If you are planning on visiting Anna Maria Island (AMI) in Florida, you’re probably looking forward to exploring the wildlife in the area, including sea turtles. Sea turtle nesting is common in the local area, and there are a lot of conservation efforts that focus on protecting sea turtles and their hatchlings. One of the top organizations looking out for the best interests of sea turtles is Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch, usually shortened to AMITW.

By visiting AMITW, a non-profit organization in the area, you can learn more about birds, turtles, and other animals that deserve protection in the local area. Plus, it’s one of the best things you can do while you’re on vacation in Anna Maria Island.

What should you do if you swing by Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch near Bradenton Beach?

Lots of Educational Activities

One of the main advantages of visiting Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch is that there are a lot of educational activities that will teach you about sea turtles and shorebirds. There is an extensive sea turtle monitoring program that is orchestrated by AMITW. The goal of the program is to make sure turtles are protected, have access to the resources they need, and are not disturbed by human activity. There are five species of sea turtles that live near the local island beaches, including Loggerhead sea turtles.

While there is a significant amount of attention paid to sea turtles, there is also a shorebird monitoring program orchestrated by Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch. Sadly, there are a lot of birds that are having their habitats threatened as well, and birds suffer serious injuries from time to time. The staff members and volunteers at AMITW work hard to make sure local bird populations have access to the resources they need as well.

Lectures Take Place From Time To Time

Photo Credit: kappy87 via Instagram

In addition, there are special lectures that take place from time to time.

For example, one of the most popular activities every week is Turtle Talk Tuesday. This is a great opportunity for people to learn more about the sea turtles that live in the area, what some of the biggest threats are, and what they can do to protect them.

In particular, a lot of lectures focus on sea turtle nesting season, which is why many of the turtles that live in the Gulf of Mexico are most vulnerable.

Even though you might come across a sea turtle nest on Holmes Beach from time to time, it is important to leave it undisturbed and make sure sea turtles have the space and privacy they require.

A Lighting Guide From The Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch

In addition, by visiting Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch, you can learn more about the rules and regulations surrounding beachfront property.

Even though there are a lot of rentals on the beachfront, there are rules related to when you can turn the lights on. For example, you need to dim your lights in the evening, particularly during sea turtle nesting season, which begins May 1st. It is important for you to dim your lights because they can be very distracting to the sea turtles that live in the area. Unfortunately, hatchlings do not have a very high chance of survival, and lights confuse sea turtles when they are trying to find their way back to the ocean.

Furthermore, you should try to avoid using flashlights in the evening. Even though there is nothing wrong with going for a walk on the beach in the evening, you need to turn off artificial lights, including flashlights. They can be scary to sea turtles, and they might end up walking in the wrong direction, which means they could get eaten by other animals.

Beach Stewardship Is a Critical Part of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch

When you visit Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch, you will also learn more about what it requires to be a good steward of the beaches. Even though people come from all over the world to visit Florida beaches, it is important for you to clean up after yourself. If you do not clean up the beach, hazards can be created for local sea turtles, which means that they may get sick or injured.

In particular, you need to make sure you clean up your trash. There are too many people who leave glass bottles on the beach, which should not be allowed anyway. Many other people leave plastic bags on the beach, which can create choking hazards for sea turtles. Even if the mass is not yours, you should still take a few minutes to clean it up.

Only by working together can we create a clean environment for sea turtles and birds. The professionals at AMITW would be happy to talk to you about how to protect the beaches.

Consider Getting Involved During Your Visit To Anna Maria Island

Ultimately, there are lots of turtle activities at Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch. You can learn more about what a nesting beach looks like, take a closer look at some of the turtle eggs, and advocate for local Anna Maria Island sea turtle populations.

There are lots of conservation efforts happening on the island, and you should learn more about them during your visit. This is one of the most popular locations, so be sure to book your vacation rentals ahead of time if you want to visit this area.