What is STOP?
STOP rescues disoriented hatchlings as well as sick or injured juvenile and adult marine turtles in all of Broward County Florida; Deerfield Beach, Hillsboro Beach, Pompano, Lauderdale by the Sea, Fort Lauderdale, Dania, Hollywood, and Hallandale.
Our program has reduced the hatchling mortality rate by over 50% in Broward County. Our FWCC certified nighttime survey volunteers monitor sea turtle nests and count the number of hatchlings that emerge. Hatchlings that go east to the ocean are left alone. Hatchlings that disorient to lights are documented and recovered in buckets. Rescued hatchlings are released into the sea or taken to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. We record the data with mobile devices in real-time using the FORMS app from Device Magic and publish the results on an interactive map as a public service. Since 2007, STOP volunteers have bucketed over 240,000 hatchlings that disoriented to lights on Broward County beaches.
However, STOP’s all night, volunteer rescue campaign is not the solution; correct, safe and night-healthy lighting is. Therefore, the focus of our program is to ensure the turtles do not lose their lives until municipalities to adhere to and enforce the existing coastal light ordinances, as required by the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Turtle Protection Act.
We help to educate the public by hosting sea turtle nesting habitat awareness and lighting workshops and offer presentations to schools, organizations and local businesses to increase sea turtle awareness. With our feet on the sand, we interact with tens of thousands of beach-goers each year during our nightly campaigns, providing them with helpful tips to avoid being a disturbance while on the nesting habitat. We also provide carefully controlled, guided eco-tours to reduce incidental interactions, that could have negative consequences for the animals.
We aim to provide solutions, to balance the scales and give the hatchlings a chance to begin their life.