February 2020 Newsletter

CEO Chatter with Jack E. Lighton

Jack Lighton

Dear Friend of LMC,

Hello from Juno Beach! “Brisk” might be a word used to describe the cooler temperatures of the Winter months however, here in Juno Beach, Florida we will use the other meaning of the word “brisk” to describe the pace and excitement we are setting here on campus – we hope you will join us for some of our Fantastic February activities!

February Highlights Include:

These are just some of the exciting elements in store for this month. This month, we are preparing to celebrate a few special dates, including:

  • Valentine’s Day
  • International Women and Girls In Science Day
  • The start of sea turtle nesting season here in Florida – this annual event officially kicks off on March 1st. 

Valentine’s Day

From dates to “I do’s,” we’ve had the honor of sharing very special moments with you over the years. You’ve made us a part of proposals, honeymoons, anniversaries and surprise trips. Because of you, we’ve become more than a sea turtle hospital, but a living memory. This Valentine’s Day, we hope to share another special moment with you on and off-campus. From now through February 14th, we invite you to celebrate your loved ones with a sustainable gift alternative, including:

  • A very special Valentine’s Day sea turtle adoption package!
  • An evening guided tour through our Sea Turtle Hospital
  • Unique gifts available in store (Juno Beach, Juno Beach Pier, and Manatee Lagoon)
  • Unique gifts available on our online boutique
  • Gifts of membership to our Blue Friends Society or Circle of 100
  • Custom inscribed brick pavers that will be placed in our newly expanded campus

Show your loved one how much you care in a unique way by shopping with us.  Your purchase directly supports sea turtle and ocean conservation and creates an unforgettable memory. From our family to yours, we wish you a happy and eco-friendly Valentine’s Day! 

Sea Turtle Nesting Season in Palm Beach County (March 1st to October 31st)

With less than a month until “lights out” for sea turtle nesting season, our Center invites you to learn more about sea turtle nesting and hatching. Located in close proximity to the Gulf Stream ocean current, our organization is located at the epicenter of sea turtle and ocean conservation. During sea turtle nesting season, from March 1st to October 31st, our research team monitors a 9.5-mile stretch of South Florida beach, which happens to be one of the most densely nested loggerhead sea turtle beaches in the world. In fact, our research laboratory can collect more sea turtle nesting data on the 9.5-mile stretch in one season than many other laboratories can collect in several decades – which gives our Ph.D. scientists the unique ability to better monitor the health of our local sea turtle population. 

Fast Facts from 2019’s sea turtle nesting season:

  • We marked, monitored, and protected nearly 21,000 sea turtle nests (187 Leatherback, 13,400 Loggerhead, and 7,411 Green) on our 9.5 mile beach!
  • The 2019 nesting season, on our 9.5 mile beach, produced approximately 1.35 million sea turtle hatchlings
  • While this is great news, and a result of great conservation efforts starting in the 1970s, there are newer threats to sea turtles which include: marine debris, increasing temperatures and habitat loss.

For over 40 years, our Center has monitored, protected, and researched the sea turtles nesting on our local beaches. Through our research efforts, LMC is able to protect sea turtles and ocean ecosystems. Our PhD lead research biologists compile comprehensive datasets and conduct innovative studies to determine threats affecting the health of our sea turtles, oceans and ultimately us. 

Our research and datasets are invaluable not only to scientists, but also to local, national and international coastal managers. Because of our heavily nested beaches, it’s critical that we work together to safely and responsibly protect nesting and hatching sea turtles. With the arrival of sea turtle nesting season, we ask you to generate awareness about our “turtle coast.” 

Three of the most critical elements to remember and share with your networks are: 

  • Lights out! If you live or stay at a beachside resort, please dim or shade your lights so they do not shine on the beach at night. It’s vital to keep our beaches clean, dark and cool for nesting and hatching turtles. 
  • Clean beaches save lives. Marine debris poses threats to nesting and hatching sea turtles; sea turtles may try to ingest the debris or expend too much energy trying to navigate around the obstacles. 
  • Let LMC guide you on the beaches at night: If you want to learn more about sea turtle nesting, please consider signing up for LMC’s FWC permitted Turtle Walks and Hatchling Releases. For more information about nesting and hatching season, please use our website, emails, blogs and social media as a resource. 

Waves of Progress: One Mission. One Ocean. One World. One Life. 

Over the past few years, with your help, we’ve been able to create waves and turn the tide on conservation. In 2019 alone, we educated over 74,000 students, monitored and protected nearly 21,000 nests, removed over 209,000 pieces of marine debris from our oceans, and welcomed over 350,000 guests – admission free!

In 2020, we plan to amplify and accelerate our mission by making more Waves of Progress. For the first time in our Center’s history, we’ve launched a year-long awareness and fundraising campaign dedicated to improving the health of our blue planet – Waves Of Progress: One Mission. One Ocean. One World. One Life. Since our beginning 36 years ago, we’ve striven to make a difference in sea turtle and ocean conservation. Our work is focused on four core pillars, each focused on demonstrating measurable impact. We invite you to dive into the depths of ocean conservation and explore our efforts through our campaign and follow along on social media on #TurtleTuesdays. 

Count down to TurtleFest 2021

Due to the great progress we are making with our campus expansion, we have decided to pause our beloved event TurtleFest for 2020.

Although our campus is open and we are excited to welcome students and guests, we are only capable of handling several thousands of guests in one day. With on-going construction, we are not able to provide the desired level of experience to our guests if we were to welcome the 10,000 to 15,000 sea turtle loving guests who visit Loggerhead Park during TurtleFest. 

Our passionate staff and volunteers are eager to introduce the community to our unique sea turtle patients on our planet. With plenty of free parking and free admission seven-days-per-week, there is always something new and exciting to see during your visit. 

We thank everyone for their support and look forward to hosting the most exciting TurtleFest ever, TurtleFest 2021. 

Our Center has launched our countdown to TurtleFest 2021 with an official countdown clock. TurtleFest 2021, scheduled for March 20, 2021, will serve as the public celebration of the Center’s expanded campus. We invite the global community to participate in ‘TurtleFest every-dayhere at our oceanside campus and will roll out a series of fun and engaging events through the winter, spring, and summer months that offer unique and rewarding reasons to visit our campus. For news alerts showcasing “TurtleFest every-day,” sign up here.

Thank you! 

Because of you, our Center has been able to become a global resource for sea turtle and ocean conservation. With your help we have become a beloved community center and an international center of excellence.

Thank you for introducing us to your friends and family – with your help we are expanding our education and impact internationally. We’ve been able to celebrate 1st and 90th birthday parties, engagement photos, weddings, first jobs and internships positions, and first dates with you. Thank you for sharing your special moments with us over the years! In 2020, we hope to continue to serve as one of your favorite places to visit. With your continued support of our Wave Of Progress expansion, together we will create an even bolder legacy of ocean and sea turtle conservation!

On behalf of our entire team of staff, volunteers, board of directors and supporters, thank you for your continued support of our mission. We look forward to visiting with you on campus this month during our Valentine’s Day celebrations or during one of our new programs; our sea turtle patients and our passionate team are eager to visit with you!  

With Gratitude,
Jack E. Lighton
President & CEO

Valentine’s Day Weekend

Evening Guided Tour: Valentine’s Day Edition
Chocolate bites and champagne bubbles… looking for something different to arrange for Valentine’s Day? Loggerhead Marinelife Center is offering $35 admission for a special Evening Guided Tour on February 13th from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm. All are welcome to enjoy holiday-themed treats, light bites and bubbles as an experienced guide leads guests through the Exhibit Hall to meet sea turtle patients and for an exclusive peek in our Sea Turtle Hospital where all the action happens. The Valentine’s Day edition tour includes a special Valentine’s Day Adoption for each person! Singles, couples, friends, and families are welcome to join us.
Register: marinelife.org/evening-guided-tours-119/

Ocean Explorers After Dark on Friday, February 14th from 6 pm – 9 pm
Are you looking to have a kid-free night on Valentine’s Day? From 6 pm – 9 pm on Friday, February 14, LMC is hosting Ocean Explorers After Dark, an after-hours program focused on marine sciences with a special Valentine’s Day theme. This is a drop-off program for children ages 6 years old to 10 years old. To register, please visit: marinelife.org/explorers-afterdark/

Blue Friends Society Beach Cleanup
Mark your calendars for another Blue Friends Society beach cleanup on Saturday, February 15th! Many thanks to our sponsor for this month’s beach cleanup: Sally Ann Weger & Donna McKay of the Weger McKay Group at Morgan Stanley. Thank you as well to our breakfast sponsor, Dunkin’ Juno Beach. Thank you for keeping us fueled while we keep our beaches clean! See you at 8:30 am on the back deck of LMC! Let us know if you plan on joining by registering on marinelife.org/cleanup

Adoption Spotlight
Send your valentine the love of ocean conservation this Valentine’s Day! Starting January 27th, all Enhanced, Deluxe, and Name a Hatchling packages will include a one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day special, “a message in a bottle” (while supplies last). Order this unique gift by February 9th to ensure delivery by Valentine’s Day. *Online Only* marinelife.org/adopt

Choose Sustainable Seafood this Valentine’s Day
Did you know? More than 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are either fully fished or overfished, meaning the choices we make when it comes to seafood are now more important than ever.

This Valentine’s Day, while spending time with the one you love, be sure to remember to show your love for the ocean by choosing sustainable seafood! Whether you are cooking dinner or ordering at a restaurant, consult the latest Seafood Watch recommendations to pick the most sustainable options available.

The most recent 2020 Seafood Watch recommendations are out, so be sure to choose “Best Choice” options of seafood all year long!

For Valentine’s Day dinner, visit one of LMC’s Blue Table partner restaurants that are committed to serving sustainable seafood options!

  • 1000 NORTH
  • Papa Kwan’s Coffee Shop
  • The Cooper Restaurant
  • Carve Surf & Coffee
  • Hog Snappers
  • Tommy Bahama
  • Cucina Cabana

Mark Your Calendar

9th Annual Run 4 The Sea – June 20, 2020

Enjoy running along scenic A1A at the 9th Annual Run 4 The Sea and support Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s mission of sea turtle and ocean conservation! This timed four-mile race begins at 7 a.m. on Saturday, June 20, and is open to runners and walkers. A one-mile Kids Fun Run will immediately follow the four-mile race at 8:15 a.m.

Race participants are invited to stay and enjoy the post-race celebration with breakfast, vendors, kids’ activities, a D.J. and the awards announcement. Awards are presented to the top overall male and female, master male and female and top three male and female in 13 age groups. Runner Gift Bags and Finisher medals are given to ALL participants. Registration begins at 6:15 a.m. the morning of the race, with several packet pick-up options prior to race day.

Virtual Run – Can’t make it to Run 4 the Sea 2019? You can still support LMC and earn a race medal and t-shirt by participating as a virtual runner – plus, you’re given the flexibility to run anywhere at any time you desire. There are no age limits or restrictions on how you clock your virtual four mile run! You do not have to submit your time, but please feel free to share a photo on LMC’s Facebook event page. Medals and t-shirts will be mailed in July to all virtual run participants.

What’s New in Rehab?

A full exam takes place when a patient first arrives at the hospital. Bloodwork, a physical exam, and radiographs are all part of the intake exam. Before radiographs are performed, any epibionts growing on the carapace must be removed to be able to get a clear image of the internal anatomy. Epibionts are organisms that grow on other living organisms. We typically see barnacles, algae, coral, and bivalves growing on sea turtles. They naturally grow on healthy turtles in small and moderate amounts, but will often be found in large amounts on sick turtles. This is due to their reduced activity in the water and increased time spent resting on the bottom of their local ecosystem.

Sick sea turtles, especially chronically sick turtles, often have a slowed gut motility because they are eating much less and their body is focused on keeping their vital organs working properly. The slowed gut movement often means there are large amounts of non-digestible food items in their intestines, which are revealed on the radiographs. These items are typically pieces of crab, urchin and snail shells. Healthy turtles will pass these normal food items with no issue. Once these turtles are in our care and receiving a proper diet, the patient typically passes these shell pieces. Above is a radiograph showing a large number of crab shells in the colon, between the pelvis and the end of the tail.

The epibiota on their carapaces and the shell pieces in their intestines do no cause the turtles to be sick. These are both common secondary problems for an already sick sea turtle.

Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins March 1

Palm Beach County is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches attracting international visitors – some with feet, and thousands with flippers! Sea turtle nesting season will officially begin on Friday, March 1 in Palm Beach County, so it’s time to pay special attention to our beautiful beaches – home to some of the world’s most critical sea turtle nesting habitats.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) researchers monitor a 9.5-mile stretch of beach from the northern Palm Beach County line (Jupiter Island) south of the northern border of John D. MacArthur Beach State Park.

Just a Few Simple Steps Can Help Ensure the Safety of Nesting Females and Hatchlings During the Season:


  • Throw away debris left behind on the beach
  • Fill in holes in the sand, knock-down sandcastles and remove foreign objects that may obstruct a sea turtle’s path to and from the ocean.
  • If you come across a nesting sea turtle, observe at a distance from behind.
  • Look out for disoriented hatchlings on trails and roads near the beach.
  • Keep your lights out near the beach and install sea turtle-friendly lighting where needed.
  • Bring weak or disoriented hatchlings to Loggerhead Marinelife Center. They can be placed in the 24-hour drop-off cooler located outside the Center’s entrance (14200 US Highway One, Juno Beach, FL 33408).


  • Interact with or disrupt a nesting sea turtle – it is illegal
  • Release balloons (deflated ones resemble jellyfish, a common prey item for sea turtles)
  • Use lighting on the beach at night including flashlights, lanterns, flash photography and cell phones
  • Touch hatchlings on their way to the ocean
  • Take or touch empty eggshells, or exposed, un-hatched eggs
  • Harm or harass sea turtles, their nests or hatchlings
  • Use shovels to dig on the beach during nesting season

It is illegal to harm or harass sea turtles, their nests or hatchlings, which are protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Florida Statute Chapter 370. For more information about sea turtle nesting, please visit  marinelife.org/research.

JMB Summer Camp Early Bird Registration Now LIVE Through February 29

Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s summer camp programs are interactive, educational and stimulating. Each camp is geared for children ages 6* through 17. Students participating in the Jr. Marine Biologist summer camp program will gain an understanding of various nature-related topics such as (but not limited to) ecology and marine biology, with an emphasis on conservation. 

Camp hours are Monday – Friday, from 9 am to 4 pm. Extended hours (8:30 am – 5 pm) are available for an additional fee. *Children must be ages 6 years old by the date of their camp enrollment AND have already attended kindergarten.

**Early Bird Pricing until February 29, 2020**

Counselors in Training Are you good with kids and have free time in the summer? Being a CIT (counselor-in-training) is a great way to get service hours, prepare for a paid counselor position and just have fun!  

Junior Marine Biologist summer camp takes place June – August, in one week sessions. CIT positions are from 9 am – 5 pm. Monday – Friday with at least a 3-week commitment. Spend your summer snorkeling, playing games, teaching kids and making friends. Outgoing personalities are a must! 

To apply, please visit: marinelife.org/summer-camp/ 

Homeschool Workshops

LMC offers homeschool workshops for your students! Our workshops offer hands-on activities and focus on various marine science topics, including marine biology, coastal ecology, veterinary science, fisheries, oceanography, and ocean conservation. 

Do you have a homeschool group? We offer private homeschool workshops!These workshops are for students ages 6 – 13 and are designed to accommodate larger homeschool groups of up to 40 students. 

For workshop descriptions, pricing and schedule, please visit: marinelife.org/homeschool/

Volunteer Spotlight

Diving into a new year makes us especially thankful for our volunteer community and their dedication to LMC! In the thick of a busy season, it’s more apparent than ever that we couldn’t do it without the support of every single volunteer.

This month, we recognize Spencer Duncan for his outstanding work ethic, positive demeanor, and enjoyable atmosphere. Though Spencer has been with us for a short time, he has gone above and beyond his role greeting everyone who walks through the doors Saturday afternoons. He has outstanding personal skills, a willingness to make the guest experience the best it can be and puts his own unique twist on everything he does. Thank you, Spencer!

Mascot Corner: What Can YOU Do To Help

Hello Friends,
Fletch here! The lovable and huggable Loggerhead Marinelife Center mascot. 

Do you know what season is nearly upon us? You may have answered spring training, spring break or even spring cleaning. All good answers, but here at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, Florida, it’s going to be sea turtle nesting season! From March 1 through October 31, leatherback, loggerhead, and green sea turtles nest on our beaches. 

Last year, the Center’s Research Department documented 20,998 sea turtle nests with an estimated 1.35 million hatchlings on the 9.5-miles of beach that LMC manages. This was a record year for sea turtle nests on our beach. 

Florida beaches are very popular nesting habitats for sea turtles. So, what can you do to help ensure that beaches remain sea turtle-friendly this nesting season for nesting females and hatchlings? 

YOU can:

  • Be mindful of beachfront lighting (lights out). “Sea turtles dig the dark.” Lights disturb nesting turtles and hatchlings.
  • When living on beachfront property, turn lights off when unneeded, close the blinds at night and avoid using unshielded outdoor lighting fixtures.
  • Avoid disturbing marked nests
  • Properly dispose of all trash when you leave the beach, especially plastic bags. Don’t leave items behind, take the trash with you.
  • Participate in beach cleanups to remove trash from the beach
  • Avoid using flashlights, cell phones, lanterns or flash photography while on the beach at night.
  • Remove all beach chairs, coolers, blankets, water-sports equipment and umbrellas from the beach at night.
  • Fill in any holes you dig on the beach and knock down all sandcastles when you leave the beach.

My sea turtle friends and I thank you for your support in keeping beaches sea turtle-friendly.

Remember Sea Turtles “Dig the Dark!

Shop Where it Counts

From February 7th to the 14th, shop all things lovely at LMC’s gift store. Purchase in-person or online for 20 percent off of Shanore Jewelry and Inis body products. Score extra gifts as well, such as a free heart patterned Swedish dishcloth, with $50 or more e-store purchases.

Get Involved

Join the Blue Friends Society, have fun and meet new friends!
The Blue Friends Society of Loggerhead Marinelife Center is an active social group of ocean conservation enthusiasts and LMC supporters who network, educate, plan and promote conservation. Become a member of this dynamic networking social group of ocean conservationists. The Blue Friends Society hosts parties, networking gatherings, beach cleanups and enjoys the beautiful outdoors! Learn more at marinelife.org/bluefriends

Become a Member
Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Annual Fund offers our donors the opportunity to make tax-deductible donations to the Center while enjoying additional and exciting benefits. A tax-deductible donation to the Annual Fund supports the operations of Loggerhead Marinelife Center and its greatest needs. Your contribution helps promote conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. Your contribution will enhance all the great benefits that you have received since joining. Learn more at marinelife.org/member

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. Brick designs are 8X4 with a 60 character limit, including spaces for $250 (36 characters if including a logo). 8X8 brick designs are $450 with a 120 character limit, including spaces (80 characters if including a logo).

Thank You To Our Outstanding Supporters!

Tommy Bahama

We extend our sincere gratitude to our wonderful partners at Tommy Bahama who hosted our Blue Friends Society kick-off social for 2020! Our Blue Friends members enjoyed Tommy Bahama’s delightful atmosphere and delicious food. It was the perfect place to start our season of events!

Glades Day

As our founder set out, LMC strives to provide equitable marine science education, especially for children. Over the past decade, we have been able to increase our partnerships with local officials, schools, and community centers in order to create oceans of opportunity. This month, we celebrated “A Decade of Progress” at our Glades Leadership Open House. The event brought together community leaders to discuss STEM-based programming and to increase coast-to-coast educational opportunities for all children in the Glades community. Thank you to our Tri-City community leaders, The School District of Palm Beach County, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay and our Board of Directors for participating in our open house and helping us make bigger #WavesOfProgress throughout the state. As we celebrate the past decade of progress, we look forward to the next decade at our expanded campus, which will feature six times the educational space and welcome students from all over.   

We send a big thank you to Bloomingdales for the generous donation of $5,000 to LMC! Every January, each Bloomingdale’s store in the state of Florida selects a charity closely connected to its community to honor and elevate awareness for its cause. We are very grateful for this wonderful partnership!

The Weiss School

Fletch joined LMC at The Weiss school to celebrate the wonderful philanthropic efforts of next-generation leaders in ocean conservation! Students designed and created sea turtle artwork that was transferred onto gifts available for purchase. Proceeds from the event raised more than $1,000, which will be invested in our mission: to promote conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles.