On April 25, the Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards and the city of Boca Raton entered into an agreement affirming that our nonprofit would have complete financial and operational responsibilities of the sea turtle rehab at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.
This is an exciting time for our organization, as we move forward with an official agreement with the city for the first time in our 43-year history. As a result, the GLCS is now responsible for all sea turtle research, rescue, rehab and release programs and related educational activities at the nature center.
We are also responsible for all expenses related to the operation and management of the STR and the gift store, including the professional team, and will pay a portion of the sea water pump maintenance costs.
This transition was first considered at the request of the city because the STR program had grown beyond the scope of typical government services. With the agreement in effect, the GLCS can now apply for an organizational Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission marine turtle permit. Once the FWC permit is in hand, sea turtles that were temporarily moved to area marine centers will return to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.
We know our members and guests are eagerly awaiting their return, as is the GLCS team, which now includes a sea turtle program manager, sea turtle biologist, sea turtle volunteer specialist and sea turtle veterinarian. We are launching a new volunteer program under the umbrella of GLCS for those interested in becoming educators with us. Our ongoing advocacy for sea turtles and the rehabilitation program has been made possible by GLCS members, corporate partners, community partners and donors. Their generosity has enabled us to fund veterinary services and equipment, provide the nutritional needs of the turtles, and dispense the medications required for our ailing turtles.
The GLCS has also funded valuable sea turtle research, in addition to undergraduate scholarship and research grants, and partnerships with research institutions — all essential elements of our mission.
To meet our new obligations and continue to support a wide range of educational programs and activities, the GLCS will be launching a robust fundraising effort focused on memberships, corporate sponsorships, donations and profits from our sustainable gift store.
My colleagues and I on the GLCS board are excited for our future and are proud of our organization and the leadership of President and CEO John Holloway. We are focused on the GLCS mission to fund and support the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles, and to create greater awareness and understanding of the environmental issues faced in our coastal and marine environment.
We are well positioned to build a world-class organization and we welcome you to join us.
Learn more about the organization at www.gumbolimbo.org.
— Manjunath Pendakur
chairman of board
Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards