Sea turtle nesting season is from March 1 - October 31. During that time, thousands of baby sea turtles will make their way into the ocean - hopefully.
Each year hundreds of baby sea turtles are disoriented by artificial lights from streets and buildings that are right along the beach. Sea turtles usually nest and hatch during the night and follow the moon back to the ocean. However, because of light pollution along the beach, baby sea turtles are becoming disoriented and never find their way to the ocean. With oceanfront properties, hotels, and restaurants, there are many lights that can be a distraction to both hatchings and nesting females.
Many people have petitioned and took action to help nesting turtles and baby turtles during the months of March to October. While light is a danger to sea turtles, a different type of light may be a positive solution.
Turning off street lights during sea turtle season helps turtles make their way to the ocean instead of ending up on the street. However, there still needs to be some sort of light for safety outside buildings that line the beach. The hotel above is in Florida and changed their bright white lights to dim red ones that operate at a specific wavelength and low levels of visible light that have shown a drastic decrease of disoriented hatchlings. LED lights are easily accessible in bulk online but are also readily available in stores such as Target and Home Depot where they are labeled as "turtle safe" or "turtle friendly."
The Sea Turtle Conservancy has completed 80+ major lighting retrofit projects on beachside hotels, resorts, and residential homes. The work to date has had nothing but positive results. Some places that used to see hundreds of hatchlings killed every year are now seeing none at all.
If an area you live by is not on board with changing the lights along your coast during sea turtle season - take a stand! Changing light bulbs may seem small, but it can save thousands of baby sea turtles!
Let us know in the comments below if your hometown utilizes turtle safe and turtle friendly light bulbs to help save the baby sea turtles!