During the last weekend of January (and the Lunar New Year!), SoCal Sea Turtles came out to the San Diego Boat Show at the Sunroad Resort Marina in San Diego, CA. Many guests were surprised and delighted to learn that there are green sea turtles inhabiting the area year-round, others were 20-year locals of the bay and knew of their turtle neighbors, but a few longtime residents had no idea that sea turtles shared their backyard! A few guests excitedly shared that they had seen green sea turtles that morning right next to their boat's dock!
Our table had over 300 visitors over the course of the weekend, and everyone came away with information on the 5 sea turtle species that can be found in our region (green, loggerhead, olive ridley, leatherback, and hawksbill)! The table featured our signature "SLOW for sea turtles" signage, as well as pamphlets visitors could take with them and share with family and friends. These pamphlets are the same as those found on our home page, and detail where Southern California's sea turtles can be seen, their major threats, and what everyone can do to help their conservation.
Younger guests thoroughly enjoyed our new Wheel of Turtles! game, where they learned more about our local sea turtles while spinning to win a colorful sea turtle sticker (by landing on our resident Green sea turtle)! Teens and parents alike also delighted in our "SHELL-fie Station," where visitors are encouraged to "try on" a large Eastern Pacific green sea turtle carapace to learn about sea turtle anatomy while taking fun #shelfies to share!
SoCal Sea Turtles also had the opportunity to share actual reports of stranded and rehabilitated sea turtles loaned to us by our partners at NOAA, giving even sea turtle experts something to pique their interest regarding a green sea turtle that was found with fishing hooks and plastic line internally, that was rehabilitated and later released back into the wild.
The table display highlighted rare hawksbill sea turtles, too, as many local boaters spend time fishing and boating in Mexico and other more tropical places. An ecosystem engineer for coral reefs, hawksbill turtles have been hunted to near extinction due to their beautiful carapace (shell) that can be made into jewelry and other souvenirs throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. To learn more about the hawksbill turtle and how you can help them, visit "Too Rare To Wear" (https://www.tooraretowear.org/), a nonprofit that works with the tourism industry to end the trade of hawksbill products around the world.
Overall it was a wonderful weekend full of sea turtle information for all that attended!
- Cristina Robinson