Founded in 2007, STOP is a non-profit, sea turtle conservation organization of volunteers with no paid staff. STOP rescues hatchlings, documents hatchling disorientation, and records and publishes hatch data for research and educational purposes in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.
STOP works within the law and explicitly for the law under a special marine turtle permit issued by FWC to recover disoriented hatchlings, collect hatch data and documentation which is then provided to the appropriate authorities, research institutions and the general public.
While STOP advocates that citizens communicate with their city officials, STOP does NOT support, endorse or tolerate any harassment, inappropriate or unbecoming behavior of any kind within its volunteer organization or on its behalf.
With respect to each individuals rights of freedom of speech, STOP encourages these guidelines and common courtesy:
- Please do not contact homeowners and businesses directly or encourage others to do so. Leave code enforcement issues to the proper authorities. It is your right to report code violations, but not to enforce compliance.
- Many homeowners and businesses are in fact victims of misinformation, poor code education, lack of code enforcement and years of misdirection from their municipalities and code departments. In other words... Don't bark up the wrong tree.
- STOP advocates enforcement of the law. Please show the same respect to the rights of others and the laws that you demand be enforced.
- It is your right to contact public officials to voice your opinion. Please to do so with respect and with factually accurate information. Please represent yourself and the turtles well. Please do not speak on behalf of STOP, but rather as a citizen.
Copyright and Legal Notice
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What is a Turtle Trek?The adventure begins when you hit the sand with Sea Turtle Oversight Protection staff after a brief presentation. You will have a rare opportunity to possibly witness newborn sea turtles emerging from a nest, while seeing the threats they face and observing our trained staff rescuing turtles that mistakenly scurry to the bright city lights. After all are safely recovered, celebrate their release at the ocean’s edge as these ancient mariners get another chance to continue their epic journey of survival. 100% of the Turtle Trek proceeds help us fund our rescue operations. Turtle Treks take place in evenings during peak sea turtle nesting season (June- September).
Before the TrekBefore your Turtle Trek, we’ll meet up for an educational presentation at our Headquarters, where you’ll learn about the coastal habitat, the species of turtles that nest on our beaches, their life cycle and the natural and human-caused dangers that affect them. Following this 30 minute presentation, you will accompany our rescue volunteers on to the beach habitat to begin the Turtle Trek.
During the TrekDuring the Trek, we’ll continue sharing important facts about the coastal habitat, the importance of sea turtles to the ocean ecosystem and more about challenges these animals face the moment they emerge from their sandy nests. Our volunteers are patrolling the beach and will alert your group when a sea turtle nest is about to hatch.. The Turtle Trek participant agrees to assume liability of injury from any and all perceivable and unperceivable risks of injury and as to which by using his or her own best judgment for personal safety.
Unpredictable TurtlesExpect the Unexpected! This is an opportunity to possibly witness one of Earth’s oldest endangered species. However, as with all wild animals, their movements and behaviors are unpredictable. Given this fact, there is no guarantee you will see any sea turtles on our Turtle Trek. Our goal is to educate and inspire you during your time with us and ensure a fulfilling experience. But if you are fortunate enough to witness these amazing animals, it will be something that you will never forget.
Age RequirementDue to the late hour and nature of the program, it is not recommended for children under 6 years of age. Pricing is the same, regardless of the age of the participant. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Cancellation PolicyYour registration fee is non-refundable, however should you be unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, you may use your receipt as a tax deductible contribution to the organization. Sea Turtle Oversight Protection is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. As such, your receipt may be used as a tax deductible contribution to our organization. 100% of your registration fee will help to fund our Turtle Trek program and our rescue efforts.
Book Now!Turtle Treks are held Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 7:30 pm as well as Saturday at 11:30pm. Space is limited to 25 people, so please book early!
Frequently Asked Questions
When are the Turtle Treks offered?
Sea Turtle nesting season on Florida’s southeast coast is March 1st to October 31st. However, nesting and emergence are at their peak from June- August. Our treks take place when activity is at its peak. Availability to participate in this program is extremely limited in accordance with the guidelines stipulated in our permits. We encourage you to reserve your space as soon as possible.
What are the hours of the program?
Usually nesting and hatchling emergence on Florida beaches occurs between sunset and sunrise. Therefore, your Turtle Trek will take place at night. Program duration is approximately 4 hours.
Are there any age restrictions?
Given the late hour and nature of the program, it is not recommended for children under the age of 6. Pricing is the same, regardless of age of the participant. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Will I be able to touch or hold the sea turtles?
In accordance with our permits with the Florida Wildlife Commission only qualified staff are allowed to handle the sea turtles.
What about inclement weather?
Turtle Treks take place rain or shine. Rain does not deter the turtles from hatching. Treks will only be suspended in the event of severe weather or lightning and decisions will be made in real-time. Please plan to arrive as scheduled. In the event the walk is not possible, you will be provided with the option to re-schedule at no cost. Since we cannot control the weather, refunds will not be possible.
Will I be able to participate if I have a physical disability or mobility challenge?
The facilities at our Headquarters are ADA compliant. Public sidewalks are available along the beach habitat where our Turtle Treks take place. However, our ability to accommodate you on the sandy beach will be limited.
Turtle Trek Instructions and Guidelines
- Please arrive at our Headquarters 15 minutes prior to scheduled start time.
- Headquarter address: 3104 NE. 9th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304
- Public metered parking is available. We encourage you to pay for at least 4 hours so that your time on the beach is not interrupted.
- Upon arrival to the Headquarters, all participants will be required to sign a waiver.
- Turtle Treks will conclude at scheduled time, unless there are turtles in need of our rescue.
- Dress comfortably in medium to dark-colored clothing (white clothing is strongly discouraged). Wear shoes that are suitable for walking long distances on the habitat. We may walk up to 2 miles during the course of the program.
- Feel free to bring a dark colored rain jacket or poncho.
- Other items you are welcome to bring are beverages, snacks and a beach towel. Chairs are not permitted.
- Organic, all natural insect repellent will be available for participants free of charge.
- Flash photography, flashlights or light of any kind are not allowed during the treks (this includes glow sticks, glow necklaces, etc.)
- We will ask that you lower your cellphone back-light to its dimmest setting and that they be switched to “silent mode” before arriving at the habitat. Cellphones should be used only when absolutely necessary or in case of an emergency.
- All participants are required to remain with their assigned group for the entire duration of the program.
- If a nesting turtle is encountered, it is important that participants follow the instructions of the Rescue Staff.
- If a hatch-out is imminent, our rescue staff will provide you with specific instructions on where to stand to observe the emergence. Following their direction is paramount, as the health and safety the hatchlings and the integrity of our data must not be compromised.
- If disoriented hatchlings are rescued and recovered, our staff will invite you to the ocean’s edge where the hatchlings will be released to continue their epic journey of survival.
About Our Turtle Family
Passionate. Coffee addicted. Probably Crazy.
We are all volunteers. Regular people from all walks of life who have chosen to make a difference. For five to eight months out of the year, we re-arrange our lives to save disoriented sea turtle hatchlings. "Sea Turtle People" have to be a little crazy to get through the long nights, but the dedication of our volunteer staff is second to none. Being a STOP volunteer is the toughest job you will ever love.
While there are many to mention, we would like to recognize a few supporters who have helped make STOP a reality, or who we just think are really cool.