On Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, members of the Longboat Key Turtle Watch (LBKTW) donated more than $9,770 to help advance Mote Marine Laboratory’s education and sea turtle programs.  This year the funds for Mote will be distributed among the Lab’s Hatchling Hospital, Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital, Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program and Education Department. This is the eighth year that LBKTW has donated to Mote and largest sum of annual donations that LBKTW has donated to Mote programs.

“The volunteer members of Longboat Key Turtle Watch are proud to be able to provide continued financial support to Mote Marine Laboratory,” said Tim Thurman, LBKTW President. “We look forward to another successful nesting season and helping Mote expand their educational outreach.”

The donation to Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program is in honor of Freda Perrotta, who is a longtime member of the nonprofit Longboat Key Turtle Watch. This year’s $2,530.85 donation will go toward numerous beach-monitoring supplies and educational tools following a near record-breaking sea turtle nesting season.

“This year was another incredible year for local sea turtle nests,” said Kristen Mazzarella, Mote senior biologist. “We are immensely grateful for Longboat Key Turtle Watch’s continued support, which will help us gear up for another successful season, especially following such an eventful year.”

The Sea Turtle Hatchling Hospital received $3,300 for a hatchling washback red tide analyses study, upgrades to the sea turtle exhibit, hatchling care and medical supplies, as the hospital receives over 1,200 patients on average per season that need a range of care. Hatchlings that need long-term care may require treatments that include X-rays, antibiotics, steroids, fluid injections or wound care.

“Only one out of 1,000 hatchlings will reach maturity, and our hatchling hospital helps to return as many of these endangered sea turtle hatchlings back into the ocean as possible,” said Amber Shaw, Aquarium Biologist II at Mote. “With a nearly record breaking number of nests this year we also had an increased number of hatchlings needing care. This season we had over 4,000 hatchlings pass through our doors, so this donation from Longboat Key Turtle Watch came at the perfect time and we are extremely grateful.”

The Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital for sub-adult and adult turtles also received $1,440.00 for a 12-month supply of free and total chlorine to ensure proper water quality for the injured and diseased sea turtles admitted.

“Mote’s primary goal is to ensure that turtles that enter our facility receive the most humane and effective care as possible. However, the care and recovery of impaired sea turtles can cost a great deal,” shared Lynne Byrd Rehabilitation and Medical Care Coordinator. “With Longboat Key Turtle Watch’s support we are able to provide one of the most fundamental needs of recovery, clean water.”

Mote’s Education Department received a donation of $2,000 to provide transportation and field trip costs for under-served students to visit Mote Aquarium and to partake in Mote programming. An additional $500 donation for the Orville Clayton Mote Summer Camp Scholarship was also provided, which allows students to attend Mote summer camps. This scholarship honors Clayton, who co-founded Longboat Key Turtle Watch in 1969 and passed away at age 99 on Sept. 4, 2014. Through these programs, Mote’s mission is to increase science and ocean literacy to inspire global marine and environmental stewardship through informed personal choices.

“We are grateful to receive this donation, which will allow us to reach children who may not otherwise have the chance to experience an informal science education center like Mote Aquarium and learn the importance of our marine environment,” said Brad Tanner, Senior School Programs Coordinator at Mote.

Longboat Key Turtle Watch members monitor sea turtle nesting activity along the northern portion of Longboat Key, under a Marine Turtle Permit held by Mote Marine Laboratory, and they conduct education and outreach. Mote monitors the remaining stretch of nesting beaches from southern Longboat Key through Venice throughout sea turtle nesting season, May 1-Oct. 31.