Every year sea turtles make the journey to Alabama's beaches and start nesting and laying their eggs. Loggerhead, Kemp's ridley, and green turtles all use the Beach as a nesting ground. Turtles return to the same coastal Beach where they were hatched to lay their eggs, so the turtles that visit our beaches are frequent visitors. From the time they arrive on land to lay their eggs to the moment the hatchlings crawl towards the water, their survival is at risk. During hatching season, May through October, hundreds of Share the Beach volunteers work to protect these sea turtles and ensure the safety of their nests.
Founded in 2005 by the Friends of the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge, Share the Beach is Alabama's sea turtle conservation program. It is designed to protect and promote the livelihood and habitat of sea turtles along the Alabama Coast. This program works to mitigate human-related impacts to sea turtles, monitor sea turtle nests and hatchlings, and promote the conservation of sea turtles in the state through public outreach education.
Share the Beach follows U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's protocols under the endangered species recovery permit. Those who volunteer to patrol the Beach, educate the public and school groups, conduct late-night observations and assist with supply and equipment preparations. These efforts help ensure the protection of sea turtles.
Sea turtles are an endangered species, so it's vital that we all do our part to protect them. You can aid in the conservation of sea turtles by learning more about our marine-life friends and how to spot their nests.
While visiting, here are a few ways you can help sea turtles:
- Avoid flashlights or flash photography at night, as the light can disorient the turtles.
- Stop by one of our Welcome Centers to get stickers to cover your phone flashlight or hand-held flashlight.
- If you happen to come across a turtle nest, keep your distance and don't disturb it.
- Be sure to always clean up after a day at the Beach and leave only footprints.
- Turn off any patio or outside lights that shine on the Beach at night.
- Fill in any holes dug in the sand.
By doing these and supporting the efforts put forth by Share the Beach, you are increasing their chances of survival.
You can also volunteer with Share the Beach during the nesting season (May 1 through October 31).
Start planning a beach getaway to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to see why people and turtles alike love Alabama's Gulf Coast.