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Posted on: August 9, 2023

Record Breaking Number of Sea Turtle Nests in Boca Raton

Sea turtle nesting on the beach

A record number of sea turtle nests have been laid on the beaches of Boca Raton this summer. The Sea Turtle Conservation Team from the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center recently marked the City’s 1,325 nest, breaking the record for the total number of nests on City beaches in one season. More nests are expected in the next two months as nesting season runs March 1 through October 31.   

News of the record-breaking number of nests this season reflects the City’s goal of creating a vibrant and sustainable community. Boca Raton has long championed conservation of the natural environment, with policies, initiatives, and outreach efforts that support plant, wildlife, and marine life on the barrier island and mainland. Opportunities for community involvement are also an integral part of the City’s mission. 

“The record-breaking nesting numbers seen all over the Palm Beaches this summer are a testament to over 50 years of sea turtle conservation efforts in our community,” said Gumbo Limbo Nature Center Manager Leanne Welch. “Sea turtle conservation in Boca Raton is an “all hands” effort encompassing employees and volunteers from multiple departments around the city. In fact, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center exists because of the efforts of a group of concerned residents dedicated to protecting our coastline from development.”

Leatherback, Loggerhead and Green sea turtles lay eggs on Boca Raton beaches every year. Each morning during nesting season, the Sea Turtle Conservation Team surveys Boca Raton’s five miles of beaches for any new sea turtle activity from the night before. New nests are recorded with GPS and marked off with stakes and signage to keep the area protected and the eggs safe during the incubation period. 

David Anderson, the City’s Sea Turtle Conservation Coordinator, manages the Team. “I can’t say enough about the hard work of our Sea Turtle Conservation Team, who spend countless hours on the beach each morning documenting the nests, nesting female crawls, hatched nests, and have also released over 5,000 hatchlings so far this season. The increase in nest numbers gives us hope for the future of these amazing animals, and it is important that we continue protecting every nest and every hatchling moving forward.”

The Sea Turtle Conservation Team has monitored, recorded, and studied sea turtle nesting activity in the City since 1977. The team works to ensure the protection of the coastal environment, providing guidance to the City on issues such as coastal construction, nighttime lighting, beach renourishment, mechanical beach raking, shorebirds and dune vegetation. 

Public programming – including Gumbo Limbo Nature Center’s popular Sea Turtle Hatchling Releases and Turtle Walks – allow the public to learn more about the endangered animals and see them in their natural surroundings. The Team also advises the public on what to do if they come across a nest or a sea turtle in need of assistance. Important reminders include:

  • See a marked nest on the beach? Be mindful around the marked areas on the beach which identify a sea turtle nest, and never disturb nesting turtles, nests, or hatchlings.
  • Find a hatchling? If it is daytime, place them in a container with damp sand (not water) on the bottom. Bring them to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and place them in the cooler labeled “Hatchling Drop-off” located outside the front door. The drop-off box is checked by staff frequently. If it is nighttime, allow the hatchlings to crawl to the ocean on their own. If it is injured, follow the same steps, and bring them to the “Hatchling Drop-off”. 
  • See a sick or injured turtle? Contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Wildlife Hotline at: 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or dial *FWC or #FWC on your mobile phone. 

Founded in 1984, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center serves the community as a destination to promote environmental education, conservation, and stewardship of our coastal ecosystems. Activities to be enjoyed at the center include walking along a trail through the mangroves, kayaking local waters, and visiting gopher tortoises, aquariums, a butterfly garden and exhibits. The City also organizes beach clean-ups, dune restoration, tree-give aways and other programs that foster community participation and awareness around sustainability. 

For more information on sea turtle nesting and Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, visit:

For mor information on the City’s commitment to Sustainability, visit:

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For Immediate Release
Ileana Olmsted, Public Relations Specialist | p:561-393-7788

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