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Turtle season is underway on Tybee Island, volunteers check daily for new nests

Ike, the loggerhead sea turtle, at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center (Credit: Anna Hughes/WTGS).
Ike, the loggerhead sea turtle, at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center (Credit: Anna Hughes/WTGS).
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Sunday's rainy weather was the perfect opportunity for families to visit the Tybee Island Marine Science Center and learn about all the wildlife here in the Coastal Empire, especially the turtles.

Turtle seasons runs from May to October here on the coastal islands, and they want everyone to get involved.

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Volunteers walk the beach every morning to look for nests, and while we wait for them to hatch, there’s lots of turtles right here in the center for anyone who wants to learn more.

“The biggest thing is going to be education. So here at the science center, we’re constantly educating about turtle nesting season. We’re always educating on our city ordinances, things that are allowed and not allowed," lead aquarist Sarah Alley said.

The first turtle nest on Tybee Island was spotted just a few days ago. Eventually, the eggs hatch and the newborn turtles crawl back into the ocean.

But some stragglers get left behind, so the marine science center takes them in for the meantime.

“So what we do is we get these babes, we keep them here for about three years, grow them big and strong and release them," Alley said.

Ike is one of the loggerhead sea turtles that resides in the center. He will be released into the ocean in a few months, but until then, guests can get an up close look at these beautiful creatures.

“We always say when a person meets a sea turtle, it’s a lot easier for them to connect with them, rather than just looking at pictures or videos," Alley said.

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One favorite activity is watching the turtles get fed, especially when they’re eating other live animals.

The Wills Family, visiting from Toronto, were excited to experience the marine wildlife and commented on how cute and little they are, and also how it was cool to watch one eat a live crab.

“Everyday at work for me is a big, magical day. I never get bored of working with the turtles or watching nests on the beach," Alley said.

They hope that through education and awareness, all beachgoers will help keep the turtles safe in the coming months.

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The Tybee Marine Science Center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Click here for more information.

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