Do you know that just beyond the boundaries of Charleston lies some of the most important land and water for loggerhead sea turtles? Comprised of over 66,000 undeveloped acres that includes four barrier islands (and just a ferry ride away!) is Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. So, what’s so special about Cape Romain?
As part of the the longest stretch of continually protected coastline on the east coast, Cape Romain (and its 22-mile stretch) holds the honor of being the most densely populated location for loggerhead sea turtle nests on the east coast after Florida. Nearly 2,000 nests are laid on the barrier island beaches each year. To put that number in perspective, each nest holds about 100 or so eggs – so annually, about 200,000 hatchlings can call Cape Romain their birthplace!
That’s a pretty significant area of land to protect from natural threats like hungry wildlife and changing tides, but Cape Romain’s nest count and hatching rate is incredibly successful thanks to their volunteer program. These dedicated folks help make sure hatchlings reach the sea through routine nest monitoring and relocation. The days can be strenuous and humid, but the reward is far greater. How amazing is it to say that you helped contribute to conserving the future population of sea turtles?
Many people may not know that they too can experience this scenic locale where sea turtle stories begin. Coastal Expeditions operates the ferry to Bulls Island on Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. The ferry leaves from Garris Landing in Awendaw every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with special trips often running on Sundays. Reservations can be made at www.coastalexpeditions.com or by calling/texting 843-884-7684.
If you are interested in volunteering with Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, email Tricia at [email protected].