Volunteers Needed for Sea Turtle Washback Program


Volunteers Needed for Sea Turtle Washback Program

St. Johns County, FL. – St. Johns County is seeking volunteers for the 2013 Sea Turtle Washback Program to survey the wrack lines for washback sea turtles through November 31 and help with transportation to a rehabilitation facility.

Wrack lines occur when large amounts of seaweed are pushed up onto the beach. Washbacks happen when juvenile sea turtles are washed onto the beach and become entangled in this seaweed, usually following a storm. They are typically exhausted and in need of medical attention. These wrack lines may form at any time and volunteers are needed on an on-call basis for when a wrack line has formed and are asked to complete a survey as soon as possible.

All volunteers must complete a County volunteer application, pass a background check, possess a valid Florida driver’s license, attend one of the mandatory orientation sessions, and attend one of the mandatory site-specific training STERP_ZSCHEILE_SARGASSUMsessions. Applications can only be obtained and completed at the orientation sessions. Applications will not be accepted by mail, email, or fax to the office. Returning volunteers are not required to attend the orientation. Children under the age of 18 that meet all the above requirements may volunteer. Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Together, the orientation and training sessions provide a basic understanding of sea turtles, review the purpose of the program, allow volunteers to complete a mock survey on the beach, and instruct volunteers on the procedure to assist a washback sea turtle.

Volunteers are expected to dedicate the second and fourth Saturday of every month between September and November to walk the beach with their team and to familiarize themselves with their co-volunteers and the beach they are designated to survey.

St_Johns_County1Additionally, St. Johns County staff are seeking dedicated volunteers capable of a flexible schedule to fill Zone Captain positions. Zone Captains are responsible for coordinating volunteers through a phone tree system, completing data sheets, coordinating transport of washbacks, as well as providing the proper equipment at the time of survey. St. Johns County Beaches will provide necessary equipment and data sheets. Volunteers interested in becoming Zone Captains should indicate this on their application.

For the July 31 orientation session, please sign up online via For the remaining orientation sessions and the site-specific training sessions, please check the St. Johns County Beaches website closer to those dates for sign-up instructions.

Orientation Sessions:

  • ·       July 31 – Main Branch Library 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • ·       August 12 – Ponte Vedra Library 5:30–6:30 p.m.
  • ·       August 14 – City Hall 5:30–6:30 p.m.

Site Specific Training Sessions:

  • ·       August 16 – Mickler’s Landing 5:30–6:30 p.m.
  • ·       August 17 – Butler Park East 5:30–6:30 p.m.

For more information, please visit the St Johns County website at or contact Sydney Lindblad at 904.209.0344.


Source: St Johns County / Baret News Wire


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