LBKTW History Overview
  • 1969 was the first year the Longboat Key Turtle Watch was an official group. It started with just a handful of people and they covered the entire island. That first year there were 9 nests which all hatched. The original founders were Kit Fernald, Orville Clayton  and Tom McGrane.
  • 1970 was the first year our group started keeping records. And we requested help form the Department of Natural Resources. One of the things they showed us was how to guide baby turtles into the water using lights. Now we know that does more harm than good.
  • The Endangered Species Act of 1973 made things a little easier.
  • By the early 80's, nest count was increasing and Jeff Patton from Mote approached our group and asked for help in starting a Mote sea turtle conservation program. After helping Mote, the LBKTW turned over the Sarasota end, and we then just patrolled the North end of the key.
  • For many years nests were dug, put in Styrofoam coolers, and hatched on lanais.
  • The LBKTW helped get fires banned on the beach, a lighting ordinance, and helped get the TED law passed.
  • In those early years, 3 universities used our data, graduate students observed our methods, and we got certificates from the DEP for accuracy and thoroughness of records. 
  • We are one of the oldest, continuously active groups in the state.
  • We officially merged with Mote in 2005.


Much of this information came from the writings of Orville Clayton who passed away in 2014.

Compiled by Connie Schindewolf


LBKTW Circa 2000

LBKTW Circa 2000

  May 2023  
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