Sea Turtle Washback Program
Thank you to all our 2012 volunteers! This program is based solely on volunteer efforts, without you, we couldn't be successful. There was an overwhelming response from the community this year, and we look forward to seeing many of you again, in 2013!
Sea Turtle Washback Volunteer Program
Washback season is from July 1 – November 30. Storms create wrack lines by pushing large amounts of seaweed up onto the beach. Juvenile sea turtles that get caught in these wrack lines are extremely exhausted and need medical attention. Washback volunteers survey the wrack lines for the juvenile turtles and help transport them to a rehabilitation facility.
Wrack lines may form at any time, so volunteers work on an on-call basis. Volunteers are contacted when a wrack line forms and are asked to complete a survey as soon as possible.
To volunteer, you must complete a county volunteer application, pass a background check, possess a valid FL driver's license, attend a mandatory orientation, and site specific training. Children under the age of 18, that meet all the above requirements, may volunteer (those under 16 will not need to possess a valid FL Driver's License) and must be accompanied by an adult. High school and college students may use these volunteer hours for school credit. Please fill out and return the availability form and volunteer application.
Please mail or drop off your completed application to:
901 Pope Road
St Augustine, FL 32080
Please note: we cannot accept faxed or email applications.
If you are interested in becoming a Zone Captain, please check the appropriate box on your application. Zone Captains are responsible for volunteer team assigned to their area, coordinate surveys when asked, and are responsible for the upkeep of the washback materials assigned to them at the beginning of the season.
Zone Captain responsibilities will be outlined in detail at the first orientation session and volunteers will have the opportunity to request to be a Zone Captain. There are a limited number of zones, and captains are chosen on their availability and commitment to the program.
Sea Turtle Washback Volunteer Program Training
There will be information meetings designed to provide you with a basic understanding of sea turtles and the purpose of the program. As a new volunteer it is suggested that you attend one of the information meetings. There will also be one mandatory training orientation where volunteers will receive a detailed explanation of your role in the program. At the training orientation you will receive your zone assignment, meet your zone captain and receive volunteer program training. Returning volunteers are only required attend the mandatory training orientation.
For more information about the Washback Volunteer Program, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Sea Turtle Patrol
Every spring and summer, sea turtles return to our coastline in St. Johns County to nest. The 2011 nesting season resulted in 640 nests which were slightly fewer than the previous year, but still significantly higher than the 2009 season. During the 2010 season there were 867 nests and there were 270 nests during the 2009 season.
Our 41 miles of beaches are walked and surveyed every morning at sunrise by our Sea Turtle Patrol Volunteers during the Sea Turtle Nesting Season, May 1 – October 31. These volunteers are coordinated by the permit holder of that stretch of beach, and are looking for signs that a sea turtle has nested. If a nest is determined the volunteers will then mark it with four posts, flagging tape and signage.
Additional Volunteer Opportunities
- Beach Clean-ups
For more information about volunteer opportunities, please contact Sonia Colyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (904) 209-0752.