animal rescue, Beach, Devotionals, Endangered Species, Inspirational, Life Lessons, Nature, Navarre Beach, Sea Turtles, Volunteering

5 Ways Gigi Inspires Me

This is the final installment of my three-part series about sea turtles. In MEET GIGI, I told you about a blind loggerhead sea turtle we met at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center. TEN FACTS ABOUT LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES provided more information about sea turtles and their plight.

 gigi

Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center’s motto: Giving Sea Turtles More Tomorrows

As you can tell, I’m still pumped about our visit to NBSTCC last month.

I’m Always Up for Shopping

And you probably know, there was  no way I was leaving without visiting their gift shop, the Seamore Store. It’s manned by–you guessed it–volunteers. We met two delightful ladies, Cinnamon Holderman and Christy Meyer.

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Don’t you love Christy’s red turtle girls rock shirt. I want one.

 

sea-turtle-chair
I suppose the largest souvenir we could have carted home from NBSTCC was this turtle chair. We decided to pass on it.

But I did try on t-shirts and admired toys, books, photographs & paintings, along with lots of other items crafted by locals. I can’t believe I didn’t buy a T-Shirt. (Well, I would have if they’d had my size in the one I wanted. Next time.)

I did bring home a few items.

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That red sea turtle circle in the middle goes on the end of your flashlight to soften the light’s impact on the sea turtles that might be hatching on the beach.

NBSTCC didn’t happen overnight. In 2011, this group cast a vision for creating a center to educate the many visitors to the island on the plight of sea turtles and provide a place where rescued turtles could be rehabilitated. You can even sign up to volunteer while you’re there. They told us a couple from my hometown of Searcy, Arkansas, was volunteering soon. How cool is that?

When I volunteer at NBSTCC, I want to work in the Seamore Store, maybe with Cinnamon and Christy. I want to wear one of those blue volunteer t-shirts, too. (Yeah, I want two shirts.)

In closing, if you vacation in Florida, I encourage you to also Navarre Beach Marine Park just next to it. You’ll see the buildings just beyond Gigi’s home.

NBMP actually predates NBSTCC  and is a larger success story that began in 2009. It works for and promotes all forms of local sea conservation through programs and onsite educational offerings. Their latest project involves a grant for a mobile unit to go out to schools and community events.

They cast a large vision when they launched this volunteer organization.

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We saw a model of how they go about restoring coral reefs.

At NBMP, you can snorkel or scuba dive along one of the manmade coral reefs or take out a glass-bottom kayak and watch the sea life from the surface. You might even encounter one of those magnificent sea turtles. (The reefs in the Santa Rosa Sound might be better for snorkeling.)

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NBMP’s story is truly worthy of its own series. I plan doing that–right after I kayak out to one of those reefs in the sound. Next trip.

Life is so much richer when we venture out beyond ourselves. I’m amazed when I look at groups and foundations right here in Arkansas that began by someone seeing a need and embracing the vision to meet it.

What’s your passion?

Where’s your next adventure?

I really want to know.

 

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord 

as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14

animal rescue, Beaches, Endangered Species, Florida, God's Creatures, Navarre Beach, Sea Turtles, Volunteering

TEN FACTS ABOUT LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES

gigi2

Last week I told you about meeting Gigi, a blind loggerhead sea turtle that recently found a new home at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center (NBSTCC). If you missed her story, you can read it here.

Since meeting Gigi and her human friends, I’ve done a little research about loggerheads. Here are ten things I learned.

  1. Loggerheads (Genus: Caretta, Species: caretta) are the most abundant marine turtles in the US waters. However, according to National Geographic, they’ve been considered a threatened species since 1978. Their decline in population is due to pollution, fishing, shrimp trawling and development in their nesting areas.
  2. Loggerheads have a slightly heart-shaped reddish brown shell (carapace) with five or more scales (scutes). Their bottom shell (plastron) is yellow.
  3. An adult male loggerhead can measure up to 3½ feet long and weigh 375 pounds according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. However they’ve been known to weigh as much as 1000 pounds. Gigi weighs just a little less than 200.
  4. Loggerheads have massive heads to support the powerful jaws they use to crack the shells of crustaceans. (The better to eat them with.) According to the National Wildlife Federation, babies start out nibbling on small sea creatures found in sargassum mats. As they mature, they move on to mollusks, jelly fish and other fish.  To get to a video of a loggerhead chasing a lobster, click here.
  5. Loggerheads have short thick front flippers with claws. The rear flippers can have two or three claws. Gigi uses hers along the pool edge to orient herself and push off.
  6. Loggerheads don’t mate until they’re ten or twelve, and females don’t fully mature until they’re 35, which is the age Gigi’s rescuers estimate her to be.
  7. Loggerheads can migrate thousands of miles to return to their place of birth for nesting.
  8. In the United States, Loggerheads nest every two or three years along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Florida and as far as Alabama and Mississippi on the Gulf of Mexico. They also nest in Japan and the Indian Ocean.
  9. Loggerheads lay an average of four clutches of 100-120 ping-pong-ball-sized eggs a couple of weeks apart. Incubation time is about 60 days.
  10. The temperature of the sand determines the sex of the turtles. When the sand is cool, more males are hatched. The warmer the sand, the more females are produced. As one of the volunteers quipped, “Boys are cool and girls are hot.” (Only he paused and let us supply that last adjective.)

One thing gives me hope for loggerheads. They have lots of human friends working to keep them safe. At National Geographic, you can watch a video of volunteers moving eggs from Gulf Shores, Alabama, during the oil spill crisis to climate-controlled storage at NASA Kennedy Space Center. After they hatched, they were released at Cape Canaveral. Lucky little turtles.

Next time, I’ll wrap up with more news about Gigi and the NBSTCC.

How many living things you have made, O Lord!
You have exhibited great skill in making all of them;
the earth is full of the living things you have made.
25 Over here is the deep, wide sea,
which teems with innumerable swimming creatures,
living things both small and large.

Psalm 104:24-25

animal rescue, companions, dogs, family pets, Savannah

FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS

I’ve been thinking about how much joy pets bring to our lives. Terry and I are more cat people because their independence fits our lifestyle, but we had several dogs when the children were growing up. I’m impressed with the number of people who rescue animals, as well as how the digital world has made the process so much easier. Both man and beast are blessed when they find one another. I hope you enjoy some of the canines featured today.

Savannah advertises itself as a Dog Friendly city. We found that to be a fact. There was a parade of pups with their owners staying at our hotel. Here are some of the pooch friends we met there.

Taco

Taco looked macho in his military green.
 
Spanish Ladies

 These two dolls have Spanish monikers. The one on the left is named for a brand of Spanish coffee. Her friend on the right is Canela, which means cinnamon. 
 
Billie

 
Billie wasn’t too keen on going out into the rain. The first time we saw her, she was stiffed-legged, straining against the leash as her master resolutely headed for the hotel door. The floor was slick so she slid along toward the wet world outside. Conscientious owners like him are probably one of the reasons dogs are welcome there.
 
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Isa. 30:21a
 
Arlo Guthrie
 
Arlo Guthrie is an unusual name for such a handsome Frenchman. We asked if he were a show dog. The owner said no, but she had been told he was show-dog quality.
I agree, don’t you?

Gabby

  
Carolyn’s granddaughter, Reagan, holds their new rescued miniature poodle, Gabby.
This lucky pooch has wiggled his way into the hearts of the entire family.
wish I’d gotten a good picture of him in his pumpkin Halloween costume.
 


A Few More Lucky Dogs

Sally

 
Sally is a small Lab who belongs to my friends, Don and Donna. She’s getting on in years and has hip problems that keep her from hunting. I love it that she hobbles over for me to pet her when I drop by. She and Don are still almost inseparable. She doesn’t need as much church as he does though.


Harry

 
  Another fortunate dog, Harry, lives the life of Riley with the Jefferies. They had no plans to own a dog until this stray stole their hearts. Don’t let that toothy under bite intimidate you.
He just never had the opportunity for orthodontics.
He’s really a friendly little critter.
 

Boo

Boo, a Rat Terrier, may be little on the outside, but he has a big spirit. A working dog, he herds any wildlife that needs rounding up. Boo lives with his owners, Cliff and Debbie, on a farm not far from Greenbrier. He is a poster child for obedience but loves to chase and catch squirrels when his people allow it.

Annabelle & Lucy

Annabelle and Lucy belong to friends, Talya and John.
These Dallas girls are great watch dogs.
No squirrels will get in their house ever!

Pokey

Pokey lives the good life in Beebe with my writing friend Dot and her grandson, Phillip.
He was rescued from along side the road near Pocahontas, thus the name which stuck.
She says he’s part Lab and who knows what else!

 
 
 

My GrandDogs

Max & Milo

 Carolyn and Karen met Max and Milo along with Maria, Brad and Caroline on the way to Savannah. (Emily, on the left, is away at college.) They adopted Max, the terrier, first, but he was so skittish and shy, they decided to get another dog to keep him company. Max perked up the moment he saw Milo, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. From the picture you’ll see these two have been part of the Day family a long time. Emily is a sophomore at the University of Alabama and Caroline is in the 9th grade now.

Two more fortunate canines who are greatly loved.

Houston

 

Houston Johnson belongs to our youngest son, Erik, and his group.
This little guy happily shares his home with a passel of kids and cats.
They’re a loving bunch.

Lucky & Jack

Our oldest, Gary, has always had dogs. Both rescues, Lucky, an Australian Shepherd, and Jack, a Blue Heeler, are full of affection. You could get licked to death at their house. Jack is an escape artist who causes his owner angst from time to time, but you’d never know it from talking to Jack!

Kaali

Kaali and Blu belong to Gary’s special friend, Pamela.
We love it that all three of these girls spend lots of time
hanging out with Gary, Lucky and Jack.
Blu



Last But Not Least

Minnie

 

A family portrait wouldn’t have been complete without Minnie. She wandered into our lives after the terrible tornado in 1952 that blew away the small nearby town of Judsonia. Her terror of storms and the way she cowered and panted at the first hint of one’s approach made us wonder what she went through that day. Mother said she always knew which house we were in because Minnie was waiting faithfully on the front porch for us to come out. Mom fed her hamburger meat on a regular basis. Guess that would be contra-indicated these days. She died eleven years later when I was a junior in high school.

 
Tell me about your favorite canine friends, past or present. Send a picture and I’ll share it.

Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
 I Sam. 15:22