Folly Beach Turtle Watch was organized in 1998 as a volunteer group licensed by the SC Department of Natural Resources to protect sea turtles, their nests and hatchlings on Folly Beach. Today, about 25 volunteers contribute their time and energy each turtle season (May-October) to protect an average of 45 nests. Nest protection includes recording new nests, assessing site selection and moving the nest if necessary to protect it from tidal flooding, monitoring each nest’s progress until hatching and inventorying nest contents after hatching has taken place. Data is collected on each nest’s success and submitted to SC/DNR. The “Lights Out” campaign is a vital component of nest protection, ensuring that nesting sea turtles and hatchlings can find the ocean without interference from artificial lighting.
While some volunteer groups have regularly scheduled activities that the public can attend, Folly Beach Turtle Watch does not. The “Watch” in our name doesn’t mean that we actually get to watch the turtles. Our “watch” is one of vigilance, of keeping guard, and of tending care. Our caretaking is overseen and licensed by the SC Department of Natural Resources. It is not a commercial venture in any way.
Most Crew members hurry off to full-time jobs after finishing their morning rounds, and, of course, the turtles have their own time table (after dark/before dawn) and preferences regarding human company (none). We walk to their beat.
Beginning May 15th, if you’d like to come along, look for Crew members walking the high tide lines between 5:30-7:00 any morning. We’ll be glad to involve you in whatever the turtles have given us to do.
Folly Beach Turtle Watch
PO Box 325
Folly Beach, SC 29439