In May Gulf World Marine Institute (a non-profit stranding organization) received a grant for $15,495 from the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program, which is funded by the sales of the sea turtle specialty license plate.
Gulf World Marine Institute received the grant to support transportation of rescued and rehabilitated sea turtles, including from Gulf County. Gulf World Marine Institute was chosen for the award through a competitive application process that was 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 Grants Program has awarded more than $4 million in grants to 76 different groups for research, education and rehabilitation projects in Florida since 2001.
The sea turtle specialty plate is currently number two in sales, second only to the University of Florida specialty plate.
"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.
In addition to the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s generous donation, Bill Byrd Kia has also made a donation which assisted in the completion of this project. Obtaining this vehicle will enhance transportation of injured sea turtles to GWMI, transportation of rehabilitated sea turtles back into their natural habitat, and transportation of material for educational outreaches.