Busy days for Turtle Patrol


John Ehrman has worked with the Gulf County Turtle Patrol for seven seasons, his wife Penny Weining, has patrolled for eight.

Wes Locher | The Star
Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 09:14 AM.

Sea turtle season is in full effect.

Each morning, volunteers from the St. Joseph Peninsula Turtle Patrol are out patrolling the beaches of Cape San Blas on a hunt for any sea turtle activity that may have occurred throughout the night.

Currently, the turtle patrol is made up of more than 20 volunteers, clad in matching blue shirts, who start their days at 6 a.m. ET and begin their search with the rising sun. On any given day, 2-3 teams will patrol simultaneously, seven days a week.

Cape residents, Penny Weining and John Ehrman, a husband and wife duo, are just two of those folks who comb a stretch of beach three days a week, covering anywhere from 2-6 miles by foot.

During sea turtle season, which lasts from May 1 through Oct. 31, Ehrman and Weining keep their eyes open for active turtles, new nests, and false crawls, areas where a turtle made it onto the beach and then returned to the water without laying eggs.

The most prominent species of turtles on the Cape are Loggerhead turtles, followed by the more rare Green turtles and occasionally, the rare and endangered Kemp’s Ridley.

This year marks Weining’s eighth season on patrol and Ehrman’s seventh.

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