Art in Public Places: Surfside Turtles

By: Sara Liss

The town of Surfside commissioned local Florida artists to participate in a public arts program to pay homage to turtles.

Next to the Surfside Community Center is a public art exhibition featuring one of Surfside’s most beloved residents – the Florida Loggerhead Sea Turtle.

The “Turtle Walk” is located on 93rd Street between Collins and Harding avenues and is home to 13 turtle sculptures, each painted by a different renowned South Florida artist.

These amazing turtle sculptures are made of resin and fiberglass composite and stand five feet high with a flipper span of four feet. The exhibition was commissioned to bring awareness of sea turtle conservation, a cause near and dear to the residents of Surfside.

Artist Dania Sierra's turtle depicts an underwater ocean scene. Born in Cuba and exiled to the U.S.A. in 1962, she demonstrated an inclination for art at a young age and was a recipient of a fine arts scholarship to the University of Miami.

From Coral Springs, artist Ezi Algazi’s turtle depicts a beach scene and reflects his inspiration in his travels around the world where he captures the beauty of what he sees in landscapes, people and cultures.

Other artists include Jackie Roche, Marcy Grosso, Puchi Noriega, Nancy Martini, Johanna Boccardo, Trish Jesselli and Marcie Ziv.

The Importance of Turtle Conservation

Every year, the months of May through October is known as turtle nesting season and the beach at Surfside is a popular spot for mama turtles to lay their eggs. Centuries ago, sea turtles roamed our oceans by the millions. In the last 100 years their numbers have been greatly reduced. Today, humans are impacting the places where these ancient nomads have nested for thousands of years. Impacts to coastal areas are destroying their nesting habitat, putting the long-term survival of sea turtles in jeopardy.

The Florida Loggerhead is the most common sea turtle in Florida and is classified as a threatened, but not an endangered, species. Named because of its large head, which can be ten inches wide, it has powerful jaws used to crush the clams, crabs and other animals on which it feeds.

As many as 68,000 loggerhead nests are found in Florida each year – including those on Surfside Beach. Through sea turtle research, conservation and advocacy, sea turtle conservancy is addressing the threats to sea turtles and the natural habitats upon which they depend.

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