A sea turtle nest on Cayo Costa Island. Friends of Cayo Costa State Park photo
A sea turtle nest on Cayo Costa Island. Friends of Cayo Costa State Park photo

CAYO COSTA ISLAND – Turtle nesting season in Florida runs now through September. Several seasons have produced more than 300 nests of Loggerhead and Green turtles on Cayo Costa Island.

The nests are monitored by State Park staff and volunteers, patrolling eight miles of beach until all sea turtle nests have hatched. During beach patrols endangered sea turtle nests are located, identified by species, marked, numbered and their GPS coordinates recorded. The nests are then monitored and their status tracked. As part of their patrol, volunteers and staff may place protective screens around the nests after they are laid to discourage predators. A data base with all information gathered regarding the turtle nests is recorded.

There are two ways to support the turtle nest program at Cayo Costa State Park for the 2016 season. With a contribution of $25 you can participate in the “Adopt A-Nest” program or you can donate to support a new nest monitoring vehicle. As a supporter of the Adopt A-Nest program, your name will be listed as a donor and you will be notified via email of the date the eggs were laid and its GPS location. You will also receive an email letting you know when your nest has hatched. Your “Adopt-A-Nest” funds will assist in providing needed supplies used to protect the nests as well as pay for other turtle conservation efforts at Cayo Costa State Park.

Contributions are also needed to purchase a new monitoring vehicle, a Polaris ATV for turtle nest beach patrol. Both donation programs are available through the Friends of Cayo Costa State Park (FoCC) based on Pine Island, Florida. Friends of Cayo Costa State Park's mission is to preserve, protect and promote the unique unspoiled natural beauty and heritage of Cayo Costa State Park for present and future generations. For more information visit http://friendsofcayocosta.org.

FoCC is a division of Barrier Islands Park Society (BIPS), a 501c3 organization which is the official Citizens Support Organization for Cayo Costa, Gasparilla, Stump Pass, Don Pedro State Parks and Port Boca Grande Lighthouse & Museum. All funds raised by FoCC will be used exclusively for Cayo Costa State Park.