Grant: 05-017E
Project Title: NESTS (Neighbors Ensuring Sea Turtle Survival)
Project Manager: Daniel Evans
Organization: Caribbean Conservation Corporation (Non-Profit Organization)
Grant Amount: $18,500.00
Completion Date: 2006-05-30

Summary: This project will expand the successful NESTS program to cultivate individual acts of stewardship that will help conserve Florida sea turtle coastal habitats in select regions of the state. Developed in 2004 in cooperation with the Ocean Conservancy, Disney Animal Kingdom and others, the NESTS program was initiated as a pilot project focused on the community adjacent to the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. NESTS will provide opportunities for local citizens to become directly involved in the stewardship of the beach and dune ecosystem and the wildlife that depends upon a healthy coastal environment. Stewardship will be fostered through teaching coastal residents about the importance of protecting the coastal environment and encouraging the completion of simple activities to reduce negative impacts to sea turtle nesting beaches and other coastal habitats. The program will promote increased stewardship on the part of individuals and families living on or near the Florida coast.

Results: The expanded NESTS Program has been very successful. The mailing of the Introduction Letter, NESTS Brochure and registration card to the new regions, Sarasota & Manatee Counties and Palm Beach County, and to the expanded areas of previously included regions, all of Brevard & Indian River Counties, was conducted in early 2006. Nearly 8,000 coastal addresses were included in the mailing. With so many local groups taking part in the program, and without the full support of the program from other grants, it was unrealistic to print separate NESTS Brochures for each region. Instead a single brochure with general information about the NESTS Program, sea turtles and coastal habitats was developed from the original NESTS Brochure and printed. The new brochure included the logos of all the participating groups, counties and agencies. From the mailing, there were several thousand were returned. Nearly 200 people have registered in the program. While this response was in line with previous mailings, it was lower than we hoped, possibly due to the hurricanes at the end of 2005. Several groups in non-target regions have requested NESTS materials and shown strong interest in promoting the program in their regions, such as Volusia/Flagler Counties, St. Johns County and Pinellas County. These areas have strong support and enthusiasm for the program from the local sea turtle groups, whereas many of the current local groups support the program, but did little to actually promote it in their areas. Website: (Author: Daniel Evans)