PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — In past summers beachgoers may have been able to have a chat about nesting turtles with Panama City Beach Turtle Watch volunteers traveling their morning and night routes. Due to the virus, however, that interaction has been severely limited.
The team of volunteers has been implementing safety protocols so they can continue their work tracking and marking sea turtle nests safely through the pandemic.
Jenn Sims, a volunteer who has been monitoring the beaches as a volunteer for six years said this summer is unlike any other. The small team of volunteers are traveling on their vehicles six or more feet apart while wearing their masks.
They are also trying to minimize the amount of time they are looking for and checking in on marked nests to avoid bumping into too many people on the beach, she said.
Sims said the nest excavations are typically a public event, but to avoid crowds of on-lookers they are now being offered virtually.
“We are going to be doing some Facebook Lives so that we can still share the excitement of the excavations, the potential to see hatch-lings, and see what the inside of a sea turtle nest looks like. So, we are still going to share that virtually and do our best to keep that as exciting.”
Jenn said the team is as anxious as everyone else for things to get back to normal so they can once more engage with people on the beach a little more personally once again.
For the time being, if anyone has any questions for the team they can visit their Facebook page and message any inquires here.