Under the moon and stars, on the crystal white sands of Anna Maria Island, sea turtles — mostly loggerheads — nest May-October.
And newlyweds on the island could help support the survival of these ancient creatures.
The island is fortunate to be the host to hundreds of sea turtles, of which only the females emerge from the water at night to nest. The males never leave the Gulf of Mexico after hatching.
The females, which reach maturity at about 35 years, lay about 100 eggs each time they nest, sometimes nesting several times during the season.
And Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring ensures the hatchlings are as protected as possible and make it to the Gulf when the entire nest hatches as a whole and crawls to the water, beneath the night sky.
The organization has a program in which people can adopt sea turtle nests and plaques are placed at the adopted nest to commemorate holidays, birthdays, weddings, memorials and other occasions.
Adopting a nest could serve as an excellent way to provide a wedding favor that would support both the memory of your special day and a local charity that benefits the environment.
When your adopted nest hatches, AMITW volunteers provide the plaque to the adoptee, with information, including how many baby sea turtles emerged from the nest and the date of the hatch, as well as a personalized message of commemoration.
Funds from the nest adoptions support the nonprofit organization, including maintenance of ATVs used to patrol the beach to spot and secure sea turtle nests and conduct shorebird surveys, as well as educational materials.
Those interested in adopting a nest for the 2021 season can contact the organization at https://www.islandturtlewatch.com/get-involved/adopt-a-nest/
“Adopting a sea turtle nest is a beautiful way to show love, both for the environment and the event you are memorializing,” Suzi Fox, AMITW executive director, said. “And all of the money goes back to supporting our organization.”