Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center awarded $20K by the Sea Turtle Grants Program

Special to Gannett

FORT WALTON BEACH — The Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center has been awarded a grant for $20,306.25 from the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program.

The C.A.R.E Center received the grant to help purchase a new digital radiograph (DR) X-ray machine. This new item will benefit sea turtles in NW Florida and Alabama. 

Since purchasing the DR X-ray plate, the C.A.R.E. Center has already successfully completed radiographs on 31 rehabilitated sea turtles, ranging in size from juvenile green sea turtles to adult loggerheads. The DR machine enables the animal care technicians at the C.A.R.E. Center to view an X-ray image instantaneously after taking the photo. This process gives the animal care team real time information allowing for instant analysis.  

The Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center was able to purchase a DR X-ray machine with the help of the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program.

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The Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center was chosen for the award through a competitive application process that is open to coastal county governments, educational institutions and Florida-based nonprofit groups striving to improve the livelihood of sea turtles and conserve Florida habitats.

Launched in 1996, the "Helping Sea Turtles Survive" specialty license plate raises money for two important programs that benefit Florida sea turtles — the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission's Marine Turtle Protection Program and the Sea Turtle Grants Program, which distributes money back to the local level for turtle conservation projects. The sea turtle specialty plate is currently No. 2 in sales, having sold 66,696 plates — second only to the University of Florida specialty plate.

The Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center was able to purchase a DR X-ray machine with the help of the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program.

"It's rewarding to know that so many people share our concern for Florida's sea turtles," said David Godfrey, Sea Turtle Conservancy executive director. "What we do in this state has a dramatic impact on sea turtle populations around the world. By purchasing the sea turtle specialty plate, Floridians are voluntarily funding important programs to save these amazing creatures." 

To learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants Program and the "Helping Sea Turtles Survive" specialty license plate, please visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.