Our beaches were busy this morning with crews of turtle patrol volunteers, representatives from NOAA, The Interior Department, National Fish and Wildlife, Florida Fish and Wildlife, news crews from CNN and the AP, FED EX PR guys and curious onlookers. The assembled were all there to either participate in or just watch loggerhead turtle eggs being removed from nests and carefully placed into styrofoam containers to prepare them for travelling via special climate controlled FED EX Custom Critical delivery vans to an incubator at Cape Canaveral on the east coast of Florida.
Onlookers and Turtle Patrol Volunteers watched as eggs were removed from the nest located on the southern end of Cape San Blas across from Scallop Cove. They were huddled around the nest to try and keep as much sunlight out of it as possible to help shield the eggs. The area was roped off to keep too many people from crowding the nest. Today’s rescue was originally planned as an afternoon or early evening training session for the volunteers, but they received word late yesterday that FED EX had planned to make it a media event to promote their Custom Critical units, and everything was switched to early morning.
I handed my camera to my friend Willa who is a Turtle Patrol volunteer and she took this photo of eggs in the nest being removed by Jessica McKenzie, the Turtle Patrol Coordinator.
The eggs were then carefully placed into two styrofoam coolers with sand to protect them during their travels. The coolers had to be held throughout the process to prevent their being jostled and disturbing the fragile contents. 107 loggerhead turtle eggs were rescued from the nest this morning. This was part of a carefully coordinated rescue mission to rescue eggs from all along the Panhandle coast.
I saw crews from CNN and AP and possibly some other outlets. I just had a call from a friend who said CNN ran the story around mid-day today but I haven’t had a chance to see it. USA Today featured the story on page 4A today in an edition that had to have gone to press before the event took place, and NPR has posted the AP story on their website.
The FED EX driver noted the irony of his needing to refuel at the BP station on the Cape before he could leave as the next nearest gas station is over 17 miles away.