Photo: Jim Abernethy
Get rid of plastic
Avoid plastic bags and Styrofoam. Plastics that get into our waterways can eventually make it to sea, where sea turtles can mistake them for food. If this trash blocks their digestive tract, they will die. Don't release balloons outdoors, they often end up in the ocean, especially when released near the coast. Sea turtles mistakenly eat the balloons and die.
Research my seafood
Think twice before eating shrimp or other seafood that is not caught with turtle-friendly gear. Sea turtles caught in commercial fishing gear cannot surface for air and often drown.
Dim the lights
At night, turn out lights visible from the beach. Sea turtle hatchlings use the moon's reflection on the waves to find their way to the water at night. Artificial lighting confuses them, causing them to head inland rather than to the sea.
Keep beaches clean
Clean up trash on the beach--even if it's not mine. Properly discard garbage and food scraps to avoid attracting predators like raccoons and foxes that can prey on eggs and hatchlings.
Clear the way
Remove recreational equipment like lounge chairs and toys from the beach at night. These obstacles can deter nesting females, and make it harder for hatchlings to get to the water.
Be on the lookout
Be aware of sea turtle nesting areas on the beach, and avoid them. Sea turtles are cute and tempting to touch, but I will keep my distance. I will also not use flashlights around nesting sea turtles.
Do my part year-round
Even when I'm not at the beach, I know my actions can impact the wildlife there. Toxic cleaning products can enter waterways and end up in the ocean. I will make careful, informed choices about the products I buy for my home and yard.
Many sea turtles are struck and killed by boats. When boating in sea turtle territory, I will wear polarized sunglasses and keep an eye out for basking sea turtles.
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