ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- St. Johns County is looking for volunteers for its Sea Turtle Washback Program.
Washback happens when juvenile sea turtles are washed back onto the beach. In some instances they are entangled in seaweed. Washback typically happens following a storm.
When sea turtles are washed back, they are usually exhausted and in need of medical attention. Volunteers survey the wrack lines for any washback sea turtles. The sea turtles are then taken to a rehabilitation facility.
The washback season runs from July 1 through November 31. The volunteers are needed on an on call basis since wrack lines can form at any time. Volunteers will be contacted when there is a wrack line formed. The volunteers would then complete a survey during their scheduled time.
In order to participate in the Sea Turtle Washback Program, interested people must complete an application, pass a background check and possess a valid Florida driver's license.
Volunteers will have to attend a general information meeting and complete a mandatory training. The meeting will provide information about sea turtles and why there is a need for the volunteer program. The training will help explain the role of the volunteer, the assigned zone, let volunteers know who their Zone Captain is and train the volunteers in how to safely and properly handle and transport washback sea turtles.
Interested volunteers will need to register online. Children under 18 can participate in the volunteer program if they are accompanied by an adult. Minors will still need to complete all the steps as an adult volunteer, except for the driver's license part.
General information meetings are being offered at the following dates and times:
- July 14, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m., Anastasia Island Library, 124 Sea Grove, Main Street, St. Augustine Beach.
- August 4, 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., Anastasia Island Library, 124 Sea Grove Main Street, St. Augustine Beach.
- August 9, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m., County Annex Building, 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine.
Upon completing the general information meeting, volunteers will then be able to register for the training.
For additional information on volunteering with the Sea Turtle Washback Program, call Sonia Colyer at 904-209-0752.
First Coast News