Current Issues and Recent Developments in Sea Turtle Health and Rehabilitation
Brian Stacy, DVM, PhD and Terry Norton, DVM, DACZM

This lecture-based workshop will include presentations on select topics in sea turtle health and rehabilitation, focusing on current issues and recent developments.  Specific topical areas to be covered will include causes of sea turtle strandings, current therapy, and hot topics in sea turtle rehabilitation.  There will also be a group discussion on “Things that work and things that don’t”. We ask for workshop participants prepare for this ahead of time. Brian Stacy, DVM, PhD and Terry Norton, DVM, DACZM will lead the workshop with other selected speakers. This will be an all day workshop.

Potential topics to be covered (depending on attendees interests) include current health issues from the eastern US

-Emaciated loggerheads (current therapy, unanswered questions)
-Caryospora infections – an emerging disease of green turtles in the SE US?
-Brevetoxicosis and sea turtle strandings in FL (A. Foley)
-Newly encountered biotoxins (domoic acid, saxitoxin)
-Fibropapillomatosis: new guidelines for captive management
– Rehabilitation specific topics e.g., euthanasia, tagging (Ann Marie Lauritsen)
-NOAA/USFWS oil response and NRDA guidelines for sea turtles
-Medical and surgical management of traumatic injuries in sea turtles

Download Agenda (pdf)

(Full Day)


Careers with Sea Turtles: Living your Passion
Annie Page-Karjian, David Godfrey, Niki Desjardin, Allen Foley

This workshop will explore careers in the world of sea turtle conservation that are not centered around research in an academic setting.  Aimed at students, trainees and mid-career professionals considering a change, this half day session on Tuesday, February 13th (am) will include presentations and group discussions about alternative professions focused on sea turtle monitoring, research, conservation, education and advocacy.  What is the job like on a day to day basis?  What are the rewards and pitfalls?  How should one prepare for a similar career trajectory?  Come get a firsthand glimpse of what it is like to work as a research veterinarian, for an environmental consulting firm, a non-profit organization, or a government agency.

(Half Day, morning)


Workshop on Effective Political Advocacy Work
David Helvarg, Blue Frontier, Erin Pate, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League

This workshop will explore political advocacy in advancing science-based marine conservation projects such as sea turtle conservation.  It will help participants better understand state and federal policymaking, different forms of field organizing, citizen lobbying at the state level in the Southeast and at the federal level with agencies and on Capitol Hill.  It will also review new challenges in confronting the radical shift in Ocean Policy that has taken place between the Obama and Trump administrations.  Some role-playing and lots of interactive discussion will take place.

(Half Day, afternoon)


Organizing Volunteers on Sea Turtle Projects
Jeannie Martin, local groups

Thousands of volunteers work with sea turtles from Virginia through Texas, and they play a vital role for conservation and management of sea turtles in the SE Region. Their duties include (but are not limited to): monitoring and protecting nests, surveying for stranded sea turtles, sea turtle rehabilitation and release, public awareness and education, and data collection/submission. While the organization and coordination of volunteers varies across the region, there are many common themes and issues that all volunteers groups must address. The aim of our workshop is to provide a venue for discussion and sharing of ideas and experiences among different volunteer groups, in order to learn from each other. Topics for discussion may include: designing and implementing education campaigns, ways to engage episodic volunteers, organizational tools or needs, dealing with difficult volunteers. etc.

(Half Day, afternoon)


Detection Dogs for Conservation
Rachel Smith, Blair Witherington, Pepe Peruyero, Rebekah Lindborg (and featuring Captain Ron)

Disney’s Conservation Team, in partnership with Pepedogs, has trained and implemented a scent detection dog to conduct both sea turtle nest surveys and gopher tortoise census surveys. After completing an initial proof-of-concept with a beagle from Pepedogs, we adopted our own rescue dog and have taken on all aspects of her care and behavioral maintenance. Here, we describe the necessary steps to acquiring, training, and maintaining a scent detection dog, as well as permitting guidance for using detection dogs to conserve endangered species like sea turtles. Is a scent detection dog the right decision for your program? We are here to help you answer that question! Please join us to learn about the benefits (and additional responsibilities) of this new frontier in conservation.

(Starts at 1:00 pm)