The Florida State Parks Foundation announced today that a major grant from The Batchelor Foundation will help fund needed repairs to the outdoor turtle tank at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park.
The Sea Turtle Ambassador Education Program educates people about the critical need for a healthy marine environment and the sea turtles are the centerpiece of these activities.” said Foundation President Gil Ziffer.
One ambassador loggerhead female sea turtle is received at about six months of age and housed in a tank inside the visitor center. After about two years, she is moved to a large outdoor tank vacated by another turtle that has been released back into the wild. The survival chances for the released turtles are higher because of their greater size. The rotation continues so that there are always two turtles on view, – one indoors and one outdoors.
“The Batchelor Foundation provided funds for the installation of the indoor tank in 2008, and they have generously agreed to help fund critical repairs now needed for the outdoor tank,” said Ziffer.
“Properly operating aquarium equipment will mean the Sea Turtle Ambassador Education Program will continue to safely house and nurture two female sea turtles so that people can learn and be inspired to protect them,” he said.
Because of the tremendous support from the Friends of MacArthur, the state park is the only one in Florida to have a full-time education director. Because of this, MacArthur maintains a multi-year partnership with Palm Beach County Schools to provide marine education to K-12 school aged children. This park is a valuable marine learning center for the school children of the community.
Additional funding is needed to carry out other work as part of the ongoing program.
The Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.
It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy.
The volunteer Board of Directors represent private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests.