BE WATCHFUL: LOGGERHEAD NESTS ARE HERE
Loggerhead turtle hatchlings made their way to the water on a local beach Thursday night, marking the beginning of an important time at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The aquarium oversees sea-turtle nesting on 26 miles of Pinellas County beaches, locating and protecting nests and ensuring the hatchlings make their way into the gulf. From May through September, 350-pound female loggerhead sea turtles come ashore at night to deposit their eggs. Staff and volunteers have found 60 local turtle nests so far this season, up from 44 nests last year at this time. Some 200 volunteers monitor the nests each night as they approach the end of their incubation period. Once the hatchlings make their way out of the shell, they head toward the water using the light of the moon as a guide. Just the presence of humans keeps scavenging animals away, giving the hatchlings a better chance at making it to the water. Here are some sea turtle safety reminders:
• Turn off outside lights, draw drapes and avoid using flashlights or fishing lamps on the beach from May 1 to Oct. 31.
• Don't harass adult turtles as they make their way back to sea. They may appear slow or hesitant, but this is normal.
• If you see an adult turtle, don't approach it, make noises, shine lights or use a camera with a flash.
• Don't pick up hatchlings heading toward the water.
If you have concerns about nesting turtles or hatchlings seen on the beach, call the aquarium's sea turtle department at (727) 441-1790, ext. 224.
Donations sought for Heritage Village
It may be the middle of summer, but at Heritage Village, thoughts are already turning to October and the 33rd annual Fall Jubilee, which includes a giant flea market and book sale. The public is asked to bring donations of books, tools, dishes, silverware, sports equipment, craft items, toys, jewelry, furniture, seasonal decorations and housewares for the fundraiser. Proceeds will benefit the Pinellas County Historical Society and Heritage Village. For more information, call (727) 582-2233.
Fire Rescue officer wins safety award
Palm Harbor Fire Rescue's public information officer, Liz Monforti, has been named the 2011 Florida Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year. She was honored last week at the Florida Association of Fire and Life Safety Educators' luncheon in West Palm Beach. Monforti, 28, was recognized for her leadership, her work in creating marketing campaigns and preparing grant proposals, and her fundraising efforts, said Chief James Angle. Monforti does public outreach for the department and is active in numerous community organizations. She's been with the department since 2006.
Local cycling, golf, tennis, softball and baseball notes. Story, Page 8.