It’s turtle nesting season.

Key Biscayne takes care of her babies through programs at Bill Baggs State Park and Citizen Scientist sponsored initiatives of the KB Community Foundation. Volunteers invest in a three hour class room and then hands-on field training to achieve certification before they can endeavor to go out and check on the nests.

A team was recently out on the beach during the heat of the late morning sun to monitor the nests with assistant park manager Lu Dodson, marine biologist and Ranger Elizabeth Golden, and Citizen Scientist volunteers Prudence Gill, Juan Cervera, Tracy Ellis and Manny Rionda.

“Today we excavated two nests,” said Rionda.

“One had approximately 180 eggs and roughly 110 of them hatched pretty good and got out on their own. We found one live in the nest and the protocol is to carefully remove (the baby turtle), place him in a bucket with wet sand and in the shade for observation.

“He was moving around well for about ten minutes and since it was before 9am we were authorized to put him down on the berm and he went on his way successfully to the ocean.”

The second nest did not fare as well. The volunteers reportedly had signs of a hatching about four or five days prior and what they discovered was that out of 135 eggs, only eight made it out; 127 were intact eggs.

“Upon further examination, the nest itself had been flooded,” said Rionda.

“It might have been too close to the water line and got flooded. We opened up one of the eggs as is important for data (collection) and the embryos had never developed. This is part of nature.”

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