Volunteers Needed for Sea Turtle Washback Program
St. Johns County, FL – St. Johns County is seeking volunteers for the 2014 Washback Turtle Season to survey the wrack line, which is the row of seaweed that has been pushed onto the beach by the tide or a storm, for stranded sea turtles. Once sea turtles hatch from their nests and make their way to the water, they swim in search of a large mass of seaweed where they find refuge and protection. Storms and high tide events occurring August through November can push the mass of seaweed onto the beach. The washback turtles, which are slightly larger than a hatchling, are extremely tired, dehydrated, and in need of medical attention. Washback volunteers survey the wrack lines and contact authorities if a stranded turtle is located.
The Washback Program does not have standard shifts or hours. Volunteers are contacted through an on-call system to survey the wrack lines when needed. All volunteers assisting the washback program must complete a County volunteer application, pass a background check, possess a valid Florida driver license, attend one mandatory orientation session, and attend one mandatory site-specific training. Children under 18 are welcome to volunteer, but they must be accompanied by an adult or guardian. For more information, please review the St. Johns County Sea Turtle Washback Volunteers facebook page, visit www.co.st-johns.fl.us/HCP/Volunteer.aspx, or call .
Washback Volunteer Orientation Dates:
– 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. on August 12 at the Ponte Vedra Library: 101 Library Blvd
– 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. on August 13 at the Main Branch Library: 1960 N. Ponce De Leon
– 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. on August 26 at the Island Branch Library: 124 Seagrove Main Street
Washback Volunteer Site Specific Training Dates:
– August 29 at the South Ponte Vedra Recreation Area: 2993 South Ponte Vedra Boulevard
– August 30 at Butler Park East: 5860 A1A South