The Miami-Dade Parks’ Sea Turtle Conservation Program will be commemorating World Sea Turtle Day with a volunteer beach cleanup to celebrate sea turtle and ocean conservation, on Sunday, June 16, 9 a.m. – noon, at Crandon Park Nature Center, 6767 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne, FL 33149.

Every year on June 16, World Sea Turtle Day highlights the importance of sea turtles. For over millions of years, sea turtles have played a vital role in maintaining the health of the world’s oceans, stabilizing coastal habitats and offering mental health benefits when encountering these endangered species.  Miami-Dade County Sea Turtle Conservation Program has been part of these conservation efforts for over 40 years, on 19-miles of beaches, monitoring an average of 600 nests, documenting thousands of successful hatched nests, releasing hundreds of hatchlings and engaging over 4,000 participants increasing survivability and reducing threats to the endangered species.

Join Miami-Dade Parks to raise awareness and highlight the importance of sea turtles and ways to protect them!  Learn about how to adopt-a-nest, experience a sea turtle night release, and schedule a daytime nest excavation by connecting on social media @miamidadeseaturtles.

Participants of the volunteer beach cleanup will remove trash, microplastics and debris that pollute our oceans and harm marine animals, like the endangered sea turtle. Community service hours are available. Registration is required.

If you can’t join Miami-Dade Parks’ Sea Turtle Conservation Program  on June 16, here is a list of things you can do to celebrate sea turtles any day of the year (especially during Miami-Dade County Sea Turtle Season March 1 – Oct. 31):

1. Turn off your lights.  If you live in a beach-front residence, turn your lights off. Lights cause nesting and hatchling turtles to wander. Simple thing like closing your blinds, turning off your lights or using sea turtle friendly lighting encourages nesting and helps hatchlings go in the right direction.

2. Clean up the beach. Remove any waste from beaches that might hinder a turtle’s nesting. A clean beach will ensure that turtles have a clean nesting ground. Also, knock down sand castles and fill in holes so that the ground is flat and there is nothing in the way of hatchlings when they’re making their way to the ocean.

3. Recycle. Plastic that ends up in the ocean gets eaten up by turtles because they believe the plastic is jellyfish. Over 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris. So buying and using products that decrease the use of plastic helps tremendously.