The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota is offering complimentary Turtle Walks again this summer, giving visitors and residents the opportunity to learn about environmental issues and contribute to the knowledge of our oceans. For the sixth summer in a row, interested parties can accompany a Ritz-Carlton employee on a sunrise Beach Patrol, in search of tracks indicating that a nesting sea turtle came ashore the previous night. Employees are Mote Marine Laboratory-trained and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission-permitted, allowing them to identify and mark nests, rescue turtles, dig nests and touch eggs.

Turtle nesting season along Florida beaches begins May 1 and ends October 31. Mote staff, volunteers and interns monitor 35 miles of beach each morning throughout nesting season, including Longboat Key (Sarasota and Manatee counties), Lido Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key and Venice Beach.

The Turtle Walks are complimentary and are conducted Saturday mornings May through September. Everyone is invited to meet at the North Lido Lifeguard Stand on Lido Key at 7 a.m. to join the walk. No reservations are required.

For more information on the Turtle Walks, please contact The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota at (941) 309-2160 or Mote Marine Laboratory at (941) 388-4441

Here’s the official news we received from the Ritz:

Sarasota, FL, June 15, 2009 – The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, located on the central west coast of Florida, will be offering Turtle Walks again this summer, giving visitors and residents the opportunity to learn about environmental issues and contribute to the knowledge of our oceans. For the sixth summer in a row, interested parties can accompany a Ritz-Carlton employee on a real sunrise Beach Patrol, in search of tracks indicating that a nesting sea turtle came ashore the previous night. Employees are Mote Marine Laboratory-trained and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission-permitted, allowing them to identify and mark nests, rescue turtles, dig nests and touch eggs.
Turtle nesting season along Florida beaches begins May 1 and ends October 31. Mote staff, volunteers and interns monitor 35 miles of beach each morning throughout nesting season, including Longboat Key (Sarasota and Manatee counties), Lido Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key and Venice Beach.

WHO/
WHAT: Locals and visitors alike are welcome to join the Turtle Patrol on a sunrise beach walk in search of tracks indicating that a nesting sea turtle came ashore the previous night. Children are very welcome, but must be accompanied by a parent at all times.
WHERE/
WHEN: Turtle Walks are complimentary and are conducted Saturday mornings from May through September. A shuttle is available for all interested resort guests departing from the hotel at 6:45 a.m. Non-resort guests are invited to meet at the North Lido Lifeguard Stand on Lido Key at 7 a.m. to join the walk. No reservations are required.
WHY: According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the beaches of Sarasota County have the highest density of loggerhead turtle nesting on the west coast of Florida. With sea turtle populations declining worldwide due to beach development, commercial fishing and other human-related causes, protecting sea turtles and their habitat is crucial to their survival. When a turtle crawl is discovered, the turtle volunteer will dig to verify that it is a nest (and not a false crawl), mark the location and report the information to Mote Marine Laboratory for further monitoring and data collection.
For more information on the Turtle Walks, please contact The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota at (941) 309-2160 or Mote Marine Laboratory at (941) 388-4441.