Sea Turtle Grant Program Awards $305,000 to Support Florida Research, Conservation and Education

Contact: Lexie Beach
352-373-6441 or lexie@conserveturtles.org
March 2015

The Sea Turtle Grants Program (STGP), funded by the sale of Florida’s Helping Sea Turtles Survive specialty license plate, recently awarded $296,838 to 26 different projects benefiting Florida sea turtles as part of the 2015-2016 grant funding cycle.

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 their approved projects for the 2015-2016 cycle:

Marineland Dolphin Adventure: Protect Sea Turtles card and key tags
Gulf Specimen Marine Lab: Improving the capacity to care for injured sea turtles
Inwater Research Group: Treasure Coast Sea Turtle Outreach Program for At-Risk Youth
Coastal Biology, Inc.: Presentation and night vision equipment for Turtle Walks
University of Central Florida: Research vessel for in-water assessment of juvenile sea turtles in the Indian River Lagoon
Friends of Agriculture Extension, Inc.: 5th grade Sea Turtle Curriculum
Volusia County Environmental Management: Sea turtle ambassador and educational outreach program
Inwater Research Group: Large Green Turtles of the Marquesas Keys and Surrounding Waters
Mote Marine Laboratory: Service plan for the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital’s laser
Sea Turtle Conservancy: Florida Sea Turtle Educational Materials Warehouse Project
Hidden Harbor Marine Environmental Project (The Turtle Hospital): Supplies and equipment to support the Turtle Hospital Educational Outreach Programs
Palm Beach County: Assessment of multiple sand sources used in beach nourishment
East Coast Zoological Society of Florida (Brevard Zoo): Brevard Zoo Sea Turtle Hospital
University of Central Florida: Migratory ecology and reproductive output of the green turtles (Chelonia mydas) nesting on the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge
Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife: Sea turtle endoscopy equipment
Sea Turtle Conservancy: Tour de Turtles 2015 Educational Program
Broward County: Public beach access sea turtle informational signs
City of Sanibel: Sea Turtle Lighting Campaign - "After 9, it's turtle time!"
University of Central Florida: Adult green turtles (Chelonia mydas) of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge
Florida Atlantic University: Mating system determination of imperiled marine turtles and an assessment of operational sex ratio
Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program: Expansion of sea turtle education programs at the Barrier Island Sanctuary Management and Education Center
Mote Marine Laboratory: Southwest Florida loggerhead rookeries as long-term collaborative tagging experiment
Gulf World Marine Institute: Large animal scale for stranded sea turtles
Sea Turtle Preservation Society: "Lights, Balloons, Boats, Fishing/The Message"
University of Florida (Whitney Laboratory): Outfitting a surgical and treatment suite for Whitney’s Sea Turtle Hospital
Gulf World Marine Institute: Konica CR Radiograph System Upgrade

The sea turtle plate is the number two overall selling specialty tag in Florida, and the number one environmental specialty 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.