Jekyll Island is the home to the state’s only sea turtle rehabilitation and education center. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) opened its doors back in 2007 and is operated by the Jekyll Island Authority. The center is devoted to rehabilitating injured and sick sea turtles, as well as preserving the delicate balance of the oceanic ecosystem. The GSTC has helped countless hurt and injured sea turtles before releasing them back to their natural environment.
Ahead of Earth Day, the GTSC has scheduled an island favorite event: the return of healed sea turtles to the ocean. Scheduled release dates occur regularly on the island and always bring in the crowds.
video courtesy of Jekyll Island Authority
April 4, 2023 marks the release date of 12 more ‘patients’ of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. The dozen sick and damaged turtles spent months recovering and are now ready for their next journey. Eight Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles, along with four Green Sea Turtles were cleared for release today.
Locals and visitors alike showed up to show their support as one by one, the turtles were carried past the crowds by the caring employees of GSTC, pausing to ensure all got to see the fully-healed turtles.
They were carried in to the ocean and upon being lined up fin to fin, they were released and cheered on by the crowd.
Director of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Michelle Kaylor, shared some thoughts after the release:
Today was a big day for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and the 12 patients who were released. With each release we are reminded of the power of perseverance and the infinite possibilities that come with a second chance. These animals belong in the ocean and it’s a magical moment to be able to help them get home safely.
Guests to the GTSC are always welcome. Operating hours are daily from 9am until 5pm. With viewing areas of turtles being treated and interactive exhibits, a trip to the sea turtle center is fun and interesting for all. Take a look around the gift shop before leaving.
Looking for a way to help support the center’s efforts? Support Jekyll Island’s GSTC by signing up for the annual Turtle Crawl Run. Those outside of the area can sign up with a virtual race entry.