Sea Turtle Grant Program Awards $300,000 to Support Florida Research, Conservation and Education

Contact: Rocio Johnson
352-373-6441 or rocio@conserveturtles.org
March 2012

The Sea Turtle Grants Program, funded by the sale of Florida's Helping Sea Turtles Survive specialty license plate, awarded $309,752 to 13 different organizations, scientists and local governments for sea turtle research, education and conservation programs benefiting Florida sea turtles.

Each year, the Sea Turtle Grants Program distributes money to coastal county governments, educational institutions and nonprofit groups through a competitive application process. The sea turtle specialty license plate is also the primary source of funding for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Marine Turtle Protection Program.

The following organizations received grants for the 2012-2013 cycle: Coastal Cleanup Corporation, The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, University of Georgia Research Foundation - Natural Resources, Mote Marine Laboratory, University of Central Florida, Sea Turtle Conservancy, Sea Turtle Preservation Society, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, University of Florida - Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research & Aquatic Pathobiology Laboratory, Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, Palm Beach County, Volusia County Environmental Management, East Coast Biologists, Inc.

The sea turtle plate is the number two selling specialty tag in Florida, having sold 66,696 plates in 2010, second only to the University of Florida plate. By purchasing the sea turtle specialty license plate, Floridians are voluntarily funding important programs to save endangered sea turtles and their habitats.

To learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants Program and the “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” specialty license plate, please visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.

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Background: The Helping Sea Turtles Survive specialty license plate was passed by the Florida legislature in 1997.The turtle specialty license plate costs $23.00 above the normal Florida license plate fee. Seventy percent of the proceeds support the Florida Marine Turtle Protection Program. The remaining thirty percent is routed through the nonprofit Sea Turtle Conservancy, which distributes the funding through the Sea Turtle Grants Program.

The Florida-based Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is the oldest sea turtle research and conservation organization in the world. STC was founded as a nonprofit group in 1959 by the late Dr. Archie Carr, a zoology professor and natural history author at the University of Florida. For more information about STC, visit www.conserveturtles.org.