Turtle Watch Guidelines

Group leaders - Ensure that each member of your group has read and understands the following guidelines!

Nesting Watch Guidelines (April 15 - June 15)

We meet at the entrance gate to Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge (at the west end of the Melvin H. Evans Highway) at 7:45 pm. The group will gather here to talk before driving into the Refuge. The gate is locked behind the group, and we must stay together. No one can leave early. Leatherback turtles nest throughout the night, so visitors must be willing to stay until midnight. If you have early morning commitments or need to leave at a specific time, this experience is not for you. Please be considerate of your fellow group members and join us only if you are prepared to stay.

Hatchling Watch Guidelines (June 16 - July 31)

Please meet at the entrance gate to Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge (0.5 mile beyond the west end of the Melvin H. Evans Highway) by 5:15pm. The group will gather here before we drive into the refuge together. The gate is locked when we enter, and the group must stay together at all times. Thus, it is not possible for individuals to leave early except in case of emergency. The trip will end before 8 pm.

Guidelines for all groups:

  1. Programs begin promptly. Missed programs may not be rescheduled. Program time will not be extended due to late arrivals. Please call if there are extenuating circumstances.
  2. You must provide transportation for your group into the refuge. All drivers and cars must remain with the group during the trip.
  3. US Fish and Wildlife Service does not provide transportation at any time.
  4. There are no restroom facilities at the refuge. Schedule a restroom stop before arriving.
  5. No photography or videography is allowed at any time. Even cameras that perform in low light are prohibited.
  6. No cell phones, cameras, video games, or flashlights are allowed on the beach.
  7. Beach chairs, umbrellas, and alcoholic beverages are prohibited on the beach. Please call to arrange seating for persons with disabilities.
  8. Smoking is prohibited during the program.
  9. No food is permitted on beach during the duration of the program. You may bring water in reusable bottles.

Tips for a Safe and Comfortable Visit:

  • Wear long sleeves and long pants to discourage mosquito bites. Insect repellent may be helpful.
  • Do not apply repellent to hands since you may touch wildlife.
  • Activities will take place outdoors. Rain gear and several layers of clothing are recommended, especially for the late night program. Remember that it is usually cooler and windier on the beach.
  • If it is thundering/lightning, programs will be canceled for safety. Please seek shelter in a building or vehicle, not under a tree! We may be able to reschedule a trip for your class.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that can get dirty. Be sure that footwear is appropriate for hiking on the trails and beach. No flip-flops, please.
  • Beach blankets or towels are permitted.
  • Binoculars are welcome and useful on late afternoon visits to Sandy Point.