Georgia Southern provides shelter to animals from Georgia Sea Turtle Center
In the midst of Hurricane Matthew, residents of coastal Georgia were not the only ones taking to the evacuation routes. A gopher tortoise, diamondback terrapins, box turtles, sea turtles, additional turtles, an owl and a wood stork from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island took shelter on Georgia Southern University’s campus as the hurricane passed through the region.
In preparation for the storm, students, faculty and staff with Georgia Southern University worked with the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to assist with the relocation of just under 80 of the Center’s animals to the University’s facilities and assisted in facilitating shelter for the Center’s staff and their families. More than 30 volunteers from several departments within the University’s College of Science and Mathematics, including biology, geology and geography, and physics, as well as staff from the University’s Physical Plant department and Office of Public Safety, worked to ensure a smooth transition for the animals to their storm shelter on campus.
The animals returned to their home on Jekyll Island on Oct. 17. Fortunately, the animals, staff and facility of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center weathered the storm without harm.
Georgia Southern University has led the longest-running sea turtle research program, a conservation program, on the Georgia coast. The 28-year-old Sea Turtle Program at St. Catherines Island has three major components, including conservation of nesting sea turtles on the Georgia coast, research into the nesting ecology of Georgia’s sea turtles, and education of both students and teachers in science content and science process skills.