Volunteer Opportunities Available
The beaches of St. Johns County offer many volunteer opportunities to support habitat conservation efforts. Being a volunteer in one of the following programs means you are collecting important data and making observations that will benefit listed species. Space in each program is not guaranteed as there are limited opportunities. Programs offered are science-based, can be physically demanding, and volunteers must complete required training.
Beach Steward Sea Turtle Washback Program Volunteers Needed
This program calls for volunteers to survey the wrack line (line of seaweed) for sea turtles. These sea turtles are called 'washbacks', and are just a bit larger than a hatchling. Once the sea turtles hatch from their nests they swim in search of a large mass of seaweed where they find refuge and protection from larger predators. They forage here for an unknown amount of time while the seaweed floats with the currents and tides. Sometimes storms and high tide events from August through November cause this mass of seaweed to be pushed onto the beach. The washbacks are extremely tired, dehydrated and need medical attention.
This volunteer program is permitted through Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and coordinated through the efforts of a Volunteer Coordinator, Zone Captain and several volunteers that are responsible for a stretch of beach. Volunteers are responsible for committing the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month from July to November. Volunteers are also contacted through an on-call system, as we cannot predict when the seaweed will wash ashore.
Interested in volunteering for the Sea Turtle Washback Program?
Sea Turtle Patrol Program
From May 1 to October 31 dedicated marine turtle patrol volunteers survey the beaches at sunrise to post off the nest of sea turtles while collecting important data on nesting activities. While conducting nesting surveys volunteers must endure physically demanding conditions that are often hot, sandy, and buggy while collecting accurate scientific data.
This volunteer program is permitted through Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and coordinated through the efforts of a Marine Turtle Permit Holder. Available nesting survey positions are limited due to permitting restrictions and volunteers must complete extensive training provided by FWC, St. Johns County Habitat Conservation and the Marine Turtle Permit Holder responsible for specific stretches of beach.
Interested in volunteering for the Sea Turtle Patrol?
Bird Monitor Program
Bird Monitors help track nesting locations and the number of beach-nesting birds throughout the season (March to August). Bird stewards carry out two important tasks while out on the beaches: they minimize disturbance to the nests by guarding posted areas and reporting violations to law enforcement, and educate beach-goers about beach-nesting birds.
Interested in volunteering for the Bird Monitoring Program?