Project AWARE and Dive Against Debris
Our Sea Turtle Edition wraps are now available!
This beautiful watercolor sea turtles print is now available in our shop!
Hundreds of loggerhead sea turtles return to the beaches of Pinellas County, here where Ideal Wrap is located, every year to nest. It is important for our community to keep these waters free of debris in order to promote the health of their species. That's why we have partnered with PADI and Project AWARE to host dive clean-ups right here in our area!
About Project AWARE
"Project AWARE connects the passion for ocean adventure with the purpose of marine conservation" is how Project AWARE states their mission. Their current focus is on their Clean Ocean and Healthy Ocean programs, which includes organizing SCUBA divers to regularly dive specific sites, pick up trash, and record the total weight of the debris collected along with item descriptions.
So far, they have created the most comprehensive data set regarding marine debris in the world, including information on nearly 6,000 animal rescues or casualties, and certified more than 1,600 PADI Dive Instructors to teach the Dive Against Debris specialty, passing along actionable knowledge to students.
How you can help
If you want to support our mission, you can pick up a pack of our Sea Turtle Beeswax Wraps. Up to 10% of revenues from the sales of these wraps go towards filling air tanks, parking fees, and organizing divers for to make our local Dive Against Debris dives a success!
Another great way to help is by sharing information! Go give Project AWARE an Instagram follow or share this blog post with a friend! If you're a diver, check out the Project AWARE specialties offered by PADI.
And if you're really feelin' it, and want to make a donation to Project AWARE straight away, you can do so here.
Other ways to help
There are loads of other organizations in Pinellas County that do great work with sea turtles and other local marine animals.
Sea Turtle Trackers
(From their website) “Sea Turtle Trackers, under FWC permit, patrol each and every day of turtle season (April – October) beginning one-half hour before sunrise. Usually in a team of two, we walk or drive the 5.8 kilometres of St Pete beach searching for turtle tracks that will lead us to a nest made during the previous night. We also patrol the shoreline of Shell Key nature preserve and Outback Key which is only accessible by boat. When we spot a nest, we mark it with stakes and tape, and measure its location, and, if necessary, may cover it with a cage. We record this information as we are required to report it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). In addition to looking for new nests, we check the marked nests every day.”
For almost 40 years, Bruno Falkenstein and the team at Sea Turtle Trackers have devoted their energy to protecting sea turtles in St. Pete Beach and Shell Key. Find out how you can contribute to the future of sea turtle conservation by visiting their website at seaturtletrackers.org.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
CMA is home of Winter -- you know, the famous dolphin without a tail. But they are also home of a dozen resident sea turtles and rehab-and-released nearly 200 turtles in 2018 alone. One of my favorite residents at CMA is Snorkel! Snorkel is a loggerhead turtle who is missing part of his face! It sounds weird, but trust me. This little guy is adorable.
(From their website) Snorkel is a loggerhead sea turtle who joined the CMA family in November 2018. The small turtle was found as a “washback,” a term used to describe a young sea turtle that washed ashore due to heavy winds and surf. Snorkel was found with damage to the upper beak and both eyes due to unknown trauma that occurred prior to the washback event. Snorkel is missing both nares (nasal openings generally located above the beak on a sea turtle), the upper jaw, and is blind. Although blind, Snorkel does respond quite well to tactile interaction. Therefore, our team will be seen interacting in a very different way than we do with our other sea turtles. Remember, these animals are federally protected, and the care we provide is specialized to ensure each animal continues to live a happy and healthy life with us.
CMA is unique in that it’s primarily a hospital and rehab center, funded by ticket sales where you get to see and be a part of the action. They also have a very extensive volunteer program! You can learn more about Clearwater Marine Aquarium here.
We'll have more information in the coming weeks about our clean-up events, so subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of our homepage, if you want to be notified. And if you’re a SCUBA diver, and want to volunteer to Dive Against Debris with us, be sure to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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