Members of the St Lucie County Board of County Commissioner’s Sea Turtle Friendly Beaches Working Group were recognized for their innovative outreach efforts and dedication to residents and visitors working to protect sea turtles during nesting season. The Treasure Coast Chapter of the Florida Association of Environmental Professionals (TCC-FAEP) recognized the working group’s co-chairs, Ken Gioeli (UF/IFAS Extension St Lucie County Natural Resources Extension Agent) and Monica Graziani (St Lucie County Building and Code Regulation Manager) as representatives of this group effort. They received the TCC-FAEP Education and Outreach Award for the St Lucie County Sea Turtle Lighting and Nest Protection Initiative.
St Lucie County is home to twenty-one miles of critical sea turtle nesting beaches. Three species of sea turtles nesting on county beaches are listed as either threatened or endangered. Improper beach front lighting during nesting season can imperil sea turtles. This working group conducts outreach efforts designed to teach residents and visitors about proper beach etiquette and how adjustments can be made to exterior lighting to protect sea turtles during nesting season.
TCC-FAEP is a multidisciplinary professional association of environmental professionals from a variety of disciplines including biologists, scientists, geologists, environmental engineers, environmental attorneys, wetland scientists, botanists, planners, and many other disciplines that perform environmental work. They recognized award winners Gioeli and Graziani at their annual awards ceremony on December 6, 2017 in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
The St Lucie County Sea Turtle Friendly Beaches Working Group is a collaboration between various St Lucie County agencies such as the UF/IFAS Extension, Environmental Resources Department, Public Information Office, Erosion Control District, St Lucie County and City of Fort Pierce Code Compliance, the Manatee Observation and Education Center, Ecological Associates, the Florida Master Naturalists of St Lucie County.
For additional information about this award, contact Ken Gioeli, UF/IFAS Extension St Lucie County Natural Resources Extension Agent, at (772) 462-1660 or Monica Graziani, St Lucie County Building and Code Regulation Manager, at (772) 462-1599. Jennifer Báez is the 2017 President of the Treasure Coast Chapter of the Florida Association of Environmental Professionals. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.