When you ride down DeBordieu Blvd. keep an eye out for Miss Elliott Reese, who has set up a Lemonade stand to raise money for S.C.U.T.E., the South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts! At 50 cents a cup, it’s a great way to support this great organization, and encourage Miss Reese to continue to do good things! I love seeing kids like Elliott taking the initiative to champion good causes, and SCUTE certainly is one!
Loggerhead sea turtles nest on South Carolina beaches May through October.
S.C.U.T.E. is one of 19 volunteer sea turtle protection projects along our coastline under the direction of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The 60 mile S.C.U.T.E. area extends from North Inlet in Georgetown County to North Myrtle Beach. DeBordieu and Hobcaw beaches typically account for 40-50% of the nests in this area. Volunteers walk at sunrise during nesting season looking for the large turtle tracks leading from the ocean to the dunes and back. When tracks are found, volunteers use clues to determine the nest area. Pool cues are used to probe the sand and locate the egg chamber. An average nest of 120 ping pong size eggs may need to be moved if it is laid in an unsafe place such as below the spring tide line or in a high foot traffic area. Volunteers cover the nests with a plastic mesh to protect it from predators and erect a sign with the nesting date.
At about 50 days of incubation, volunteers begin to look for a depression in the nest indicating hatching activity beneath. When a nest hatches usually at about 55-60 days, hatchlins make a mad dash to the ocean following the fluorescence of the waves as long as they are not lead astray by onshore lighting. Three days later, volunteers conduct a nest inventory near sunset.
A notice is posted at the kiosk at DeBordieu’s main pool at the Beach Club giving the time and location. At the inventory, a volunteer tells visitors about the procedure and printed information is handed out. The nest contents are dug out and data is recorded. Sometimes live hatchlings are found in the nest that weren’t able to emerge on their own. Volunteers put the hatchlings on the beach and let them crawl to the ocean and ‘imprint’. At maturity, 25-30 years, female loggerheads will return to the beach of their birth to nest.
You can help loggerheads!
You don’t have to open a Lemonade Stand, like Elliott did to help S.C.U.T.E. Here’s a list of things you can do to help:
• Lights Out! Turn off oceanfront lights by 10 p.m. during nesting season. Lights can disorient adult turtles and hatchlings.
• Keep Our Beach Clean! Take your beach items home with you, fill in holes and leave the beach clean and clear at night for sea turtles.
• Avoid Disturbing Sea Turtles! If you see a sea turtle on the beach, crouch down and be still until she has started dropping her eggs. At that point you can move in closer, staying behind her and enjoy watching an age old wonder of nature!
DeBordieu Colony is a very private community on the coast of South Carolina, between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, just south of Pawleys Island. In addition to miles of secluded beach, boat landing access to North Inlet, and a 24-hour manned security gate, the private, equity DeBordieu Club offers Pete Dye golf, a tennis center and an ocean front Beach Club with fine dining, a gazebo bar, two pools, and a playground. There is truly no place like DeBordieu. Come see for yourself.