There were mini aquariums that the kids could check out. The staff was very helpful and knowledgeable about the local sea life. Unlike other places on the GA islands, they don't accept volunteers for turtle watches. I think that's a mistake - it would be a great way to get the public involved, and transfer some stewardship to the larger community.
Hi there! Thanks so much for visiting and reviewing the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. You're totally right that involving the public in sea turtle conservation is a really important part of stewardship and community support.
Our Sea Turtle Project does utilize volunteers, on a seasonal basis, every year to locate and monitor our nests. Our volunteers go through a training with the Department of Natural resources and receive a state permit to monitor nesting. This permitting process, coupled with Tybee's extremely developed landscape, are behind the limited nature of public involvement right now. We've actually had to stop announcing our nest excavations to the public this season. The crowds become so large and unmanageable, that it affects the wellbeing (and release) of any straggler hatchlings.
Our goal is to be able to include island visitors in the monitoring of nests, as observers, in the future. Another great way to be involved is via the Turtle Trot, our 5k beach walk/run to kick off nesting season at the end of April each year. We have live music, awards, and sea turtle releases following the run itself.
Again, thanks for visiting the science center and Tybee Island. We always want feedback, no matter what!