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April 16, 2012
Michelle Coats, APR, CPRC
Community Information Specialist

Celebrate Turtle Day at Marine Science Center April 21

Since 2002, Volusia County’s Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet has cared for thousands of turtles, birds and more.

Again this year, hundreds of residents are expected to join the county in celebrating animal rehabilitation and raising awareness about marine life and the environment as the Marine Science Center stages its 10th annual Turtle Day from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Saturday, April 21.

Beachside animal releases will end the day on an exciting note at 3 p.m. Releases will be at the Beach Street ramp in Ponce Inlet.

Marine Science Center Director Michael Brothers anticipates another strong Turtle Day turnout.

“There is a wide assortment of activities for our guests to enjoy as well as plenty of food,” said Brothers. “This year Turtle Day will feature special opportunities to meet our glove-trained birds of prey and get a close-up view of these magnificent birds. Come visit our Triage Tent sponsored by Florida Health Care and bandage a stuffed animal and learn how our animal rehabilitation staff takes care of injured birds and sea turtles.”

A wide range of artists and crafters will join environmental groups such as the Halifax River Audubon Society, Canaveral National Seashore, the Volusia/Flagler Turtle Patrol and the Volusia Sea Turtle Society. There will also be crafts, face painting, live music, food and Ritter’s ice cream.

“We are grateful to our sponsors Chick-fil-A; the Daytona Beach News-Journal; Florida Health Care Plans; Hollywood Theaters of Port Orange; and Ritter’s Legendary Ice Cream,” said Brothers.

As of April 2012, the MSC received 936 juvenile to adult size sea turtles, 15,418 hatchlings and washbacks, and 842 miscellaneous reptiles (gopher tortoises, freshwater turtles and snakes), bringing the total number of reptiles received by the Marine Science Center to 17,196 since it opened in 2002.

The April 21 event will culminate in the likely release of a sea turtle from the sea turtle rehabilitation center. Several gulls and pelicans are scheduled to be released as well. The Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Facility at the MSC has received 8,961 birds since opening in 2004. Sea turtle and seabird releases are subject to change due to animal health or environmental conditions.

Friends of the Marine Science Center, a group of residents who support the Marine Science Center with fundraising and volunteering, will co-host the event.

For more information about Turtle Day, please call the Marine Science Center at 386-304-5545. Visit the MSC on the web at www.marinesciencecenter.com.