See Spot...See Spot run...See Spot flip out!

     See Spot. See Spot run. How many of you “youngsters” out there remember reading these words in the “Fun with Dick and Jane” series of reading books? These whole word reading books were widely used in the 1930s to 1970s for millions of young children. One of the main characters introduced was Spot the dog. I want to introduce you to another Spot, a little Green Sea Turtle.

     The Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch Group is one of our local organizations formed in 1985 as part of a conservatory effort to help the Amelia Island Florida’s nesting sea turtles. Florida beaches are home to thousands of turtle nest that hatch each year. The primary sea turtles found here are the Loggerhead, the Green, and the Leatherback species. Volunteers trained in survey techniques monitor the local beaches for nesting activity, catalog, report, mark, and monitor nests along the Amelia Island beaches. When the eggs hatch, the volunteers wait a day or two and then excavate the site to count shells and rescue any stragglers and report the results back to the Florida Wildlife authorities. I had the exciting opportunity to observe one of these excavations one morning. 

     Our volunteers took turns digging deep into the nest to excavate a Green Sea Turtle Nest. These excavations are popular local events and some parents bring their children to observe the event. I watched as one little girl and boy giggled with excitement as a baby Green Turtle was pulled alive from the nest. OK, I was giddy too. They named the turtle “Spot”. As Spot was pulled out of the nest, he (or she) stared eastward into the morning sun. When the excavation was complete Spot was taken down to waters edge and released. Spot paused for a moment as the sound of the waves beckoned it onward. The location of this beach was then etched into its memory. Then in a flash, those little flippers started digging into the wet sand. In few short moments, Spot was swimming into the Atlantic Ocean. Home sweet home.  I saw Spot raise that little turtlehead and then disappear beneath the waves. God- Speed Spot. If “Spot” survives to adulthood (and is a mating female), the turtle will return to the same area as an adult and lay an average of 115 eggs, nesting about 3-5 times in a season.

     My thanks and praise goes to the hard work and dedication of all these volunteers. They watch and wait and report and work hard to ensure each egg has a chance to hatch and make it to the sea. Wish I could say the same for all the human eggs in the world. Maybe we need a similar type of volunteer organization for humans too. Be blessed. Harry

Pelicans greet the sun as another turtle excavation begins withe the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch organization.

An unhatched egg is pulled from the nest. It will be reburied and hopefully hatch soon.

Empty Sibling shells from the recent successful Green Sea Turtle nest hatch at Amelia Island

One lone little turtle named Spot is pulled from the nest. Spot sees the sun for the first time.

I wanna see Spot...I don't know who was more or this young observer..!

Spot pauses for a second to etch this beach location into its memory. 

See Spot..See Spot Flip out as it heads for the surf...God-Speed Spot..


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