The Best Of: Turtle season is here

There are very few animals that are as beloved here in Florida as our sea turtle. They’re fascinating creatures and we go to great lengths to ensure they have successful nesting seasons every summer. If you’re enthusiastically anticipating their arrival on our beaches, set the mood with a talk by author Mary Alice Monroe at Rookery Bay’s Environmental Learning Center April 8.

The New York Times bestselling author will be discussing her new kids’ picture book Turtle Summer, which tells the story of a mother and daughter tending nests along the country’s southeastern coast. This new publication is a companion to Monroe’s novel Swimming Lessons. Her other novels include Skyward, The Beach House and Sweetgrass.

Here are a few more tidbits to pique your interest:

Monroe started writing when she was confined to bedrest during the final months of pregnancy. She has won the ASPCA Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award. She is very involved in many environmental activist groups such as the South Carolina Center for Birds of Prey and The Island Turtle Team. She is also on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium.

It’s also worth remembering that sea turtle season starts May 1, so enjoy running your nighttime waterside dining while you can. Once this month ends, it’s lights out on the beach until Oct. 31. Beachside condo owners are also responsible for minimizing the light pollution that disorients the turtles and results in baby turtles heading for the false light away from the water. Here are some guidelines, courtesy of Collier County, for those of you who are required to be concerned.

Outside lights that can not be turned off for safety reasons can be temporarily shielded with foil or painted with black heat resistant oven paint on the beach-facing side.

Lights that are able to be turned off she be off by 9 p.m.

Low wattage yellow lights (preferably low pressure sodium vapor lights) are less attractive to the turtles and are good replacements for white lights. (25 watt bug type)

Closed blinds and curtains can shield bright interior lights that would normally shine on the beach.

Shadow tests your lights! If you can see your shadow while standing on the beach at night, the light is too bright.

Inform your property manager if you notice lights that are too bright.

Happy turtle season!

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