Sea Turtle Conservation Program
Escambia County is committed to protecting and preserving sea turtle and other marine wildlife. Our efforts would not be possible without a dedicated team of volunteers who work alongside county staff to monitor nesting activity and engage the public in sea turtle conservation. Volunteers are divided into two main teams: Patrol Team & Ambassador Team.
For a full list of volunteer duties and requirements, please download our Sea Turtle Conservation program FAQ to the right.
All marine turtle work is performed under Marine Turtle Permit #032A.
Sea Turtle Patrol Team
Stating May 1 through Oct. 31, staff and volunteers conduct daily surveys along county-owned beaches on Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. Volunteers patrol the beaches at first light, marking any nesting or hatching activity.
Daily surveys ensure any nests laid in the night are protected and marked, allowing normal beach activities to continue. During the morning surveys, the location and species for each nest is identified and recorded. A secure marking device is placed at all nest sites, and a clearly marked buffer prevents foot traffic around the nest. False crawls, where a female crawls ashore but fails to dig a nest, are also recorded.
Volunteers and staff continue to check on nests during the incubation period, ensuring they remain undisturbed. When a nest's hatching time is near, volunteers will check the nest daily for signs of a hatching event. Post-hatching, staff will conduct a nest assessment to determine total number of hatched and unhatched eggs.
Volunteers and staff remain on standby throughout the year to assist with disorientation, stranding and accidental hooking events.
Sea Turtle Ambassadors
Ambassadors help engage and educate the public in sea turtle conservation efforts and work closely with area businesses to promote sea turtle friendly practices. Our ambassador team focuses on three main areas:
Leave No Trace: furniture and other obstructions left on the beach can impact nesting and hatchling turtles. Ambassadors remind visitors to take everything home with them at the end of their stay and help report issues to staff and beach leaders. Enjoying long walks on the beach at sunset is a must!
White Lights on the Beach: Nesting females prefer dark, quiet stretches of beach to lay their eggs. Bright white lights like those found in our phones and flashlights can scare them off, forcing them to waste precious energy. Ambassadors remind guest and visitors to leave the white lights at home and provide alternatives to use while enjoying our beaches after dark.
Hooked Turtle Response: Turtles are frequently spotted near the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier, along with marine mammals and shorebirds. Ambassadors provide education and assistance in the event of a hooked turtle or other wildlife, helping anglers and pier managers respond safely and correctly.
Our Ambassador team is a diverse group of individuals, who are passionate about sea turtle conservation and want to share that passion with others. There are Ambassador opportunities for a range of knowledge and commitment levels. We only ask you have a positive attitude and enjoy protecting our area’s wildlife!
Interested in having an Ambassador speak to your organization or class about sea turtle conservation? Email Samantha Bolduc or call 850-595-3460.
Evidence of a freshly laid nest on Pensacola Beach. Each species of turtle has a unique pattern of crawl tracks, letting volunteers identify the species long after the turtle is gone. Volunteers will record the location and species of each nest before marking it to prevent disturbance.