Turtle Trackers

July 27, 2023

Turtle Trackers of Hilton Head Island, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, was established in 2016 to assist with the preservation efforts for endangered sea turtles nesting on Hilton Head Island and to educate the public for the protection of the sea turtle hatchlings headed to the ocean.

Turtle Trackers relies on the generosity of donors and grants to fund its operation. To make certain that funding exists for years to come, Turtle Trackers recently established the Sea Turtle Preservation Endowment Fund with Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.

The purpose of the fund is to ensure that resources for sea turtle preservation efforts and programs will continue to be available to fulfill the mission of Turtle Trackers, said Turtle Trackers President Beverly Crylen.

Turtle Trackers began with a Sea Pines chapter and has expanded to six chapters island-wide with more than 550 members.

Programs include on-beach activities to ensure the beach is clean, flat, and dark for nesting sea turtles who come ashore beginning in May to lay their eggs, as well as for the hatchlings who make their way from their nests to the sea. The sea turtle nesting and hatching season on Hilton Head Island runs from May through October.

Turtle Trackers utilizes informed volunteers for Sea Turtle Patrol educational presentations, in-school education for local elementary school students, operates Sea Turtle Learning Stations at various locations throughout the island during sea turtle season, and provides materials and educational programs for tourists vacationing on island resorts.

Turtle Trackers members provide sea turtle protection and education along the Hilton Head Island’s 14 miles of beach.

“It literally takes a village to provide the education and protections necessary for successful sea turtle preservation,” said Crylen. “We expect our needs to expand in the years to come as Hilton Head continues to flourish as a desirable eco-tourism and vacation destination, as well as a second- and permanent-home location.”

The partnership between Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and Turtle Trackers goes back to 2016 when the original Sea Turtle Preservation Fund was created.

The Community Foundation staff plays an administrative role in managing the Turtle Trackers’ funds and provided guidance and recommendations for Turtle Trackers leadership.