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My SEA Story: From Trash to Turtles

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

My name is Renee and I moved to St. Croix from Indiana in June 2015. Having been very involved in the environmental community in Indiana, it was important to me that I plug in to that network upon moving to St. Croix. Part in jest (because of my lack of experience with marine wildlife), I proclaimed that I wanted to save sea turtles!

My first experience with St. Croix Environmental Association was in mid-September. I attended the Coastweeks Cleanup at Southgate beach where my husband, Chris, and I logged a lot of trash. Then, just a couple weeks later…

Would you believe that I happened upon a hatchling in the parking lot of a hotel?! Knowing that it was a delicate situation, I made multiple phone calls until I got the appropriate directions on how to handle the tiny turtle. Releasing that turtle that evening was so special to me.

In Spring 2016, I attended a SEA sea turtle watch at Sandy Point. That night, I got to see a huge Leatherback sea turtle dig her nest and lay her eggs. It was incredible, but it gets better still! Later that year, Jen from SEA invited me to learn how to monitor the beach for sea turtle nesting and hatchling activity. I was taught how to look for tracks, how to record data that helps us better understand sea turtles and the health of our ocean, and how to properly tend to a recently hatched nest.

Now I’m preparing to start my fourth year of volunteer sea turtle monitoring with SEA, patrolling Southgate Beach weekly and recording activity. I have logged 50+ nests and have helped several little baby turtles make their way into the the vast sea.

I’m also proud to report that my husband and I haven’t missed a Coastweeks Cleanup at Southgate yet! And I have the pleasure of working for SEA helping fundraise for our meaningful work here on St. Croix.

If you would like to support SEA’s efforts to give people like me unique and life-changing experiences, donate now. Gifts made from April 15-30 will be matched by Diageo USVI!

Our first Coastweeks Cleanup

My first sea turtle rescue!

Our second Coastweeks Cleanup

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