Take the Turtle Walk in Surfside

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By: Jennifer Agress

As a coastal community, the Town of Surfside has made it a part of its mission to save the planet—and with that, Florida Loggerhead sea turtles. Florida Loggerheads, named because of their large heads, are the most common type of sea turtle found in Florida. While millions of turtles roamed our oceans hundreds of years ago, today, the human impact on their environments has caused them to become a threatened species.

sea turtle next to coral underwater
Surfside works hard to ensure the preservation of thousands of sea turtles

Even with those statistics, almost 68,000 loggerhead nests are still found in Florida every year during nesting season, which runs from May to October. And because the beaches in Surfside are a popular spot for turtles to lay their eggs, the community is leading efforts in sea turtle research, conservation and advocacy. Today, Surfside helps protect the local sea turtle community by prohibiting the distribution, sale or use of disposable plastic straws in any commercial establishment, Town facility or Town property, or by any special event permittee. The town is also working closely with the Miami-Dade County Sea Turtle Conservation Program, and has partnered with third-party organizations like Debris Free Oceans and Miami is Not Plastic. For those interested in learning more about sea turtle conservation, The Sea Turtle Awareness Program hosts educational, 45-minute PowerPoint presentations about sea turtles and takes attendees on a trip to the beach to release Loggerhead hatchlings out to sea.

surfside turtle sculptures
Check out the turtle sculptures along the Surfside Turtle Walk

Tales of the Surfside Turtles

One of the most compelling ways the Town of Surfside brings awareness about sea turtle conservation is through a citywide art activation called the “Turtle Walk.” Located right next to the Surfside Community Center, on 93rd Street between Collins and Harding avenues, this public art exhibition includes a series of 13 colorful turtle sculptures made of resin and fiberglass, each painted by a different renowned local artist. The Town of Surfside commissioned these artists specifically for this installation.

Standing five feet high, with a flipper span of four feet, it’s hard to miss these vibrant sculptures. One turtle created by Cuban artist Dania Sierra, who attended the University of Miami on a fine arts scholarship, depicts an underwater ocean scene. Another one has different creatures and a scuba diver swimming through the sea and was inspired by Coral Springs artist Ezi Algazi’s travels around the world. Other artists featured in the exhibit include: Derrick Wilson, DL Watson, Jacklyn Laflamme, Mano, Roberto Garcia Marquez, Sandra Suarez, Mary J. Rose, Marcy Grosso, Nancy Martini and Janie Casoria. Together, these sculptures have proven to be a creative, fun way to shed light on the importance of sea turtle conservation and put these threatened animals in the public eye.

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