Friday, August 1, 2008

Sea Turtles: My Favorite of God's Creatures

Me holding a baby loggerhead sea turtle, August 2005

I was looking through old photos and came across a few happy ones that reminded me of an amazing trip I went on during school to volunteer with the Sea Turtle League of Singer Island in Florida.

Holy moly. These creatures are the most amazing things I have ever seen come to life. In my week of walking the beach with our inspirational guide, Debbie, I learned more about sea turtles than I could have ever imagined learning in a lifetime. And since then, they have held a special place in my heart.

You see, because of the harm man has done to this earth, these poor little guys follow the lights given off by fancy ocean side condos and resorts instead of following the light of the moon to the safety of the ocean, like their instincts should tell them to do.
It was my team's job at 4 a.m. to walk the island's 4 miles of beachfront property in search of baby turtles that hatched during the night and gotten "mixed up" and gone in the opposite direction from the ocean water and toward the false light, which often made them fall victim to a lurking predator or a speeding car.

We even got to see some of the hatchlings come out of their eggs where they had been incubating for two months and rise out of the sand when they were ready... It truly was the miracle of life that happened right before our eyes.

Unfortunately, there was days we were too late and some of them had already overheated in the hot sun. Those days we all wanted to cry. If only we could've been here sooner...

I could go on and on with turtle facts and reasons we need to be aware of the threat we are posing to these beautiful creatures, but instead I'll just point out a few statistics:

- All species of sea turtles are on the endangered species list.
- The longevity of sea turtles has been speculated at 80 years!
- It is estimated that only one sea turtle hatchling in 1,000 survive to maturity (to put it simply, the time when they can make babies), which is approximately 18 years old.
- Most turtles return to nest at the locations where they were born.

Our planet's resources are so precious. Let's not take that for granted.

1 comment:

Erin Kelly said...

Aw Lauren, you and your little turtles. I know what I'm getting you for Christmas....And I know a really HOT doctor who loves to treat them ;) Not me by the way.