Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch, Inc

P.O. Box 566

Fernandina Beach, Florida  32035

2014 Sea Turtle Nesting Season

On May 1, one of Amelia Island's origial rites of spring began.  Our sea turtle nest monitoring beach patrol has officailly begun.  This year we have over 120 volunteers.  This is a record number of turtle enthusiasts on the beach.  With so many volunteers, we have reached our capacity. There currently is no longer a need to add to our substitute list.  The best way for everyone to participate is to attend our excavations.  These will occur when the nests begin to hatch and emerge.  This typically begins in mid July.  You can check the Excavation Schedule page for scheduled events.
To learn what our volunteers do, click here Ways to Help/Volunteer 

If you have questions, email or call 

What can visitors see if they visit Amelia Island?
Visitors to Amelia Island frequently ask if they can watch turtles nest or watch hatchlings come out of the nest.  Only on a very rare occasion can people witness either of these remarkable events. 
We do not conduct turtle walks to observe nesting.  Amelia Island does not have the nesting density of south Florida beaches, not to mention the fact that turtles nest anytime from sunset to sun up.  
The same is true for hatchling emergences.  Baby turtles hatch from the egg anywhere from 1-3 days before emerging from the nest and crawling to the sea.
Incubation is not exact.  There is a 10 day window in which hatchlings will emerge from a nest. Again, this can happen anytime from sunset to sun up.
So what CAN visitors experience?  Three days after we discover that a nest has emerged and hatchlings have crawled to the sea, permitted volunteers will "excavate" the nest.  This is simply an inventory of all the remaining nest contents:  unhatched eggs, shards (empty egg shells), dead hatchlings, and yes, sometimes even live hatchlings.  This event is open to the public.  Volunteers will share with spectators the history of that particular nest and general sea turtle facts.  If live hatchlings are found, we will release them at that time for the public to see.
Excavations will begin in early-mid July and will continue until all the nests have hatched and emerged.  You can click on the Excavation Schedule page for times and locations.

Information sheet above created by Eliza Holliday,


Above, Doug Stuber explains nest contents on our first excvation of the season.

Below, our fisrt loggerhead of the 2011 season.


Last nest of the 2010 season emerges into the coldest night of the season and succumbs to the cold.  Only 20 survive. Nature is not always kind. 
Twenty hatchlings survive the coldest night of the season.  After warming up, hatchlings were released to the warm waters of the Atlantic.

Turtle girls from AISTW share a weekend with author Mary Alice Monroe at Amelia Island's first annual High Tide Women's Weekend.

Turtle girls before the Arabian Nights cruise at Women's High Tide Weekend

(left to right:  Mary Raines, Dotty Heritage, Eliza Holliday, Mary Duffy, Pat Kreger)

Green hatchling tracks from MD16.  This is what is supposed to happen.  They all went to the water! 

Leatherback hatchling (Dermochelys Coriacia) found in contents of nest. (Photo by Sandra Baker-Hinton)  

Leatherback nest emerges 8/1/10!

One weak hatchling was found on the sand outside the nest.  After trying to put it in the water, it later died.

Short video of hatchlings rescued from MD3 during nest excavation on 7/23


Green turtle leaves tracks with a false crawl on June 16.

P.O. BOX 566
Mary Duffy, President