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Mote Marine Laboratory to Offer Free Turtle Walks


MANATEE COUNTY -- Every Saturday in June and July, a Mote-trained volunteer will lead groups to scout for signs of turtle nesting, while discussing sea turtles and other local wildlife, natural habitats and ocean issues.

Hilton guests and the public are all welcome to come and learn the facts behind the turtle tracks and scout local beachers for nests by joining Mote Marine Laboratory's Turtle Walks. The free educational strolls are offered in collaboration with Hilton Longboat Key Beachfront Resort.

The walks will begin at 6:45 a.m. every Saturday in June and July. Participants should meet at the Hilton's pool area and expect a leisurely 1.5 mile walk on Longboat Key.  Children must be accompanied by an adult, and no reservations are needed.

Groups might find evidence of turtle nests or of "false crawls", when females come ashore but return to sea without nesting. Guides will describe how Mote scientists and trained volunteers carefully interpret and document these signs. Participants will also learn how all beachgoers, coastal residents and visitors can keep beaches safe and inviting for sea turtles.

Florida's Gulf Coast is a hotspot for nesting sea turtles. Sarasota County beaches provide nesting grounds for threatened loggerhead sea turtles, endangered green sea turtles and occasionally for other sea turtle species. The west coast of Florida hosts the largest nesting population of loggerheads in the Gulf of Mexico. Nesting season runs from May 1 through Oct. 31.

Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program has monitored daily sea turtle nesting along 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches every season for more than 29 years. 

To learn more about Mote's sea turtle research and monitoring efforts exploring the website and get weekly turtle nesting updates at www.mote.org/2010nesting. 


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