Grant: 08-010E
Project Title: What Sea Turtles Eat: An Educational Exhibit
Project Manager: Jack Rudloe
Organization: Gulf Specimen Marine Lab (Non-Profit Organization)
Grant Amount: $11,700.00
Completion Date: 2008-10-07

Summary: Florida's sea turtles feed on a wide spectrum of marine invertebrates, fish, sea grasses and macroalgae. Their habitats range from coral reefs, mangroves, and salt marshes to sandy, muddy estuaries and the open sea. In a new educational display, visitors to Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory will see life sized fiberglass models of a leatherback, hawksbill, green, and loggerhead sea turtle.They will learn where turtles live, about habitat loss, the declining biodiversity of the oceans, and the urgent necessity to protect them all.

Results: In late April, 2008 we started working on a simplified display that would depict the basic diet and food preferences of Florida's five species of sea turtles, and compiling information for graphics along with planning sessions on where to place the fiberglass models. At the same time we placed an order for a loggerhead hatchling diorama with Tom McFarland of “Tom's Turtles” a well known sculptor in the sea turtle community, who has put up numerous displays at museums and nature centers throughout the United States. Once the turtle models were in place, signs describing the turtle's diets with photographs of their prey items were given final design. A total of ten signs, printed on vinyl and mounted on PVC board were then placed in close proximity of the turtle models, thus completing the project within the reduced amount awarded on the grant. (Author: Jack Rudloe)