FISH of Sanibel-Captiva is continuing its community-wide Friendly Faces Luncheon in a virtual format. Islanders can attend via the Zoom platform for games, conversation and guest speakers.
The next one will take place on July 12 at noon, featuring guest speaker Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Coastal Wildlife Director and Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Kelly Sloan. She will discuss the sea turtle program on the islands and why conservation is important to the environment.
“Sea turtle nesting season is a large part of Sanibel history, and we are excited to learn more from Kelly as she will not only share information on SCCF’s program but also fun turtle trivia,” Senior Services Director Erika Broyles said.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science in biology from Virginia Tech, Sloan worked as a research technician in a Virginia Tech lab investigating how animals use the magnetic field to orient and navigate. Her strong interest in international conservation took her to South Africa to study baboons at the Wildcliff Nature Reserve and then to Costa Rica to volunteer with a sea turtle nesting program.
Sloan started working for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Marine Turtle Conservation Program in 2007, where she helped manage all aspects of sea turtle conservation. While working at the SCDNR, she completed her master’s degree in environmental science and policy. In the spring of 2013, Sloan joined a team of scientists on Long Island to characterize the response of endangered piping plovers to habitats created by Hurricane Sandy. She accepted her position with the SCCF in December of 2013.
According to the SCCF, sea turtle monitoring on Sanibel began in the late 1950s with Charles Lebuff and Caretta Research Inc., making it one of the longest running monitoring programs in the country. The program was transferred to the SCCF in 1992 when Caretta Research Inc. disbanded.
Sea turtle nesting season on the islands lasts from April through October, and residents are asked to do their part to keep the beaches dark and free of disturbance for nesting sea turtles. One of the greatest threats to sea turtles on beaches is artificial lighting, which causes thousands of hatchlings to die every year in Florida, according to the SCCF. Remember, “After 9, it’s turtle time!”
Prepared by George & Wendy’s and delivered by FISH volunteers starting at 11:30 am, the lunch will consist of a cold entree, side, water bottle and dessert. The cost is waived and complimentary to all participants. Meal choice details are provided upon sign-up.
Reservations and meal choices are required by July 8.
For more information or to make a reservation, contact the FISH Walk-In-Center at 239-472-4775. Once registered, FISH will provide an emailed link and meeting ID number for access.