What are the Different Types of Funding?

There are three different types of funding available through the Sea Turtle Grants Program:

1. Competitive Grants – Funding can be requested for projects in one of three categories (conservation, education or research) that clearly add to the preservation of Florida’s marine turtles. A formal, standardized application is required. Applications are reviewed each year by a seven member Committee.

2. Support Ongoing Permit Holder Activities – Funding to support ongoing Florida Marine Turtle Permit-related Nesting Beach Surveys, Stranding and Salvage, or Rehabilitation Activities. This is awarded as a non-competitive Mini-Grant of $1,000 specifically in support of these activities.

3. Emergency Funding – Funding that can be awarded to address immediate and unforeseen sea turtle issues, such as mass strandings, illnesses, or other threats.

What are the Types of Funded Projects?

Grant Applications for funding can be submitted for consideration by the Sea Turtle Grants Committee. Funds can be requested for projects in one of three categories (conservation, education or research) that clearly add to the preservation of Florida’s marine turtles; that accomplish tasks included in the current recovery plans for marine turtles; that address the goals of the FWCC’s Marine Turtle Protection Program; and that are consistent with subsection 370.12 (1) (c), Florida Statutes. Please note that grant funds may not be used for materials that contain fundraising or membership development language, or to support any type of litigation. Activities that shall be considered eligible include, but are not limited to:

Conservation: Protection of marine turtles, their nests and hatchlings from harmful activities on the nesting beach, including lights and predators, such as the replacement or modification of existing lights near marine turtle nesting beaches. This would include the purchase and installation of shields, light barriers, tinted glass or other structures that reduce or restrict the amount and direction of lights that directly or indirectly illuminate the beach or create a glow that is visible from the beach. Also includes the care and rehabilitation of sick or injured sea turtles, such as the purchase of equipment and supplies related to treating, holding and maintaining turtles going through rehabilitation.

Education: The development, production, and distribution of educational materials (including printed materials, interpretive displays, signs, etc…) and programs that promote the understanding of the biology, health, life history and habitat needs of Florida’s marine turtles and the protection and conservation of these species. This could also include equipment purchases related to educational presentations and displays.

Research: Research directly related to the conservation of marine turtles. Such research should provide information for the improvement of strategies to protect marine turtles and may include assessments of coastal lighting; beach nourishment; coastal armoring and other shoreline protection structures; in-water distributions; developmental habitats; migration patterns; rehabilitation of injured or diseased marine turtles; epidemic diseases, including Fibropapillomatosis; fishing gear; and general life history information.

How Do I Register for a Mini-Grant?

Each year the Sea Turtle Grants Committee will select up to ten (10) organizations or institutions conducting ongoing Florida Marine Turtle Permit-related Nesting Beach Surveys, Stranding and Salvage, or Rehabilitation Activities to be awarded a non-competitive Mini-Grant of $1,000 in support of these activities. Funds may not be used for materials that contain fundraising or membership development language, or to support any type of litigation. Funding in this category is intended to support established activities of Florida’s Marine Turtle Permit Holders. Recipients will be selected by the Committee and can not have received funding from the Sea Turtle Grants Program in the previous grant cycle or for any other purpose in the current cycle. Permit Holders must submit a Registration Form, if they would like to be considered.

Please Note: You can both submit an application for a Competitive Grant Funding AND register for Ongoing Activities Funding. Groups whose Competitive Grant Application is approved will automatically be withdrawn from the list of Ongoing Activity registrants.

How Do I Submit a Request for Emergency Funding?

As the Sea Turtle Grants Program continues, a portion of the grant funding will be set aside each year for addressing sea turtle emergencies. These funds will be used to help Florida’s Marine Turtle Permit Holders respond to unforeseen sea turtle issues, such as mass strandings, illnesses, or other threats. Requests for Emergency Funding should be directed to the Sea Turtle Conservancy at (352) 373-6441 or via e-mail at stgp@helpingseaturtles.org.

Who Is Eligible to Receive Funding?

Florida Coastal Local Governments, Florida-based Non-Profit Organizations, and Florida-based Education and Research Institutions that actively participate in marine turtle research, conservation, and educational activities within the state of Florida are eligible to apply for and receive grant funds. If you have any questions or concerns about your eligibility, please contact Dan Evans or David Godfrey at (352) 373-6441 or e-mail stgp@helpingseaturtles.org

What are the Committee’s Funding Considerations?

Since the Sea Turtle Grants Program depends on funds generated by the sale of the Sea Turtle License Plate, there is no certainty from year to year that funding will be available. Grant expenditures will be made based on funds collected.

Applications shall be selected for funding by the Sea Turtle Grant Committee (Committee). This Committee consists of seven members with technical knowledge and expertise in the research and management of marine turtles, their nests, hatchlings, or habitats.

When reviewing applications, Committee members shall consider the scope of the proposed activity (high priority for projects with the most benefit for the conservation of Florida’s marine turtles); the qualifications and demonstrated ability of applicant to accomplish the proposed activity; demand and public support for the proposed activity; the estimated cost of the activity; the availability of more appropriate alternative funding; and any other considerations deemed appropriate by the Committee.

The Committee may choose to only recommend funding a portion of a project. Final funding decisions are made by the Sea Turtle Grants Committee and provided to the Sea Turtle Conservancy for execution of grant contracts.

Who are the Current Committee Members?
  • David Godfrey – Sea Turtle Conservancy
  • Dr. Raymond Carthy – USGS, Fish & Wildlife Coop Unit, University of Florida
  • Barbara Schroeder – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Florida Wildlife Research Institute
  • Dr. Robbin Trindell – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Imperiled Species Management
  • Dr. Trevor Zachariah – Sea Turtle Healing Center, Brevard Zoo
  • Dr. Jeff Schmid – Conservancy of Southwest Florida
  • Ashley Riese – Florida Aquarium
What is the Application Review & Selection Process?

Upon receipt of an application, a proposal number will be assigned and a receipt notification will be mailed to the project manager. Later communications concerning the proposal should reference the proposal number. Applicants may contact the Sea Turtle Conservancy at (352) 373-6441 if receipt is not acknowledged via e-mail within five (5) business days following submittal. A maximum of four (4) Grant Applications for funding may be submitted during each funding cycle by an eligible organization/institution/agency.

STC staff will check each proposal for completeness and correct format before distributing it for review. If a proposal is not complete, in the correct format, or if an insufficient number of copies are submitted, the project manager will be advised in the receipt notification and the proposal may not be further evaluated unless the problem is corrected in a timely manner.

A Marine Turtle Permit (Florida Administrative Code 68E-1) is required for any research involving live turtles, eggs, or hatchlings or turtle parts, including blood, and for educational projects involving live turtles, eggs, hatchlings or turtle parts. An approved permit should be included with the grant application if one has already been issued. Grant applicants may simultaneously apply for the necessary marine turtle permit; the two processes will run separately but concurrently. Please contact FWCC for information regarding permits.

STC will send complete applications for research proposals to FWCC staff for review. The primary responsibility of reviewers is to evaluate a research proposal’s technical merit, compliance with Marine Turtle Permit requirements, and the capabilities of the proposed project personnel and their institution to meet the project objectives. Reviewers will evaluate applications based on their content and format as submitted, not based on their potential for improvement. Reviewers comments, and any other pertinent information, will be provided to the Committee.

Once applications are selected for funding by the Committee, only those projects that can be executed as submitted will be funded. Major project modifications will not be allowed prior to execution of the contract. Subsequent to initiation of the contract, modification requests will be considered at the discretion of the STC; however, such modifications should not change the overall project scope and deliverables unless significant justification is provided.

Applicants whose projects are selected for funding through the Sea Turtle Grants Program will be required to enter into a contract, or grant agreement, that specifies the exact amount of the award, deliverables required, and the specific disbursement schedule. Contracts must be signed by a legal representative of the recipient, returned to STC, and signed by STC’s Executive Director before the funded activities can begin. Award recipients must include acknowledgement of funding from the Sea Turtle Grants Program and, where possible, include a graphic of the Sea Turtle License Plate, supplied by STC, on any and all publications, signage, documents, videos, publicity and results related to their project.

Are Committee Meetings Open to the Public?

Yes, meetings are open. The following policies have been established for the Sea Turtle Grants Committee Meeting:

  • Grant applicants and other members of the public are permitted to attend all Sea Turtle Grant Committee Meetings.
  • Members of the public will have an opportunity to address the Committee for a maximum of 3 minutes each at the start of the meeting, before deliberations begin on the grant proposals under consideration. The public will not be permitted to interrupt or directly participate in the deliberations of the Grants Committee once they have begun the evaluation and ranking process. Each applicant should anticipate that their written grant proposal must stand on its own merits.
  • Grant Committee meetings will be held in locations, or via video meetings, accessible to the general public and which conform to ADA requirements.
  • An announcement about the date, time and location of each meeting will be published on the www.helpingseaturtles.org website (the official website of the Sea Turtle License Plate and the Sea Turtle Grants Program) at least 7 days prior to the meeting date. There will not be a published “agenda,” since the agenda will always be the same: opening comments by Committee Chair, public comments, committee discussion, ranking and voting on the eligible applications.
  • An audio recording of the meeting will be made and retained for future reference in preparing detailed official written minutes. Written minutes will be available to the general public upon request.
  • Committee members shall be forbidden from speaking to each other about any pending grant application outside of the official Sea Turtle Grants Committee Meeting.
How are Payments Awarded for Approved Grants?

Upon review of those applications recommended for funding by the Sea Turtle Grants Committee, the payment schedule will be determined. in general, projects will receive 50% of the awarded funds upon contract execution, 25% upon approval of 6-month reports, and the final 25% upon approval of final reports OR projects will receive 70% of the awarded funds upon contract execution, 15% upon approval of 6-month reports, and the final 15% upon approval of final reports. Payment schedule will depend upon the project. Please note: STC and the Grants Committee reserve the right to change this payment ratio in particular circumstances. Grant recipients will be notified of any change prior to the signing of an agreement.

How Do I Prepare a Grant Application?

The full guidelines and application, including the Proposal Cover Sheet and Proposal Budget Form, can be downloaded from the website in either MS Word or PDF format. You can request a digital copy or hard copy at stgp@helpingseaturtles.org.

All applicants should review their proposal package carefully to ensure it is complete, follows the guidelines, and all information essential for a critical evaluation are included or summarized. Any omissions are the responsibility of the applicant. Proposals are being scored for completeness and correct format. A maximum of four (4) Grant Applications for funding may be submitted during each funding cycle by an eligible organization/institution/agency.

Applicants must provide eight (8) hard copies (1 original plus 7 copies) and one (1) digital copy (MS Word format only, digital copy doesn’t need to have signature on the cover page) of each Sea Turtle Grant Application being submitted. Each Project Proposal hard copy should only be stapled in the upper left-hand corner with Supporting Materials paper clipped at the end of each individual copy. Research Proposals should be bound separately and then paper clipped. All supporting materials must be able to fit into an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet sleeve. See guidelines and application for complete details.

Digital copies should be submitted through an online submission form at Sea Turtle Grants Program Digital Submission Form. All digital files must be labeled with the applicant’s name.

The sea turtle grant application is composed of several sections in the following order: Cover Sheet (1 page), Project Proposal (limit 8 single-sided pages or 4 double-sided pages), Budget Form (limit 2 single-sided pages or 1 double-sided page), Category Based Additional Information, and any attachments. Please note that each Project Category requires different additional information. Succinctness is strongly encouraged, as is the use of recycled paper. Please use headings to separate the sections of the Project Proposal. Please refer to the full Sea Turtle Grant Guidelines and Application, provided below, for complete instructions.

Word FormatSea Turtle Grant Guidelines & Application
PDF FormatSea Turtle Grant Guidelines & Application

Are There Suggestions for Projects?

A list of possible projects and topics for consideration by those who may apply for funding from Florida’s marine turtle license plate grants program has been compiled by the Sea Turtle Conservancy and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Marine Turtle Recovery Program staff. Please note that submitted applications based on this list are not guanteed to be funded. Read through the Suggested Project Ideas.

What is the History of the Sea Turtle License Plate?

In 1995, a statewide effort was initiated by the non-profit Sea Turtle Conservancy, formerly Caribbean Conservation Corporation, to establish a Florida Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate to provide a permanent funding source for the state’s Marine Turtle Protection Program. Thanks to the efforts of STC and other Florida sea turtle groups, in 1997, the Florida Legislature (Statute 320.08058 (19)) authorized the creation of a Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate to promote the conservation and protection of Florida’s sea turtles.

The Sea Turtle License Plate was first offered for sale in February 1998 and quickly became one of the most popular specialty plates in Florida, raising over $1 million annually. At just $23.00 per tag, the turtle plate is also one of the more moderately priced specialty plates in Florida.
Information collected by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

Sea Turtle Plate Statistics

Specialty License Plate Rankings – See how the Sea Turtle License Plate ranks against Florida’s over 100 other specialty plates.