First Annual Sea Turtle Derby is Underway

Derby Part of Annual Tortuga Music Festival – Sea Turtles Named for Some of This Year’s Artists

One week into the First Annual Sea Turtle Derby and RaeLynn is out in front (276 miles logged) by a shell! But don’t count out the competition; Cassadee is quickly closing the gap (214 miles logged.)

With some time left in the derby, it’s clear this is a marathon, not a sprint.

“Turtles have shown a wide range of area they can cover,” said Derek Burkholder, Ph.D., a research scientist at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Halmos College of Natural Sciences. “Don’t be surprised if today’s leader is tomorrow’s also-ran – things can change in a hurry.”

Dr. Burkholder is also the Director of the Marine Environmental Education Center at the Carpenter House and the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program as well as a research scientist at NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute.

This new, interactive derby helps “bring to life” some of the research and conservation efforts of those involved with the annual Tortuga Music Festival and it’s a fun way to help raise funds to further sea turtle research by Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and the Conservation, Movement and Ecosystem Dynamics Lab at NSU.

This unique sea turtle “race” features six sea turtles named for some of the artists performing at this year’s Tortuga Music Festival. To see which artists, have turtles in the derby, visit the tracking website at TortugaMusicFestival.com/seaturtlederby.

You can watch the progress of each of the artists’ turtle namesake as she makes her way through the seas. While the participating artists are both male and female, the turtles in the derby are all females because it’s the mama turtles that are tagged on Broward’s beaches after they lay their eggs – male turtles spend their lives at sea.

You can also get updates on social media with the hashtag #RaceToTortuga. The race is currently underway and will end at 6 p.m. Monday, April 8.

What makes this fan-interactive is that people can donate toward their favorite artist’s turtle, with their donation going toward sea turtle research and conservation. Everyone who enters, donation or not, is entered to win the Grand Prize: two, 3-day festival passes and the chance to meet one of the headlining artists (Jason, Thomas or Kenny) performing at this year’s event!

Turtle tracking isn’t limited to the festival – sea turtle fans can visit turtletracking.org anytime to see all of the turtles NSU has fitted with a satellite tag.

The seventh-annual Rock The Ocean’s Tortuga Music Festival, in partnership with Live Nation, announced the roster of organizations that will be represented onsite at this year’s Conservation Village. The village, nestled at the core of the festival’s cause, aims to educate fans on the issues facing the world’s oceans and directly see how a portion of the proceeds from the festivities happening at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park in Fort Lauderdale are making a difference.

Representing Rock The Ocean’s Five Core Issues are a distinguished list of more than 30 worldwide leaders in ocean conservation that are hand selected and invited to share knowledge onsite at this year’s festival. Conservation Village also allows attendees to enjoy games, interactive touch tanks, cooking exhibitions, the latest in ocean technology and speak with some of the top ocean conservation groups in the world. To find out more about each organization onsite this year, visit http://www.tortugamusicfestival.com/conservation/.

This “turtle-tastic” race is made possible via NSU researchers, who are using cutting-edge technology, equipping mother sea turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs with a satellite tracking tag (or beacon) that allows the tracking of each turtle’s movements after they leave Broward’s shores. It’s these “sat-tags” that allow the Sea Turtle Derby to track the paths of the six competing turtles – with the one that logs the most miles “winning” the derby.

“We look forward to this weekend every year,” said Chris Stacey, Founder of Rock The Ocean Foundation. “It’s incredible to watch fans from all over come to the beaches of Fort Lauderdale to enjoy three days of music all while supporting a great cause. As the number of Tortuga attendees grows every year, we hope that same number of fans leaving Tortuga have a new-found awareness for the issues facing our oceans and an awareness of the steps they can take to protect them moving forward.”

The three-day, newly three-stage festival continues to heighten excitement among fans as announcement of the Conservation Village follows news that Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney and Thomas Rhett will headline this year’s festival alongside Danielle Bradbery, Kane Brown, Sheryl Crow, Delta Rae, Lindsay Ell, Morgan Evans, Flo Rida, Chris Janson, Jillian Jacqueline, Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, Cody Johnson, Elle King, Dustin Lynch, Maddie & Tae, Midland, Maren Morris, David Lee Murphy, Carly Pearce, Cassadee Pope, RaeLynn, Michael Ray, Trombone Shorty, Mitchell Tenpenny, The Wailers and more will perform across the weekend.

Single-Day and Three-Day passes are available now at TortugaMusicFestival.com. Media can apply for credentials by visiting http://www.tortugamusicfestival.com/press.

For more information and to join the conversation:
visit: TortugaMusicFestival.com;
Twitter: @FestivalTortuga, #TortugaFest,
Instagram: @TortugaMusicFestival, #TortugaFest,
Snapchat: @TortugaFest
Facebook: Facebook.com/TortugaMusicFestival

Story by Nova Southeastern University (NSU)

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