Nest relocation is complete. Technicians then cover nests for their protection and collect data about each nest. Georgia Department of Natural Resources [GaDNR] began extensive turtle surveys in 1989. Thanks to this long-term effort, we now know that there are at least 20 pairs of mother and daughter turtles that nest on Georgia beaches (GaDNR).
As we finish this journey, I would like to thank the members of the Georgia DNR and the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative that permitted me to publish this story. Since drilling Anna with questions about sea turtles, I have continued my own research. I have gained a far greater appreciation for the sea turtle and the field of sea turtle conservation.
You can keep track of this season’s turtle nests in Georgia at seaturtle.org. Remember, sea turtles are protected by federal law. If you see a turtle or a nest on the beach, do not disturb it by keeping your distance and by not shining lights at or around it.
In order to find nests for monitoring, Anna marks the nest with a post. This is her twenty-first nest of the season, laid on June 4th. A loggerhead nest takes about 50 days to incubate (Georgia Sea Turtle Center).
Anna takes GPS coordinates for where the nest was originally laid and records the number of eggs in the nest.
She then stakes down a two net-system to keep away predators. The larger net will help keep away larger predators such as hogs, and the small net should deter crabs and shorebirds. When it comes time for the eggs to hatch, Anna will remove the smaller net. The turtle hatchlings will be able to crawl through the larger net. Anna marks the nest to help her find it daily and check that the net is secure. And finally, Anna records the GPS coordinates of the new nest.
And today’s work on nest 21 is complete! Time to continue along the beach to check nests and search for more new nests.
If you’re interested in learning more about sea turtles, here is a list of resources that I used throughout this series:
- SeaTurtle.org – Sea Turtle Nest Monitoring System
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GaDNR) – Sea Turtle Conservation and Research
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
- Georgia Sea Turtle Center
(c) Website and all images copyright Kaitlin Taylor 2016