Employee Spotlight: Nita Martin – Protecting Tybee Island’s Sea Turtles

Discover how Nita Martin, our Financial/ERP Systems Analyst, finds work-life balance by volunteering for the Georgia Sea Turtle project on Tybee Island. Join us as we delve into her inspiring efforts to protect these incredible creatures and their nests.

When loggerhead sea turtle nesting season rolls around (that’s from May 1 to mid-September), Nita joins a fantastic group of 70 volunteers for an exciting activity known as “dawn patrol” on the beach. They stroll along the sandy shores of Tybee Island, eyes peeled for those telltale signs of sea turtle tracks and nests. It’s like being a real-life detective on a sandy treasure hunt!

One of Nita’s essential tasks is carefully cataloging the nests they find, making note of how many eggs are snuggled within each one. But here’s where the plot thickens: sometimes, these nests need a change of scenery! The team, with Nita at the forefront, steps in and carefully relocates these nests to higher ground to keep those eggs safe and sound. Talk about teamwork and resourcefulness!

But that’s not all. Nita and her crew are the true sea turtle whisperers. They’re in constant contact with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), ensuring a seamless partnership in their conservation efforts. They’re even working with the University of Georgia to collect DNA samples from different nests and have discovered cases where generations of turtles have nested on Tybee Island, from daughters and mothers to even grandmothers.

Once the nests reach the gestation period, Nita and her fellow volunteers take turns becoming nest sitters during the night shift. It’s like babysitting, but for turtle eggs! These dedicated heroes keep a watchful eye throughout the night, making sure those little ones are safe from any predators or other potential threats.

Nita and her squad also have front-row seats to witness the magic of hatchling time. As the baby sea turtles start popping out of their nests and making their way to the big, blue sea, these guardians are right there with them, ensuring their journey is as safe as can be. They shield them from seagulls, coyotes, bright lights, and even over-enthusiastic beachgoers.

Nita also helps organize the “Turtle Trot” 5k event every year. Not only does it bring the community together, but it also helps raise money for their non-profit organization. These funds play a vital role in supporting their conservation efforts and expanding their outreach programs.

Let’s give Nita a round of applause for her volunteer efforts and making a difference in her community.