Florida Sea Turtles: Ancient, Mysterious & Endangered
With Jack Rudloe, Gulf Specimen Marine Lab
Social: 7:00 p.m.
NOTE – Jack will be selling and signing books during the social, or bring a book to have signed.
Program: 7:30 p.m.
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Please join the Apalachee Audubon Society on Thursday, November 19th, as we learn more from Jack Rudloe about Florida’s sea turtles. For over 50 years Jack Rudloe and his late wife, Dr. Anne Rudloe, the founders of Gulf Specimen Marine Lab (GSML), have promoted sea turtle conservation in the Florida Panhandle through publication of multiple books, widely distributed popular magazine articles and scientific peer review journals, as well as national and local television appearances and lectures. During this time, they became the area’s foremost experts on sea turtle conservation and habitat protection. Social with book signing begins at 7 pm & meeting at 7:30 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 2810 N. Meridian Rd., Tallahassee. Non-members are welcome. Directions and more information: www.apalachee.org .
Of some 250 species of turtles, few have attracted more human interest than the sea turtles that swim the world’s oceans. Sea turtles have been entwined with human affairs for thousands of years. Sea turtles bones have been found in middens left by people living almost 60,000 years ago and the first coins struck in Greece in the 8th century BCE were engraved with sea turtles which were sacred to Aphrodite.
In the modern world sea turtles have been driven to the brink of extinction by over-hunting. In recent years they have become the center of an extraordinary worldwide outpouring of human caring. Thousands of scientists and volunteers have devoted years and careers to saving these gentle giants and tens of thousands of well-wishers in hundreds of countries have contributed to groups working to save sea turtles. The five species of sea turtles found in Florida are: loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, leatherback, hawksbill, and green.
GSML’s sea turtle research and conservation program, began in 1964, is the third oldest in the United States. GSML was an early advocate of providing legal protection when sea turtles were still commercially harvested. After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act, GSML coordinated with state and federal agencies and became the regional sea turtle rehabilitation center. The lab holds a certificate for sea turtle rehabilitation and uses social media to keep the public aware and involved in stewardship and restoration efforts. Their son, Cypress, has joined the family mission as well, giving lectures on local ecology and managing the SeaMobile project.
GSML staff work tirelessly to promote coastal conservation and awareness of human impact on fragile ecosystems. The nationally recognized, non-profit center provides members of the public with a hands-on experience in learning about the wetlands and coastline of North Florida, from touch tanks – where visitors can touch living specimens and learn about their role in the local ecosystem – to long field trips trekking through swamps. More than 15,000 people pass through the center’s doors each year and the SeaMobile mobile unit has reached over 175,000 people so far. For more information, please see www.gulfspecimen.org.