The annual event had more than 1,000 participants on April 7.
Sea turtle nesting season is just a few weeks away, but supporters of the flippered-animals are thinking of them in the off-season.
On April 7, more than 1,000 people gathered on Siesta Beach for Mote Marine Laboratory’s 32nd Annual Run for the Turtles.
The morning began with registration at 6:30 a.m. and the 1-mile fun-run/walk at 7:30 a.m. Following, the Manasota Track Club-sanctioned 5K took place at 8:00 a.m. Throughout the morning, Mote’s mascots Shelley the Sea Turtle and Gilly the Shark were on hand to provide high-fives, photo opportunities and laughs to the participants.
The Run provides support for Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program. In the next couple weeks, Mote scientists and volunteers will begin their 37th year of sea turtle conservation.
Mote and volunteers monitor beaches from Longboat Key through Venice each sea turtle nesting season, which concludes in October. In 2016, a record 4,5888 nests were counted, and in 2017, 4,503 nests were tallied.