinitely. Our turtles with a carapace length greater than 35 centimeters receive both a PIT tag and a flipper tag. The metal tags attached to flippers contain letters and numbers to monitor a patient’s journey. These tags are pierced onto the skin, on the edge of the front flippers, and can be read visually without requiring any specialized scanners. Metal flipper tags do not last for more than several years due to wear and the growth of the turtle. 

We gain invaluable information from PIT and flipper tags as each turtle’s unique number and letter combination remains in our database. Every patient is scanned for a PIT tag and is visually inspected for signs of flipper tags when they first arrive at the hospital. If a tag is found, the hospital staff will contact the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, which manages the tagging database. Archie Carr will tell hospital staff who applied the tags, so we can contact that specific organization, and learn more about the circumstances of the tagging.

A recent patient, named Blaze, sustained unintended boat strike injuries to the carapace and was found with two PIT tags and one flipper tag after being admitted to LMC’s hospital.

Typically a PIT tag will only be applied once, so this was an unusual case. The original tag was applied when Blaze was captured in North Carolina by NOAA in 2007 during a research project. Blaze was healthy and had a carapace length of approximately 25 centimeters. The second PIT tag was administered when the turtle was captured in the Indian River Lagoon by the University of Central Florida turtle program in July of 2019 during a research project. At that time, the old unintentional boat strike to the carapace was present, but the turtle appeared otherwise healthy.

The carapace measured approximately 80 centimeters in length when Blaze arrived at our hospital on November 10, 2019. Over the course of 12 years, Blaze grew approximately 55 centimeters in length! This is essential data for our team to better understand the growth rates in wild green sea turtles. If you are interested in learning more about Blaze, please visit our patient page at

Conservation Corner

Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Conservation Department sorts and records each piece of removed debris after each underwater and beach cleanup.

In November 2019, the Center evaluated the 9,869 pieces of trash removed from the beach. Data shows that over 94.7% of all debris collected this month was made of plastic.

Strange items that were found during November’s cleanups include a fake plant, a lock, headphones, and an umbrella stand. 

Sustainable Gift Wrapping Contest: Did you know? Household waste in the U.S. increases 25% between Thanksgiving and Christmas and half of the paper purchased in the U.S. is used to wrap and decorate gifts.

Unwrap the Waves with us this holiday season! We invite you to join our sustainable holiday gift wrapping contest from Thursday, December 12th to Wednesday, December 25th. Get creative and bring your holiday cheer. The gift wrapping season is here!

Research Update

The 2019 nesting and hatching season provided ample amounts of data to further our knowledge of sea turtles. Our researchers and seasonal technicians worked rigorously to track, measure, and record all nesting sea turtles on our local beaches. Below, you’ll find several major highlights from this past nesting season.

Encountered 51 leatherbacks!        
We weighed six individual leatherbacks in collaboration with Upwell as part of a body condition study.
Encountered 346 loggerheads!      
Conducted multiple studies this year with loggerheads, including metabolomics, endocrine disruptors, endarteritis, and unintentional boat strike injuries (USF Master’s project).
Encountered 49 green turtles!
Our season favorite was “Avocado,” who was sampled on three separate nights! This year’s naming scheme for green turtles was green fruits and vegetables.

This SEAson – Give the Gift of Marine Education!

Loggerhead Marinelife Center offers opportunities for individuals and businesses to give the gift of marine education to young minds at our hands-on, feet wet programming.

What programs are eligible for purchase?
Any program or guided experience at Loggerhead Marinelife Center can be purchased as a gift. Programs range from birthday parties to full-day camps, tours to a guided beach walk or watching a sea turtle lay her eggs. 

What does the gift recipient receive?
A personalized electronic gift certificate will be sent to you, or the recipient, within 1-3 business days of your online purchase. 

If you need any help selecting a program, or have any questions regarding a specific program, email us at

Adoption Spotlight

Give the gift of hope for ocean conservation! When you purchase a sea turtle adoption as a holiday gift, you provide care for our sea turtle patients. Each year, LMC cares for nearly 100 sea turtle patients and 1,000 hatchlings. This year, the Center cared for over 1,500 hatchlings, especially as storms coasted Florida’s shore. This month, all adoptions will include a limited edition holiday card. All adoptions $60 and above will include a tree ornament (while supplies last). For guaranteed Christmas delivery (continental U.S.), you must make adoption purchases online by December 18 (midnight EST). 

Give a unique and memorable gift by figuratively naming a hatchling sea turtle at LMC! Our 2019 nesting season resulted in nearly 21,000 nests on our 9.5-mile stretch of beach. As a result, nearly 1 million sea turtles hatched on our local beaches. As we approach the start of the nesting season (March 1), we seek support in helping ensure all of our patients, big and small, receive top-tier care.

Volunteer Spotlight

This month’s well-deserved recognition goes out to not one, but two, Volunteers of the Month: Hayden Bertone, and Megan Mendel. Hayden and Megan support the Education Department, as high-school interns, and have gone above and beyond their internship duties to assist staff, volunteers, and LMC guests. Both are students in the Jupiter Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy Program at Jupiter High School and are interning for the school year. Between balancing their academics, extracurricular activities, sports, families, and other commitments, Hayden and Megan have made it a priority to complete a minimum of five hours per week (but oftentimes, more). Hayden has even volunteered at LMC for the past two years. Both are actively educating the public, completing projects, and taking the initiative to make everyone’s experience better. Thank you for all you do!

Mascot Corner: Holiday Greeting

Hello Friends,

Fletch here, the loveable and huggable Loggerhead Marinelife Center mascot! I wish you all a safe, joyous holiday season and a prosperous new year during this time of thanksgiving and holiday spirit. For 2020, please make a commitment to keep my ocean home clean, blue, and trash free. It starts with YOU. Make your pledge today by saying, “I pledge to …”

Shop Where it Counts

Give a gift that keeps on giving! When you purchase a holiday gift from our Gift Store, your purchase helps support our sea turtle patients and conservation initiatives. In our store and online, we have a special gift for everyone on your list! From local art pieces to sustainable items, and finely crafted jewelry. This photographed piece of jewelry is crafted in sterling silver and adorned with sparkling Swarovski crystals. Save sea turtles in style with our coastal boutique gifts!

Please visit us in-store, or shop online, and give back to our mission of sea turtle and ocean conservation!

Brick Pavers

Purchase a brick paver to be placed in the walkway of our new Outdoor Sea Turtle Hospital during our campus expansion. The bricks can be engraved with a brief message (and turtle logo). 8X4 – $250 – Limit 60 characters including spaces, 36 if including a logo. 8X8 – $450 – Limit 120 characters including spaces, 80 if including a logo.

Thank You To Our Outstanding Supporters!

LMC loves The Starbucks Foundation a latte – Recently, Drew Majercik, Store Manager of our local Starbucks store on PGA and US Highway One, nominated Loggerhead Marinelife Center to apply for a grant from The Starbucks Foundation. We are excited to announce that we applied for education funding and received a generous $10,000 grant! Starbucks is committed to environmental sustainability and we are thrilled to make a positive impact, together. 
Big thank you to our December Blue Friends Society beach cleanup sponsors – Susan Meyers and The Keyes Company! We are very grateful for your continued support. A special thank you to our breakfast sponsors including, Dunkin’ – Juno Beach, Trader Joe’s – Palm Beach Gardens, and Oceana Coffee Cafe – Tequesta. Thank you for keeping us fueled while we keep our beaches clean! Following our beach cleanup on Saturday, December 14, please join us for the grand reopening of Dunkin’ at the Juno Beach location from 10AM-12PM. Loggerhead Marinelife Center will be featured as a nonprofit partner! 
We are extremely grateful for our wonderful partners at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. Last month, they hosted a special event, the Artist Paddleboard Series, and Loggerhead Marinelife Center was the beneficiary of the silent auction. The beautiful artwork by Donald Robertson, Lulu DK, and Nick Mele was admired by all. We were honored to be a part of this unique event!
We extend our gratitude to The Royal Poinciana Plaza for selecting Loggerhead Marinelife Center as the benefitting charity for their holiday reveal on Friday, December 6. It was a beautiful event that spread awareness of ocean conservation while allowing us to get in the holiday spirit!
Board Chairman, Lynne Wells, and President and CEO, Jack Lighton, accept a generous check from Lilly Leas Ferreira at The Royal Poinciana Plaza.