BREVARD COUNTY – The seasonal period when sea turtles lay their eggs, hatch and then attempt to swim out to the Atlantic Ocean, can be the most dangerous they face during their lives. Often, human interaction at this critical time can seriously hurt their chances for survival.
The Sea Turtle Preservation Society has been committed to the survival of sea turtles and the beaches of Brevard County, where most sea turtles choose to lay their eggs.
The Space Coast’s beaches and waterways attract residents and tourists along the 72-mile long county's coastline, but unique challenges can arise as a result of human interaction. Educating the public about sea turtles is one of the main missions of STPS.
STPS recently announced the creation of a new marketing and public relations team. Communicating these dangers with people, both locals and visitors, can be a major effort and can literally make the difference between life or death for the turtles, and the survival of the species, as a whole.
With this newly created team of journalists and marketing strategists, STPS aims to widen the scope of education available to the public.
“We plan on having a series of articles addressing such things as keeping our beaches clean, doing away with plastic straws, lights out [from May 1 to Oct. 31] and education opportunities,” said Dave Cheney, STPS Board, and Director of Marketing Public Relations. “We want to reach out to local, Florida, other U.S. locations and globally.”
The team is led by Eric Needle, who runs Longbow.net, a marketing agency based in Melbourne. Mr. Needle publishes GreenBrevard, a site that promotes sustainability and shares news about people and organizations with concerns and ideas about the future of the community.
“We created GreenBrevard in 2004 to shine a light on people and organizations who are making a difference and have featured STPS often,” said Mr. Needle. “It's very rewarding to work with them directly, [to] be able to help them grow their reach. When I heard their story, I was inspired and continue to be. People saw a need and have dedicated themselves to helping sea turtles survive."
Joining the team is Bill Sokolic, a seasoned journalist with bylines in daily, weekly and monthly publications, as well as wire services like the Associated Press and Reuters. His writing ranges on a variety of subjects including the environment, business, entertainment, tourism and news.
“I want to use my expertise as a writer to get the word out about saving the turtles,” Mr. Sokolic said.
Sheila Harnois is a writer and STPS media coordinator who will provide her skills also, and Ryan Needle, copywriter for Longbow.net and editor for GreenBrevard. Ryan Needle, a recent University of Central Florida graduate, has experience in both content marketing and estate planning.
STPS is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization whose mission is helping sea turtles survive. The group reaches thousands of people each year through public presentations, exhibits at area events and by their turtle watches during the sea turtle nesting season.
“We're modernizing the way we reach out to media. We're expanding beyond Brevard to a global audience who cares about marine turtles,” said Eric Needle. “A first focus on Florida, then the East Coast and then beyond.”