Grant: 08-001E
Project Title: "Sea Turtle Friendly Practices" Public Education Campaign
Project Manager: Kenneth Gioeli
Organization: St. Lucie County 4-H Foundation (Non-Profit Organization)
Grant Amount: $4,941.00
Completion Date: 2009-05-12

Summary: In 2006 – 07, University of Florida Extension Agents servicing St Lucie and Indian River Counties initiated the Sea Turtle Friendly Practices educational campaign. This campaign was financed courtesy of a Sea Turtle Tag Grant, and involved development of educational displays and publications. Environmental education centers, public libraries and other outreach organizations assisted with the dissemination of these educational materials and adopted the use of educational displays designed to teach the public “sea turtle friendly” practices. Featured recommended practices included reducing the effects of artificial lighting, removal/relocation of beach furniture at night, protecting/re-establishing sand dunes, etc. This project will continue this valuable program and to expand it through the use of a one billboard. Educational brochures have already been developed. However, there is a need to reprint color copies of the Turtle Tracks and Turtle Friendly Beaches publications. Table top displays for brochure and publications will be purchased and made available to environmental education providers in St. Lucie and Indian River Counties. Funding will be used to reproduce these publications and to purchase table top displays. Funding is also requested to develop a highway billboard featuring a “Sea Turtle Friendly Beaches” theme. St. Lucie County owns four highway billboards in the right of ways along the Florida Turnpike and I-95. St. Lucie County will commit at least one billboard to the Sea Turtle Friendly Beaches public education campaign. Grant funding will be used to develop the Sea Turtle Friendly Beaches graphics package for the highway billboard vinyl, printing and installation of the campaign vinyl on a highway billboard.

Results: Displays featuring "Turtle Friendly Beaches" and "Turtle Tracks" publications were placed in public areas for display. Gioeli rotated these displays among fourteen different education providers. In addition, he provided brochures and displays to Rick Herron, Indian River County Sea Turtle Program Coordinator and Erik Martin, Sea Turtle Expert with Ecological Associates. Approximately 3,500 Turtle Friendly Beaches and 3,500 Turtle Tracks publications have been distributed through the use of these displays. Two Turtle Friendly Beaches highway billboards were installed. One billboard was installed along the west side of the Florida Turnpike in St Lucie County. A second billboard was installed on the west side of 1-95 near the 1ndrio Road interchange between Fort Pierce and Vero Beach. ClearChannel Communications services the two highway billboards utilized for the Turtle Friendly Beaches Campaign. They estimate an average travel circulation rate of 24,690 drivers per billboard per day. Billboard #1 was erected in August 2008 and was viewed by an estimated 3 million drivers between August 1 - December 1, 2008. Billboard #2 was erected in October 2008 and is currently still on display. Billboard #2 was viewed by an estimated 5.2 million drivers between October 1, 2008 - April 30, 2009. Overall, 8.2 million drivers have been exposed to the Turtle Friendly Beaches message to reduce lighting on beaches. (Author: Ken Gioeli)