This time of year brings lots of visitors to Beaufort County’s sandy beaches — and not just visitors of the human variety. If you’re a fan of the Fripp Island Turtle Team’s Facebook page, you know loggerhead turtles have been nesting on Fripp.
I recently met Janie Lackman, who coordinates the Fripp turtle watch, through my wife, who is a classmate in the LowCountry Institute’s Master Naturalist program. I loved the photos Janie and her team were posting on Facebook and asked her to put together a collection for an online gallery at Untamed Lowcountry.
So that’s what you see here.
The team is one of several authorized by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources for official nest monitoring. Similar groups patrol beaches at Hunting, Harbor and Hilton Head islands.
DNR began monitoring sea turtle nesting activities and strandings in the late 1970s and uses the information it collects to manage sea turtle nests and protection projects on all of the state's beaches. There are about 300 kilometers of ocean-facing sandy beaches in South Carolina that provide suitable nesting habitat for sea turtles, according to the DNR website.
Loggerheads, green turtles, leatherbacks and (rarely) Kemp’s ridleys sea turtle nests have been recorded on South Carolina beaches, DNR reports. Leatherback turtles occasionally nest on Beaufort County beaches.
You can learn more about the Fripp team on its website. I’ll also be making a trip to Fripp soon and will share more information and photos.