Share the Beach

The National Wildlife Refuge System is committed to building partnerships which encourage conservation and preservation of our natural and cultural resources. 

Friends of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
In 1997, concerned citizens from all parts of the United States formed the Friends of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge with the task of preserving and protecting the last large parcel of undeveloped and accessible land on the Alabama coastline. The organization is a nonprofit citizens group that works to increase public and governmental awareness of the value and fragility of the refuge. They also work to obtain funds, through donations or grants, that go toward helping with management of the refuge as well as obtaining additional wildlife habitat. For more information on joining Friends of Bon Secour or to inquire about membership, visit Friends of Bon Secour website or stop in the the Visitor Center.

Share the Beach
Refuge beaches support loggerhead sea turtle nest densities as high or higher than many areas along the Northern Gulf Coast. Conservation strategies to protect these turtles under the Endangered Species Act include on-site nest monitoring and protection, as well as working with Environmental Education and Public Outreach to foster community awareness.

In 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated a sea turtle volunteer program called Share the Beach, involving local residents and businesses in sea turtle conservation. As a result of increased monitoring and public support through this program, nearly all sea turtles that hatch on Alabama beaches make it to the water.

Share the Beach volunteers monitor sea turtle nests on the entire Alabama Gulf Coast from Dauphin Island to the Florida state line. If you're a morning person, you can volunteer to patrol the beach for sea turtle nests beginning at about 6 a.m. from May until August. If you're a night owl, then nest monitoring, or "nest sitting," may be just the job for you. Nest monitoring begins when the first nests hatch in July through the last nests in October and involves staying out on the beach late at night and experiencing first-hand one of the most incredible wildlife spectacles in nature, the loggerhead sea turtle's march to the sea. If you are unable to walk the beach, then we have volunteer opportunities in the areas of administration, web support, and public outreach.

A minimum of 1 month of volunteer service is required to participate in the Share the Beach Volunteer program due to training and expenses. Unfortunately, this means that the program is not appropriate for short-term visitors to the area. However, there are other ways that you can support sea turtle conservation in Alabama such as our Adopt-A-Nest program. For more information or become a volunteer visit the Share The Beach website.

Other Partners:

 Alabama Ecological Services Field Office

Alabama Gulf State Park

Gulf Shores Convention & Visitors Bureau