It's sea turtle nesting season along the Gulf Coast. It's a time where sea turtles bury their eggs in the sand along local beaches.
During the nesting season, hundreds of Share the Beach volunteers wake up and walk the beach before sunrise in efforts to locate sea turtle nests.
Tracks in the sand help volunteers locate areas where the eggs are nested.
Once a nest is found, volunteers work together to build a barrier around it to protect the eggs until they hatch later on in the year.
Often times, volunteers even go the extra mile by relocating the nests if they are too close to the shore.
Lead volunteer, Lisa Graham, said, "The mama turtle came in too close to the water, probably because of the lights on the beach. That is a distraction for the mama turtles. She laid her nest and look, we've got an unusual double egg here. We don't see that too often. This is a very interesting morning. So we are gently picking these eggs straight up out of the nest. As you can see, placing them in her hand. She's putting them straight down. We don't want to jostle them or take any chance on killing the embryo. So it's a very delicate process."
There are plenty of things that can disrupt the nesting season, such as bright lights and debris on the beach.
Volunteers are encouraging anyone who visits the beach to steer clear of the protected nests, leave only footprints after your visit, share the beach with the sea critters.
Any disturbing or harassing of a sea turtle or a sea turtle nest on the beach is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act and could lead to a $100,000 fine and or a year in jail.
The nesting season starts in May and ends in October.
From 2003 to 2017, more than an estimated 50,000+ hatch lings have safely entered the Gulf of Mexico from Alabama's beaches.
For more information about sea turtles and Share the Beach, visit www.ShareTheBeach.com or call 866-732-8878.
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