Monday, February 20, 2012




Founded in 1984, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center at 1801 North Ocean Boulevard is a unique, outstanding cooperative project of the City of Boca Raton, Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District, The Palm Beach County School District, Florida Atlantic University (FAU), and Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Inc. Each year, more than 100,000 local and tourist visitors receive valuable environmental education while enjoying respite from the city bustle.  Gumbo Limbo is a great place for all ages to visit.

As a beacon for environmental education, research, and conservation, Gumbo Limbo’s 20 acres of protected barrier island not only provide refuge to many varieties of plants and animals - some rare or endangered - but also represent a commitment to protect our natural resources by our members, volunteers, and the organizations that comprise the Center.

Florida boasts some of the most important nesting beaches for loggerhead sea turtles in the world, and also offers important nesting habitat for green and leatherback sea turtles, as well as the occasional Kemp's ridley and hawksbill turtle nests.  Florida's waters provide important development habitat for many species of sea turtles in a variety of life stages.  The Boca Raton Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program works under permit from, and in coordination with, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
All species of sea turtles in the world are either threatened or endangered species. Sea turtles face many threats in the world today that were not an issue hundreds of years ago. 

Some of these threats include:

·         Collisions with boats
·         Direct and Indirect glow from artificial lighting
  • Interactions from commercial fisheries
  • Loss of nesting habitat
  • Pollution

Gumbo Limbo instructs more than 10,000 Palm Beach County school students in coastal and marine ecology every year with programs constructed to meet the Sunshine State Standards Requirement in science education.  They monitor 500 nests a year within a five mile span of beaches and rescue injured turtles and release more than 6000 stranded hatchlings each nesting season. More than 50 programs are offered for children, adults, and families facilitated by qualified naturalists and biologists with Small class sizes and a low cost with more than 13,000 people participating annually.

The FAU lab conducts valuable scientific research which enhances our understanding of sea turtle behavior, physiology, and ecology.  The research creates practical applications in the conservation of sea turtles and other marine life.  The North Trails feature a Butterfly Garden, in full bloom in May and June.  The outdoor amphitheater holds plays.  The ¼ mile boardwalk is an opportunity to visit an ecosystem that once flourished thruout Florida before modern development and industrialization.  Take a free guided walk Wednesday mornings at 10 am.  Look into the half-day week long summer Environmental Camp where the children learn about about plants, animals and coastal habitats, and enjoy many other activities.
Visit Gumbo Limbo Nature Center to learn more about these threats and what you can do to help.   If you might like to volunteer, call 561-338-1588.

The 7th annual festival celebrating sea turtles and our ocean environment will take place at Gumbo Limbo on Saturday, March 3, 2012! The fun begins at 10 am and lasts until 4 pm.  Admission is free.  Stroll around the lush grounds, visit environmentally friendly exhibitors, attend a performance by Sol Children Theatre, and learn how to make leaf prints! There will be plenty of fun for all ages, from arts, crafts, and games, to educational talks and guided walks through the hammock. Keep your eyes open for Luna, the NEW Green Sea Turtle mascot – a great photo opportunity!

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