These incredibles Sea Turtles are returning to the Island after leaving the Island as hatchlings almost 25 years ago. If you would like to adopt a nest, the cost is $25.00 and you will be able to follow your nest with updates from from Andrea Siebold(see below). Hilton Head Properties this year will adopt a nest for every new buyer that works with us this year! Click here to adopt your own nest. To start shopping for your very own nest on the Island click Hilton Head Properties!


“Take care of our world.”

~ Miss Andrea Siebold

September 2020

This is the note you recieve when your adopted nest hatches!

Your sea turtle nest has hatched!!!   

Here is how we know the details:  exactly three days after the Sea Turtle Patrol notes that a nest has hatched (remember the prints of baby sea turtles leaving the nest?),

they dig up the nest using their gloved hands, and removed every remaining egg and piece of eggshells, put them in piles and count them up.

The numbers are entered into the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources database for analysis and education.  This data collection has been going on for many years, so the research is revealing more every day about how the sea turtle population is doing.  Great hope for the future!

Once in a while, the patrol finds a hatchling or two that did not leave the nest with the others, and needs a little help getting to the ocean.   They will pick him up (only the registered patrol members are allowed to touch a sea turtle) and place him near the oceans edge.  He needs to enter the water on his own so that his internal GPS can kick in and guide him out to sea.  Our Man on the Beach took the picture below of a hatchling found in the bottom of a nest this month – he is safely on his way now….

Amazingly, your nest had no live babies left behind, that means all 100 of your babies crawled out of the nest and are now swimming out to the Gulf Stream and joining the other sea turtles of all ages which are there.

Research has shown that the females will come back to nest in the same magnetic area of their birth.  This means that after travelling all around the world, they will come back to Hilton Head Island – just like the rest of us do.  What a joy!

So glad that you adopted this nest!

Terri

Terri Johnson

Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Coordinator

Coastal Discovery Museum

803-389-8458

turtles@coastaldiscovery.ort

www.coastaldiscovery.org


“Take care of our world.”

~ Miss Andrea Siebold

August 12, 2020

Dear Nest Adopters,

In August, the Hilton Head Island beach is a busy place:  During the day, tourists and locals fill the sand and water with fun, noise and laughter.  But in the night, although most of the mother sea turtles have finished coming ashore to nest, a lot of hatchlings are leaving the nest racing to the ocean!  Everyone on the island is working hard to educate our beach goers with simple instructions:  leave the beach at the end of the day as you found it!  Fill in the holes, flatten the sand castles and pick up the trash.  This is sea turtle territory!!🐢🐢🐢

Our “Man On The Beach” (MOTB) has been up early in the morning checking on the nests near our house!  It’s Hatching Season!!

A person that is standing in the grass

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Hatching is the always a big question.  No one really knows when a nest will hatch (like waiting for a pot to boil or lightening to strike!!) – it can be any time between 45 and 65 days after it was laid.  But we do know that hatchlings prefer to come out in the night – it is cooler, quieter and safer for them.

Here is how it happens:  more than 100 eggs have been developing under the sand for almost two months.  Gradually, the hatchlings start to break out of their shells – still under the sand.  You can tell that this is happening when you see a depression in the sand that looks like a bowling ball was dropped on it – like this:

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The hatchlings don’t just come out one at a time…..they wait until a whole bunch of them are ready to make a run for it – and lots exit the nest at the same time.  This is called a “boil”.  In the Coastal Discovery Museum, there is a model of what a nest looks like under the ground during the hatching.   Stop in and see it:

Then they make a run for the nearest light – which is supposed to be the ocean.  (If people have on lights in their beach front houses, the hatchlings will go that way and never make it to the ocean….very sad!)  

If everything goes right, our Man On The Beach will see tracks coming out of the nest like these,  all going the same direction straight for the ocean!

Image result for loggerhead hatchling tracks

After a couple days allowing the nest to “boil out” the Sea Turtle Patrol will “inventory the nest”, counting hatched egg shells and checking to see if any babies where left behind.  One recent morning last week MOTB got to see the Turtle Patrol scoop some of the babies that didn’t quite make it out of an inventoried nest and release them closer to the lapping waves.  You can see a good bit of the video he took at the attached link!  Remember, only certified members of the Sea Turtle Patrol can handle these babies! 

If you happen to see a nest hatching, you are very lucky – but PLEASE keep a distance away, do not take any pictures, and use only a red turtle safe flashlight – pointed AWAY from the hatchling.  We want to protect every one of those babies!

More later, we are getting closer to those results!!!

Terri

Terri Johnson

Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Coordinator

Coastal Discovery Museum

803-389-8458

turtles@coastaldiscovery.ort


www.coastaldiscovery.org

July 24, 2020

Dear Sea Turtle Adopters,

It’s July on the Island and despite Covid 19, we’ve tourists galore!  We are also experiencing lots of hatchings of our beloved sea turtles!  We are halfway through nesting season already!!

I’d like to introduce you to our “Man On The Beach”, my husband, Steve.  He is out on the beach at sunrise most every morning and has some wonderful interaction with both the Sea Turtle Patrol (those folks permitted by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to both monitor and protect our precious mommas and nests) and the opportunity to photograph his adventures for us to enjoy!

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A sunset over a beach

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We currently are experiencing “boils”.  That is the term used when a sea turtle nest hatches.  When the babies scramble out of the hole the momma dug some 45 to 65 days ago, it looks like a pot “boiling”. At that time, you see little baby turtle tracks leading EVERYWHERE out of the nest.  Some take the most circuitous route to the open ocean. This little baby was found making his way 2/10th of a mile away from where his nest hatched, working his way to the ocean!

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The Sea Turtle Patrol monitors these “boils” and reports to the DNR where eventually that information will make it to YOU, the Nest Adopters, via an email from me!  Sometime in the next month or so.  I can’t wait and I bet you can’t either!

More in the coming weeks!

In the meantime, in the wonderful words of our Miss Andrea:

~ Take care of our world.

Continue to be safe.

Best,

Terri

Terri Johnson

Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Coordinator

Coastal Discovery Museum

803-389-8458

turtles@coastaldiscovery.ort

www.coastaldiscovery.org

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July 4, 2020

Dear Sea Turtle Friends,

We have passed the 200 mark for sea turtle nests on Hilton Head Island.  It is tuning out to be a very good season!  To give you an idea of the average:  by the Fourth of July last year, we had 364 nests (our record high year), and in 2018, we had 118 nests by this date.  So we are about average this year – pretty good.

Many of you are asking about tracks on the beach that look like this:

These are false crawls.  It means that the mother sea turtle dragged herself ashore and decided to skip the nesting.  Sometimes she runs into “stuff” on the beach (although the Hilton Head Island Turtle Trackers do a great job of making sure the beach is clear for turtles).  Sometimes, she hits an eroded sand cliff that is too high for her to climb,

and sometimes she just changes her mind….a girl is allowed to do that, isn’t she??!!

We have had 97 false crawls so far this season – that is 33% of the total tracks spotted.  That is actually lower than usual:  last year 40% of the tracks were false crawls.

On a personal note, after 12 seasons of running the Coastal Discovery Museum Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Program as a volunteer, I am stepping away from the leadership responsibility. It is my pleasure to introduce you all to Terri Johnson.  She is a high energy lady who loves sea turtles and the museum, and will be taking over for me with the next email update. She is so excited about this new opportunity to get to know you all and to share with you the news and joys of the sea turtles of Hilton Head Island.  I will not be far away – I live just down the street from Terri, available for giving advice and support, but happily retired!  You all have my email address, so please keep in touch!

All the best,

Andrea

Andrea B. Siebold

Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Coordinator

Coastal Discovery Museum

843-415-2211

andreabsiebold@gmail.com

www.coastaldiscovery.org


June 24, 2020

Dear Sea Turtle Friends,

A fisherman fishing from the shore on the north end of Hilton Head Island caught more than he planned this week – he hooked a Kemps Ridley sea turtle!  Luckily, the hook was removed and the beautiful creature was released.  Here is the link to the Island Packet article about the exciting catch: 

Kemps Ridley are not only the smallest of the sea turtle family, but they are the most endangered of all.  They do not generally nest on our island, however last season, we had one nest and hatch here.  Very unusual!

There are seven different species of sea turtles:

The Coastal Discovery Museum classroom has these life-size models of the six endangered sea turtles – be sure to visit when you are on the island!

The largest is the Leatherback which often swims in our waters in April and May, but very rarely nest here (they like the hotter weather further south). 

The ones that generally frequent the Hilton Head beaches are the loggerheads. These turtles weigh about 300+ pounds (wow!), have a very large head and heavy strong, jaws – which is perfect for them because they mainly eat crustaceans like horseshoe crabs    and whelks  . 

Loggerhead Turtle

Loggerheads are our girls, and we think they are beautiful – don’t you?

Sea turtles are ancient animals – they have been around for millions of years…some estimate 110 million years!!!  (Yikes – that means that they were here with the dinosaurs!)  Now it is our job to educate the public so that sea turtles can survive for another 110 million years….thank you for helping!

Andrea

Andrea B. Siebold

Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Coordinator

Coastal Discovery Museum

843-415-2211

andreabsiebold@gmail.com

www.coastaldiscovery.org


June 16, 2020

Dear Nest Adopters and Sea Turtle Friends,

What better creature to celebrate than the sea turtle – our favorite!!!  World Sea Turtle Day is celebrated every year on June 16th, the birthday of Dr. Archie Carr, the “father of sea turtle biology”.  Dr. Carr spent his entire career on sea turtle research and conservation, long before the field of conservation biology was recognized. 

World Sea Turtle Day

Again this year, we are turning to the folks at the World Wildlife Fund for their list of

        Ten Things you might not have known about Sea Turtles

        (thanks to WWF for sharing this list as directly quoted below)

1.  Turtles don’t have teeth. Instead, their upper and lower jaws have sheaths made of keratin (the same stuff your fingernails are made of) that fit onto the skull like a pair of false teeth.

2.  Turtle shells are made of over 50 bones fused together – so they’re literally wearing their bones on the outside. 

3.The first few years of a marine turtle’s life are often referred to as the ‘lost years’. That’s because the time between when the hatchlings emerge until they return to coastal shallow waters to forage is incredibly difficult to study. The lost years they spend at sea – which can be up to 20 years – largely remain a mystery to humans….(hoping that future marine biologists out there will figure this out!)

4. Sea turtle species vary greatly in size. The smallest is the Kemp’s Ridley, while the Leatherbacks can weigh more than 1000 pounds!  (We have had both nest – one time each – on Hilton Head Island.)

5. It’s estimated that as few as 1 in 1,000 sea turtle eggs will survive to adulthood. Litter on the beach makes those odds even worse!!

6. Female leatherbacks make some interesting noises when they are nesting – some of which sound similar to a human belch!

7. Turtles seem to prefer red, orange and yellow colored food. They appear to investigate these colors more than others when looking for a meal. (who knew?!)

8. Sea turtles can migrate long distances – the known record is a female that swam nearly 13,000 miles over 647 days from Indonesia to the west coast of the United States! 

9. Female sea turtles often return to nest on the same beach from which they hatched. Sea turtles’ amazing ability to navigate comes from their sensitivity to the Earth’s magnetic fields.

10. Even with all these amazing features and adaptations, sea turtles are threatened with extinction.  One major threat to sea turtles is plastic pollution. It is estimated that at leastone sea turtle out of two has ingested plastic often mistaking it for food such as jellyfish.  Luckily, Hilton Head Island has greatly limited, by ordinance, the use of single-use plastic bags, and many Hilton Head restaurants have stopped offering plastic straws. 

We can all do something – spread the word – let’s make EVERY day World Sea Turtle Day!

Andrea

Andrea B. Siebold

Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Coordinator

Coastal Discovery Museum

843-415-2211

andreabsiebold@gmail.com

www.coastaldiscovery.org


June 6, 2020

Dear Sea Turtle Friends,

Our mother sea turtles are going crazy this week – we have had 21 new nests just during the first 6 days of June!

The total number of nests on Hilton Head Island is 78, as of today.  Seems like a big number, until it is compared to past years:   

            2020:  78 nests by June 6th

            2019:  162 nests by June 6th (our record high year!)

            2018:  41 nests by June 6th (our record low year)

            2017:  100 nests by June 6th

            2016:  115 nests by June 6th

It is not going to be a record year this year but bigger than we expected after the huge number last year.  Since mother sea turtles nest only every 2-3 years, all of last year’s mothers are resting up this summer!

Generally, mother sea turtles know where it is safe to nest.  As they crawl ashore, they use their chins to find dry sand to lay their eggs.  But sometimes they need a little help (don’t we all!!) …..like the mother who laid this nest right at the high tide line:

The sea turtle patrol (the only people permitted by law to touch the nests) will very carefully dig up the nest, one egg at a time, and move it to safer ground – see the nest back there behind the original body pit?

It has been determined that a relocated nest has a better chance of success than one that is not moved – amazing, isn’t it?!   So far this season, over 60% of the Hilton Head Island nests have been relocated to safer ground.

So, there are thousands of hatchlings developing under the ground right now.  Those growing babies aren’t wearing face masks like we are, but they are protected by the warm, dry sand, and by all of us beach goers who keep the beach safe for them! 

More later –

Andrea

Andrea B. Siebold

Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Coordinator

Coastal Discovery Museum

843-415-2211

andreabsiebold@gmail.com

www.coastaldiscovery.org


May 23, 2020

From: Andrea Siebold <andreabsiebold@gmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, May 23, 2020 7:24:35 AM
To: Andrea Siebold <andreabsiebold@gmail.com>
Subject: Happy World Turtle Day!!!

Dear Turtle Fans,

May 23rd is celebrated around the world as World Turtle Day.  (Generally I only celebrate World SEA Turtle Day, which is June 16….but I just had the opportunity to be with the giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands.  So not to leave them out, we will recognize this day as well!!)

World Turtle Day was founded in 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue – with the purpose of educating people about the things they can do to help protect the habitats of turtles and tortoises.  It is also a chance to celebrate the joy that these huge ancient creatures bring to so many!

On Hilton Head Island, we all can help the endangered turtles that nest on our beach:

  • Lights out on the beach after 10:00 pm.  Mother sea turtles and hatchlings are distracted by lights on the beach during nesting or hatching.
  • Fill in holes and knock down sandcastles after your time on the beach.  They are obstacles for nesting turtles or emerging hatchlings.
  • Use reusable water bottles and shopping bags.  Floating plastic looks like food to sea turtles.
  • Hold onto balloons.  Released balloons can end up in the ocean where sea turtles will think they are food and eat them.
  • Leave nesting turtles, nests and hatchlings undisturbed.
  • Remove your trash and beach equipment before dark so the beach is clear for the turtles and hatchlings.

We can all make a difference!!!  To all the turtles and tortoises of the world – we salute you!

Andrea

Andrea B. Siebold

Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Coordinator

Coastal Discovery Museum

843-415-2211

andreabsiebold@gmail.com

www.coastaldiscovery.org


May 3, 2020

From: Andrea Siebold <andreabsiebold@gmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, May 3, 2020 2:10:40 PM
Subject: First Sea Turtle Nest on Hilton Head Island!!!

Dear Sea Turtle Nest Adopters,

May 3rd:  Today is the day that the first sea turtle nest of the season was found on Hilton Head Island!!  In the middle of the night, a mother sea turtle dragged herself out of the ocean, on to the sand and crawled to a beautiful, scenic spot waaaay above the high tide line.  We did not see the mother turtle (long gone by daylight) but we did see her unmistakable tracks in the sand leading into the dunes:

Once she got there, she busily dug a deep hole with her back flippers (not too easy to do!) and laid her eggs (usually about 120 of them) into the hole.  After that, she covered up all of the eggs, filled in the hole, so that her eggs would be safe from harm for the next 60 or so days until they are ready to hatch.  Then, exhausted, she dragged her tired body back into the ocean – never to visit her nest or see her babies again!  Wow!  What a lot of work for that poor mother!  If you look carefully, you can see her tracks to and from her nest:


Also notice the nice empty beach, perfect for peaceful sea turtle nesting! 

The Sea Turtle Patrol has now marked the nest with three poles and an orange label to remind us all that  this is the nest of an endangered species – they are not to be touched or disturbed.      

So we are off to a great and early start…. Hoping this is the beginning of a successful season of sea turtle nests!

Be safe, and thank you so much for your interest – we’ll keep you posted!

Andrea

Andrea B. Siebold

Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Coordinator

Coastal Discovery Museum

843-415-2211

andreabsiebold@gmail.com

www.coastaldiscovery.org


March 25, 2020

At this time of confinement, it may be somewhat comforting to know that nature continues its routine – including the sea turtles of Hilton Head Island.  Although we are not able to welcome any human visitors to our island right now, we can still put out the welcome mat for the nesting sea turtles!  They are swimming out in the ocean right now, waiting for the perfect moment to come to nest.  It is still a little chilly for them in South Carolina; although the first loggerhead has already nested in Florida on March 20, it will be another week or two for us.  Stay tuned!

In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, I have attached Loggerheadlines (click here)– a publication of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Turtle Conservation Program.  These are the people that guide and oversee all that we do to preserve and protect the sea turtles. 

Be safe-

All the best,

Andrea

Andrea B. Siebold

Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Coordinator

Coastal Discovery Museum

843-415-2211

andreabsiebold@gmail.com

www.coastaldiscovery.org


From: Andrea Siebold <andreabsiebold@gmail.com>
Date: April 6, 2020 at 9:49:43 AM CDT
Subject: Hilton Head Island Sea Turtle Nest Adoption

Hilton Head Island Sea Turtle Nest Update for the 2020. It is very exciting to watch the progress of these amazing endangered species on Hilton Head Island – from nesting to hatching.  We hope that you enjoy the experience of being an adoptive “parent” to babies like this:

Baby Sea Turtle

Loggerhead sea turtle mothers come ashore on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, from May to August every year to dig their nests and lay their eggs.  We are now awaiting their return to start the process all over again in a few months.    

Sea Turtle Mom

If you adopt a nest or are a new adoptive “parent” we will keep you updated by email on the progress of your adopted nest and the Hilton Head Island Sea Turtles in general throughout the season.

Nest adoptions help provide the Coastal Discovery Museum with funds to educate area students, residents and visitors, as well as interested people from around the world, on the precious sea turtles of Hilton Head Island.  Welcome to the 2020 sea turtle season – more details to follow shortly!

Sincerely,

Andrea

Andrea B. Siebold

Sea Turtle Nest Adoption Coordinator

Coastal Discovery Museum

843-415-2211

andreabsiebold@gmail.com

www.coastaldiscovery.org