NSU Sea Turtle Derby Rocks the Ocean

It’s a match made on the beach!

What could go together better than the annual Tortuga Music Festival and a fun way to help raise funds to further sea turtle research in Broward County? Thanks to the First Annual Sea Turtle Derby, festival goers and lovers of sea turtles can help support ongoing research by the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and the Conservation, Movement and Ecosystem Dynamics Lab at NSU

Partnering with Rock The Ocean, NSU kicks off the first-ever interactive Sea Turtle Derby. This unique sea turtle “race” features six sea turtles named for some of the artists performing at this year’s Tortuga Music Festival, and provides the chance to win a pair of 3-day GA passes plus a pair of backstage passes to meet Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, or Thomas Rhett!

To enter, visit TortugaMusicFestival.com/seaturtlederby  to pick the sea turtle you want to cheer on and who you think will travel the farthest by Tues, April 8th at 6pm ET. Then, you can place a donation (which will go towards sea turtle conservation) or fill out the sweepstakes form. Finally, follow along with us and check out the below sea turtle tracking map each day to see who is leading the #RacetoTortuga!

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.

Race to Tortuga Turtle Tracking Race

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.

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.

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!.

“If you were ever looking for a win, win, win situation – this is it,” said Derek Burkholder, Ph.D., a research scientist at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Halmos College of Natural Sciences“It’s the perfect tie-in – the Tortuga Music Festival, which takes place on Fort Lauderdale Beach and sea turtles, which also visit Fort Lauderdale Beach to lay the eggs of the next generation of turtles. This new derby is a great way to bring music, conservation and environmental awareness together.”

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.

“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.”

About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): Located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, NSU is ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Top 200 National Research Universities and is a dynamic, private research university providing high-quality educational and research programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional degree levels. Established in 1964, NSU now includes 16 colleges, the 215,000-square-foot Center for Collaborative Research, a private JK-12 grade school, the Mailman Segal Center for Human Development with specialists in Autism, the world-class NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, and the Alvin Sherman Library, Research and Information Technology Center, which is Florida’s largest public library. NSU has campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, while maintaining a presence online globally. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is one of only 50 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, and is also the largest private institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. For more information, please visit www.nova.edu.

About NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography: The college provides high-quality undergraduate (bachelor’s degree) and graduate (master’s and doctoral degrees and certificates) education programs in a broad range of disciplines, including marine sciences, mathematics, biophysics, and chemistry. Researchers carry out innovative basic and applied research programs in coral reef biology, ecology, and geology; fish biology, ecology, and conservation; shark and billfish ecology; fisheries science; deep-sea organismal biology and ecology; invertebrate and vertebrate genomics, genetics, molecular ecology, and evolution; microbiology; biodiversity; observation and modeling of large-scale ocean circulation, coastal dynamics, and ocean atmosphere coupling; benthic habitat mapping; biodiversity; histology; and calcification. The college’s newest building is the state-of-the-art Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center, an 86,000-square-foot structure filled with laboratories; offices; seminar rooms; an auditorium; and indoor and outdoor running sea water facilities. Please visit cnso.nova.edu for more information.