Save A Light & Save A Life
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
Living on the palm tree laden Amelia Island, we are fortunate enough to be a host to a wide array of marine life. When strolling along our beaches in the summer months, you may come across areas marked with wooden stakes and yellow tape. When I first came to the Island from northern Mississippi a lifetime ago, you can imagine I was understandably befuddled by such a sight. Don’t fret! This is no crime scene. Yet, a scene of new and endangered life our locals are diligent in protecting.
My new friends educated me about the Green, Loggerhead, and occasionally Leatherback female sea turtles that nest their eggs on the shore from May to October’s end. In many ways different from their inland friends, sea turtles have a uniquely romantic disposition. Their evolution is fascinating! With their feet evolved into flippers and once heavy shells trimmed into hydrodynamic swim gear, they are a marvel of marine life. While males spend their entire lives at sea never returning to land, the females instinctively return to the very same beach where they were safeguarded and born to nest.
Those on “turtle-watch” come behind the turtles and mark the nesting grounds with the-once mysterious- stakes and yellow tape. At this juncture, we have done almost everything that we can to protect them as humans. Almost! Once the night comes when hatchlings are born, there is a crucial factor in their survival. The newly hatched are drawn to the lightest horizon available. If those of us living along the shore leave lit even the faintest porch light, it can be mistaken for the moon reflecting on the surf. With natural predators along the beach like carnivorous fish and ghost crabs and predatory birds, chances for survival are tough enough without being pointed in the wrong direction. We can bridge the gap between birth and survival for these beloved creatures in doing our part. To embark on their journey to whatever end, they must find light in the darkness. Mustn’t we all!
Only two more Shrimping Eco Tours in September. Get your tickets today and learn about our wonderful and amazing eco system?