World Turtle Day is May 23rd, just in time for nesting season here on Hilton Head Island, and we are ready to shellebrate at the Palmetto Dunes General Store. Each year, from May to October, Hilton Head Island’s beaches welcome nesting sea turtles. All sea turtles are listed as endangered with the Loggerhead as the most common sea turtle species found nesting here on Hilton Head Island. During the nesting season in 2022, sea turtles made 423 nests here!
Photo Credit: Melissa Krause
Turtle Trackers of Hilton Head Island
Turtle Trackers was formed in 2016 to help protect these endangered sea turtles, their nests and eggs, and the hatchlings throughout the sea turtle season. Turtle Trackers is a group of local volunteers, now numbering over 500 members, and one of their main responsibilities is to help “put the beach to bed” every evening during turtle nesting season since the mama turtles make their way out of the ocean into the dunes at night to dig their nests. Turtle Trackers help flatten sand structures, fill in holes, pick up litter, and “darken” Hilton Head’s 14-miles of beach to assure a clear path for nesting mamas and hatchlings headed to the ocean.
Weekly Turtle Trackers Learning Stations at the General Store
Additionally, Turtle Trackers set up Sea Turtle Learning Stations throughout the area to help educate visitors and residents about sea turtles and how to help protect them with proper beach etiquette. We are excited to welcome back Turtle Trackers again this year to the General Store!
A Learning Station will be set up outside in front of the General Store entrance on Mondays from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. starting May 22nd through August 14th. Be sure to stop by next time you see the tent out front or check the Turtle Tracker’s calendar for their upcoming Turtle Talk events.
Shellebrate Sea Turtles All Season Long
Even though World Turtle Day is just one day, Palmetto Dunes knows how to shellebrate sea turtles all nesting season long. In addition to stopping at one of the Turtle Trackers Learning Stations mentioned above, below are a few other events and ways you can celebrate sea turtles and enjoy the natural phenomena we are privileged to witness during nesting season.
Run or walk The Turtle Trot 5k, a family-friendly fun run series held weekly on the beach in June, July and August. Click here to register for a 2023 Turtle Trot.
Join members of the Sea Turtle Patrol and attend a Turtle Talk educational program on Wednesday nights June-August on the beach. Click here to register for a 2023 Turtle Talk.
Participate in keeping a clean beach by utilizing the “Beach Toy Borrow Bin” designed by the Hilton Head Island Sea Turtle Patrol to help keep plastics out of the ocean. Click here to read more on the new toy bin and its location.
Take home a turtle souvenir like one of these adorable sea turtles made of recycled plush material embroidered with the Palmetto Dunes Logo or a Hilton Head Island Turtle Mug sold right here at The General Store.
Whether visiting Hilton Head Island or you are lucky to call this island home, we invite you to join us in shellebrating our Loggerhead Sea Turtle residents during your next trip to Palmetto Dunes and help us keep them safe!