Volunteer Beverly Ann Shipe holds a baby turtle before releasing it into the Gulf at Tigertail Beach. Marco Island is having a banner year for hatching out sea turtle nests. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent
Marco Island is prime nesting habitat for sea turtles, including the loggerhead sea turtle caretta caretta, so big they had to name it twice. These gentle giants are protected under the Endangered Species Act. For decades, Mary Nelson has worked to improve the odds for turtle hatchlings on Marco, giving them the chance to at least start their ocean journey.