Ms. Breanna (Bre) Ondich works as a Research Specialist for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, Georgia in the United States. She grew up near the Appalachian Trail in the remote countryside of northern New Jersey and graduated from the University of Tampa in 2010 with a B.Sc. in Marine Science-Biology and a minor in Environmental Science. She has lived in Australia and Costa Rica, and has spent time studying in Honduras. She moved to Coastal Georgia in early 2011 and became enchanted with its deep southern wilderness. Bre is currently pursuing a M.Sc. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology online with Clemson University and working full time on Jekyll Island. As Research Specialist with the Jekyll Island Authority’s Georgia Sea Turtle Center, her primary responsibilities include supervising a large team of AmeriCorps Members who assist with sea turtle nest monitoring, nesting sea turtle mark-recapture research, box turtle spatial ecology using radio telemetry, and field-based education programs. Photography and graphic design, wildlife ecology and education, SCUBA diving, computer science, traveling, cooking, and local sustainable foods are among the most integral components of her personal and professional interests.
Here are some additional links for the GSTC:
GSTC main page: https://gstc.jekyllisland.com/
Research overview: https://gstc.jekyllisland.com/departments/research/
Education Programs and Experiences for Guests: https://gstc.jekyllisland.com/programs/
Ways to Support Us: https://gstc.jekyllisland.com/support-us/
Jekyll Island Foundation (our non-profit arm): https://www.jekyllislandfoundation.org/
Wish Lists (there is one for each rehab, education, and research): https://gstc.jekyllisland.com/support-us/wish-list/
Our Facebook Page (we create events to advertise sea turtle releases here): https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaSeaTurtleCenter/
Our Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/georgiaseaturtlecenter/?hl=en
How to Help Sea Turtles:
Visiting the Coast
- Keep beaches dark. Use turtle-friendly lights (red or amber) and close curtains in beachfront windows – nesting sea turtles and emerging hatchlings go the wrong way when there is too much white light.
- Take home your beach chairs, umbrellas, toys, coolers, etc. at the end of every day at the beach – sea turtles can get stuck in them.
- Fill in large holes and knock down sandcastles at the beach – these can trap and hurt sea turtles (and sometimes people).
Boating and Fishing
- Be alert and drive slow – sea turtles come to the surface to breathe air.
- Call your local wildlife officials if you catch a sea turtle with a fish hook before removing it on your own – removing line and hooks improperly can be fatal for sea turtles and they may need extra veterinary help.
- Be sure to secure your trash and fishing gear so it does not go overboard – sea turtles can become entangled in it.
- Avoid purchasing illegal sea turtle eggs, meat, or “tortoise shell” jewelry – these are reasons we might lose sea turtles to extinction.
- Ask questions where your seafood comes from and how it’s caught – unsustainable seafood practices can harm sea turtles.
Care from Anywhere
- Reduce your use of plastic – sea turtles can mistake plastic for food in the ocean.
- Clean up litter anywhere you see it, even if it not yours – even litter in land-locked places can end up in the ocean from rivers.
- Volunteer at any local environmental organization – helping any environment goes a long way for the whole planet.
- Share your knowledge with everyone you know – sea turtles can’t speak so they need our voices to tell their story.