WISTA USA Supports Sea Turtle Conservation
Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) USA Florida Chapter participated in a sea turtle release with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program (BCSTCP) and Nova Southeastern University (NSU) on July 26, 2018.
Forty nine WISTA members and guests attended the sea turtle hatchling release, which raised $1000 for the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program.
“As maritime professionals, WISTA members understand the significant role we can play to protect the habitats, nesting areas, and life cycle of sea creatures. Collaborating with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program for this event gave us a personal experience with these magnificent turtles and a great education in what our community does and what we can do to help protect them,” said WISTA USA Florida Chapter co-president and STAR Center Medical Training Manager Lesley Karentz.
The hatchling release consists of an educational component at NSU’s Ocean Campus, located inside Port Everglades, and the hatchling release at the Marine Environmental Education Center (MEEC) at the historic Carpenter House on Hollywood’s North Beach. Thirty loggerhead turtle hatchlings were released by the group.
NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography manages the BCSTCP in partnership with Broward County. The program provides for the conservation of endangered and threatened sea turtle species within Broward County.
“Sea turtles are considered a keystone species in that their health is an indicator of the overall health of the ecosystem,” said Derek Burkholder, Ph.D., an NSU research scientist and the director of the BCSTCP. “It’s vital we look after these incredible animals, ensuring they are protected from hatchlings to adults for many generations to come.”
Florida accounts for approximately 70% of the nation's sea turtle nesting, and Southeast Florida, from the Space Coast to the Gold Coast, is the most important nesting area in the world for loggerhead sea turtles, hosting 40% of global loggerhead nesting. Broward County serves as a consistent nesting area of three specific species of sea turtles: the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtle, the green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtle, and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) sea turtle. By monitoring nests and creating public awareness, the BCSTCP helps protect these imperiled creatures.