Of the seven species of sea turtle on the planet, six are found in U. S. waters, and all six species are endangered or threatened.
When it comes to species like sea turtles, conservation isn’t just the job of any one agency or organization. It takes everyone — biologists, volunteers, and communities — working together to ensure a future for these spectacular species.
We are taking you across the country to meet just a few of the people and agencies that have a hand in conserving and protecting these incredible species for future generations of people.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge — Florida
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is part of the largest span of undeveloped stretch of coastline in Florida.
The refuge traces its beginnings to the development of the Space Program. In 1962, NASA acquired land, water, and marshes adjacent to Cape Canaveral to establish the John F. Kennedy Space Center. After the launch complex was built, development of most of the area was not necessary.
Today, the Department of Interior manages most of the unused portions of the Kennedy Space Center as Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore.
All that space allows for thousands of loggerheads, greens, and leatherback sea turtles to nest and hatch every year.
Want to learn more
- about Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge?
- about Canaveral National Seashore?
- about how you can volunteer to help sea turtles?
Padre Island National Seashore — Texas
Thereʻs something for everyone at Padre Island National Seashore.
Padre Island National Seashore is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world. The National Seashore and surrounding waters provide important habitat for marine and terrestrial plants and animals, including a number of rare, threatened, and endangered species. It is also the only location in Texas where nests from five species of sea turtle have been found.
Want to learn more:
- about sea turtle conservation at Padre Island National Seashore.
- about how you can see a hatchling release at Padre Island.
- about volunteering to help sea turtles at Padre Island.
Pacific and Hawaiian Islands — Hawaii
There are three species of sea turtles (or honu, as they are called in Hawaiian) native to the Hawaiian Islands: the Green, the Hawksbill, and the Leatherback. Although Hawaiian Green sea turtles can been seen basking on beaches across the Hawaiian islands, 90% of them nest on a remote spec of land called French Frigate Shoals in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
- about safely viewing Hawaiian sea turtles (downloadable guide).
- about volunteering to help protect sea turtles in Hawaii.
- sea turtle research in the remote Hawaiian islands.
Inspiring Sea Turtle Stories
Sometimes biologists have to step in and provide a helping hand when working with endangered species.
Read about how biologists solved the mystery of the Kemp’s Ridley and discovered new mysteries to solve…
Volunteers and Communities Get the Job Done!
Every year thousands of ordinary people spend their time and energy volunteering to watch over and protect sea turtle nests during hatching season. Ordinary people watch for and report stranded turtles. And communities work together to take steps that help protect endangered species. Together, we can secure a future for sea turtles.