Sea Turtle Nesting Season in North Myrtle Beach
North Myrtle Beach residents who love sea turtles are in for a treat in the next month or so as sea turtle nesting season begins but the visits also require some responsibility on our part which is why there is a trained volunteer group that will be patrolling area beaches to watch out for these huge animals to render assistance if needed and to mark nesting sites.
Many who frequent the busy Grand Strand beaches are amazed that the large sea creatures would nest in such busy areas but we have personally seen them nest right in between two beach chairs in front of an enormous oceanfront condo. This is why it is so important to have a group like the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol to observe and record the nest locations so that they are not disturbed. The group, which found 18 sea turtle nests in 2011, doesn’t have any problem finding volunteers and as a matter of fact they have now had to limit the number of volunteers to 84 because it seems that everyone wants to be involved.
Being a volunteer with the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol isn’t all fun and games, those who volunteer to be part of the patrol are expected to chip in and get their hands dirty picking up trash from the beach as they walk their designated two mile section of beach each morning. Even though many may not consider this directly helpful to the sea turtles it really is, eliminating the trash from the beach also protects the turtles from possibly eating or becoming wrapped up in something than can harm them.
The volunteers also work hand in hand with the North Myrtle Beach sanitation department who getting on the beach at 4am usually discover the nests before anyone else. The turtles nest at night usually in the later hours to early morning before dawn and leave the area looking as if a bulldozer has been there from the tracks of their flippers. The sanitation department will call the volunteer organization if they see anything and usually these calls happen before 5am.
The North Myrtle Beach community is also proud of the group and stands with them as a whole helping with fund raisers, outreach and support to enable the organization to continue its much needed service in helping these protected and endangered animals. There have been many influential residents of North Myrtle Beach who have served as volunteers including the Mayor and some of the city councilmen, the group has even had celebrities join in!
You can find the volunteer group at almost every North Myrtle Beach event or festival educating the general public about sea turtles and what the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol does. They also have a hands-on exhibit at the North Myrtle Beach Historical Museum that is extremely popular with children.
Keep an eye out if you are out walking the beaches at night or early mornings and you just might see a fresh sea turtle nest yourself. Also, remember that towards the end of summer and early fall we will be experiencing the hatching season which also will require volunteers to help protect the hatchlings as they make their way from the nests on the beaches to the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.