Keep Martin Beautiful Talks Turtle!

Posted on May 5, 2024

It’s Turtle Nesting Season on the Treasure Coast! From March through October, our beaches welcome green turtles, leatherbacks, and loggerheads that will lay their eggs and produce the next generation of sea turtles.

Keep Martin Beautiful volunteers care deeply about our beaches and are diligent about picking up litter to keep them pristine. Now that we’re coming into the height of the season – May through August, we all have a part to play in keeping turtles safe and making sure our beaches are welcoming:

  • Lights off! Artificial light can disorient turtles as they come from the water and return to the water. Lights could make them head the wrong way. Anyone who lives on the beach should keep lights off and curtains closed from 9 pm to 7 am. Lights off, too, for anyone walking on the beach in the evening. Please, no flashlights!
  • Keep it flat! Holes in the sand can be a trap for nesting mothers and hatchling babies. If you take your kids or grandkids to the beach and they’re having fun digging in the dig, be sure to fill the holes in when they’re done.
  • Stay back and Don’t Touch! Mother turtles need and deserve a respectful space as they lay their eggs. Stay back, or better yet, stay away. And when those cute baby turtles leave the nest and head for the ocean, don’t touch them. These little hatchlings have a natural instinct to head toward the brightest horizon, typically the ocean. If we interfere by handling them, it can disrupt this natural behavior, causing confusion and potentially leading them away from the sea. And if those aren’t enough reasons for you to stay away, remember that these creatures are a protected species so it’s also against the law!

Photo contributed by Samantha Baysinger.

There’s lots to know about turtles and the intricate process that brings them to our beaches every year. Fortunately, we have terrific experts in our area who willingly share their knowledge. Some of these organizations host turtle watches – the best way to see the awe-inspiring sight of mother turtles lay eggs without disturbing them. Here are a few of our partners in Keeping Martin Beautiful – for us and for turtles.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Service tracks turtle nesting and makes their charts available on their website. You can see how the turtle nesting season is going and compare it with other years.

Ecological Associates Inc. staff scan our beaches daily and mark turtle nests with protective tape to keep beachgoers from accidentally disturbing a nest. These professional turtle watchers and protectors provide information and welcome questions at their website.

Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center, located on Hutchinson Island, invites visitors to meet Turt, Lily, Hank and Anna Belle – the turtles housed in its rehabilitation pond – and learn more about the three turtle species that nest on local beaches. The friendly and knowledgeable staff at FOS also conduct turtle watches and offer a coastal lecture series.

Environmental Studies Center in Jensen Beach has been educating generations of students about the local environment. It now features a new Sea Turtle Exhibit, which can easily accommodate an entire class as they gather around a sea turtle tank and learn more about these amazing creatures.

For more information, contact Keep Martin Beautiful at 772-781-1222 or


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