By RAY QUIROGA
South Padre Parade
As the executive director of the acclaimed education, rescue and rehabilitation center located on South Padre Island, George has spent close to two decades working closely with sea turtles, and he’s learned a lot from and about them along the way.
In his own way, George embodies many of the characteristics of the majestic creatures he so fondly admires and protects. Insightful, bright, soft spoken and modest, George is always more than content to turn the attention away from himself and on Sea Turtle Inc.’s incredible “team” of fellow professionals, its mission and its accomplishments.
On that note, 2012 has thus far been a banner year due to a number of accomplishments including a record tally of hatchings this past season that includes 72 nests and an estimated 7,000 eggs, a plan for physical growths for the facility, not to mention a revamped website, to boot.
Today, after almost 40 years of efforts by the Mexican and Texas governments, the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles are on the road to recovery. In 2011, a large arribada occurred in Rancho Nuevo with an estimated 7,000 Kemp’s Ridleys coming ashore to nest. These numbers give Sea Turtle organizations hope that continued efforts to protect these turtles could save the species, George said.
Additionally, three species of endangered sea turtles made nesting appearances on South Padre Island beaches this year, the Kemp’s Ridley, the Loggerhead and the Atlantic Green Sea Turtle.
This past year also brought the popular NBC program, “Texas Country Reporter,” Discovery Channel’s “Swamp Brothers” and ABC’s Dr. Phil to film and televise sea turtle activities, including a release of two rehabilitated sea turtles. Besides releasing hatchings locally, Sea Turtle Inc. recently relocated two rehabilitated Kemp Ridley’s to the Phoenix Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium in Arizona.
As the Parade reported late last month, now in its 35th year, Sea Turtle Inc. plans to cap a great year with its 2nd Annual Celebration, slated for September 8, at 6 p.m. at South Padre Island’s Hilton Garden Inn (7010 Padre Blvd). Tickets are $40 each and include heavy hors d’oeuvres and two complimentary drinks.
The evening’s Celebration begins with a silent auction and continues with raffles and a live auction starting at 8 p.m. Auctioned items include tickets from AEROMEXICO and SOUTHWEST Airlines, an exclusive American Diving boating adventure for 100 passengers and a private PadreRita Grill luncheon for 10 with entertainment by J. Michael Laferty, to name a few. Tina Poucher will be the “Artist in Residence” for the evening.
Tickets may be purchased at Sea Turtle Inc. located at 6617 S. Padre Blvd, open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. or by calling (956) 761-4511.