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The Sea Turtle Grants Program, funded by the sale of Florida's Helping Sea Turtles Survive specialty license plate, awarded $305,219.27 to 17 different organizations, educational institutes and local governments for sea turtle research, education and conservation programs benefiting Florida sea turtles.
Each year, the Sea Turtle Grants Program distributes money to coastal county governments, educational institutions and nonprofit groups through a competitive application process. The sea turtle specialty license plate is also the primary source of funding for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Marine Turtle Protection Program.
The following organizations received grants for the 2014-2015 cycle: Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch, Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, City of Fernandina Beach, City of Marathon, Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Coastal Cleanup Corporation, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, East Coast Zoological Society of Florida (Brevard Zoo), Florida Coastal Conservancy, Friends of the Archie Carr Refuge, Gulf World Marine Institute, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Inwater Research Group, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sea Turtle Conservancy, University of Central Florida, and Zoological Society of the Palm Beaches
The sea turtle plate is the number three overall selling specialty tag in Florida, and the number one environmental specialty plate. By purchasing the sea turtle specialty license plate, Floridians are voluntarily funding important programs to save endangered sea turtles and their habitats.
To learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants Program and the “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” specialty license plate, please visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.
Background: The Helping Sea Turtles Survive specialty license plate was passed by the Florida legislature in 1997. The turtle specialty license plate costs $23.00 above the normal Florida license plate fee. Seventy percent of the proceeds support the Florida Marine Turtle Protection Program. The remaining thirty percent is routed through the nonprofit Sea Turtle Conservancy, which distributes the funding through the Sea Turtle Grants Program.
The Florida-based Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is the oldest sea turtle research and conservation organization in the world. STC was founded as a nonprofit group in 1959 by the late Dr. Archie Carr, a zoology professor and natural history author at the University of Florida. For more information about STC, visit www.conserveturtles.org.