Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sea Turtle Saturday...

I realize this isn't a gardening topic but we just returned from the Sea Turtle Saturday event and I have to say it was one of the coolest things I've attended in a long time.

Sea Turtle Saturday is hosted by the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council (GINTC). This non-profit, community-based, volunteer organization sponsors, supports and develops nature-based educational and recreational activities, promoting the value of the natural habitats and resources of the Galveston area (info from their website). 

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service - Galveston Laboratory (you know- those big white buildings on Ave. U, just behind the Olympia Grill, Subway, etc.) was the major program partner. According to their website -  "Sea turtles inhabit all oceans of the world. There are five species of sea turtles found in the Gulf of Mexico, all of which are either endangered or threatened. The most endangered species of sea turtle in the world is the Kemp's Ridley which is also the most common species found in the waters off of Texas. Since the Kemp's Ridley was listed on the Endangered Species Act, the Galveston Lab has played an important role in the conservation and recovery of this species through ongoing research, head-starting experiments and support of international conservation efforts."

Dr. Joseph Flanagan, Houston Zoo veterinary, Ben Higgins, NOAA Fisheries Service biologist and program manager of the Galveston sea turtle laboratory and Lyndsey Howell, another NOAA Fisheries Service biologist were the key presenters and each did a great job of telling their story.

HOWEVER - the highlight of the day was a visit to the "turtle barn" where live turtles are raised and studied prior to being released in to the Gulf. Much of the work done at the facility has been on perfecting the TED (Turtle Exclusion Device) for commercial trawling nets. Development of the TED is largely credited for saving the Kemp's Ridley from extinction.



Bottom line. This was way-cool and something to put on your calendar for next year!!!  

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