Being part of the team at the Vanderbilt Beach Resort and the Turtle Club, I’ve encountered some incredible glimpses of the natural beauty of Naples and Southwest Florida and insights into the creatures that make our beachfront and waters so unique and precious. By far the most unique encounters are those involving sea turtles, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see them swim under one of the hotel's paddleboard as I drifted through the water one afternoon. These creatures are awe-inspiring and breathtaking. But ironically, some of the most common sea turtles to inhabit the Gulf in Southwest Florida - the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles - are also the most endangered sea turtles in the world. That is why the Turtle Club decided to help the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.
You may have heard about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s efforts to learn more about the migration patterns of these sea turtles. Dr. Jeff Schmid at The Conservancy, along with Dr. Tony Tucker of Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory, want to know more about how these creatures react to changes in water temperature and water quality, so they have been placing satellite tags on select sea turtles. By studying their migration patterns, Drs. Schmid and Tucker hope to gain information that will help save the species.
The Turtle Club is helping the Conservancy in its efforts to study and save sea turtles by funding scientific research to track the turtles’ migration patterns. The Turtle Club sponsored a satellite tag that was placed on the back of a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle now named Radar, and the satellite transponder will send a signal that is recorded each time Radar breaks through the water. Radar’s movements are then tracked by map, and researchers will get a clearer idea of the Kemp’s Ridley’s migration patterns.
This past fall, Mick and I had the incredible opportunity to accompany Drs. Schmid and Tucker on an expedition to release Radar, who had just been tagged with its satellite transponder, into the Pine Island Sound. What a rare treat to be able to spend time with this turtle, to have a chance to hold it under the scientists’ supervision, of course, and to watch it speed away as soon as it was released into the water. Now I am able to track Radar’s whereabouts each day, as its position is recorded. You too, can track Radar’s location by clicking here.
The Turtle Club also has made it easy and enjoyable for you to help scientists learn more about the migration habits of Kemp’s Ridley turtles like Rader. All you need to do is order a Turtletini the next time you are having cocktails at The Turtle Club. For each Turtletini sold, The Turtle Club will donate $1.00 to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s sea turtle research efforts. Take advantage of all the opportunities to learn about these amazing creatures in and around Naples. Science has never been so painless and fun!
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