It’s sea turtle nesting season on the Alabama Gulf Coast. These endangered animals need all the help they can get as humans encroach on their beaches and nesting areas. Last week, employees of Festiva’s Palm Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Alabama were out before dawn on their weekly patrols. They were volunteering with Share the Beach, Alabama’s sea turtle conservation program, and they were looking for nests that may have been a little too close to the water. Relocating the eggs give the baby sea turtles a much better chance of survival in their delicate dance from embryo, to hatchlings, to making their way to the ocean.
Each year, thousands of families converge on Alabama’s white-sand beaches for fun in the sun, but there’s another family that makes its annual pilgrimage to the sanctuary of our shores – the endangered sea turtle. From July to October these nests produce baby sea turtles make their way to the beaches where they hatched so many years ago to lay their own eggs.
Since 2003, an estimated 50,000+ sea turtles have hatched along the Gulf Coast shores from Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Without the help of hundreds of Share the Beach volunteers, the newly hatched sea turtles may not find their way to the warm Gulf waters to embark on their journey.