April Speaker: Rescue, Rehab, Release of Sea Turtles

SFDI welcomes

David Anderson with Winged Turtle.JPG

David Anderson

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton


On Wednesday, April 3rd, SFDI will learn all about sea turtles from David Anderson and Whitney Crowder of the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton (biographies are below). They will speak about the turtle species that inhabit Florida waters, and how and where sick and injured individuals are found and relocated to turtle rehab. We will learn about threats to sea turtles and common reasons why they might become impaired. Some rehab case studies will be shared, including discussion of wound care and other methods of treatment. The goal is that those turtles can regain their health and be released.


David Anderson with Huge Turtle.JPG

Originally from Alabama, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center’s Sea Turtle Conservation Coordinator David Anderson has a Bachelors Degree in History from Auburn University, a Masters Degree in Physical Geography from the University of Alabama and is presently a PhD student in Coastal and Marine Geography at the University of South Carolina. He has held the STCC post for four years. He conducts beach surveys, identifies and records turtle crawls, marks and monitors nests, evaluates hatchling success, excavates, relocates and protects nests, enters data and performs research regarding nest and hatchling success, gives educational presentations and leads sea turtle night walks and hatchling releases. He also responds to sea turtle stranding events, assists medical staff and provides care for turtles in rehab.

David currently works as an adjunct professor of geography at Broward College. Before that, he worked part-time for an environmental consulting firm. David taught geography at the College of the Bahamas, the University of Alabama, and the University of South Carolina, and was a middle and high school science teacher and coach. He also was a PADI Divemaster for Nassau Scuba Center in Nassau, Bahamas.

David enjoys traveling, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, running, biking, swimming, and all things concerning nature, particularly the beach and ocean. He follows news, politics, and sports closely, especially football and baseball. He is a lifelong fan of the Miami Dolphins, the Atlanta Braves and the Auburn Tigers.


Whitney Crowder is the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Coordinator and Marine Turtle Permit Holder for Gumbo Limbo Nature Center’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility in Boca Raton, Florida. Her career in sea turtle biology began at Sea World as part of their aquarium team in 2002. Continuing her passion for studying sea turtles, she became a field biologist for the University of Central Florida’s Marine Turtle Research Group which included morning nesting surveys, night work including tagging and documenting nesting female sea turtles and nests, and participation in their Indian River Lagoon’s seine netting project. After graduation, she switched gears back to wildlife rehabilitation, managing The Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key, FL for two years. In this position she managed the hospital and all aspects of rehabilitation including all in and out of water sea turtle emergency events for Monroe County. She was a Park Ranger at Long Key State Park and was responsible for all aspects of sea turtle nesting in the park boundaries. In 2010, she worked as a Biological Technician for Florida Wildlife Research Institute in the Florida Keys where she was part of the Restoration Ecology Team which established an in-situ Acropora cervicornis (Staghorn Coral) nursery in the Middle Keys and raised long-spined urchin (Diadema antillarum) as part of the overall reef re-establishment program. She has been involved in many different volunteer organizations over the years including Save-a-Turtle where she was the Nesting Beach Coordinator for Long Key, FL for five consecutive seasons.