WISTA USA participates in Florida sea turtle release program

(HOLLYWOOD, Fla.) — Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) USA Florida Chapter participated in a sea turtle release with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program (BCSTCP) and Nova Southeastern University (NSU) on July 26. Forty-nine WISTA members and guests attended the hatchling release, which raised $1,000 for the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program.

“As maritime professionals, WISTA members understand the significant role we can play to protect the habitats, nesting areas, and life cycle of sea creatures. Collaborating with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program for this event gave us a personal experience with these magnificent turtles and a great education in what our community does and what we can do to help protect them,” said Lesley Karentz, WISTA USA Florida Chapter co-president and STAR Center medical training manager.

The event consists of an educational component at NSU’s Ocean Campus, located inside Port Everglades, and the hatchling release at the Marine Environmental Education Center (MEEC) at the historic Carpenter House on Hollywood’s North Beach. Thirty loggerhead turtle hatchlings were released by the group.

NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography manages the BCSTCP in partnership with Broward County. The program provides for the conservation of endangered and threatened sea turtle species within Broward County.

Florida accounts for approximately 70 percent of the nation's sea turtle nesting, and southeast Florida, from the Space Coast to the Gold Coast, is the most important nesting area in the world for loggerhead sea turtles, hosting 40 percent of global loggerhead nesting. Broward County serves as a consistent nesting area of three specific species of sea turtles: the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtle, the green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtle, and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) sea turtle. By monitoring nests and creating public awareness, the BCSTCP helps protect these imperiled species.

WISTA USA has more than 500 members in 10 regional chapters. WISTA USA Florida Chapter organizes workshops, seminars, conferences and professional development activities to support female executives in shipping and create business opportunities. In addition, WISTA USA Florida Chapter organizes community service events each year, including a Shoebox Christmas event to support Seafarers’ House at Port Everglades, and most recently collaborated with Resolve Marine Group to host an event to benefit Dress for Success and Florida Breast Cancer Association.

For more information on WISTA USA, visit www.wista.net/us.

By Professional Mariner Staff