Georgette’s Grand Adventure: A Bon Voyage Back to the Sea

Celebrating Hope, Resilience, and Conservation as Georgette Returns to Her Ocean Home

The Museum of Discovery & Science (MODS), in partnership with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Veterinary Care Program and Sea Turtle Care and Conservation Specialists, released its Loggerhead sea turtle ambassador Georgette (Gette) into the wild on Sunday, November 5. Named in memory of generous Museum supporter, George Batchelor and The Batchelor Foundation, Gette resided in the Sea Turtle habitat at MODS since she arrived in October 2022. 

“Our sea turtle initiative has been an essential part of the Museum’s DNA since opening, and we have released dozens of sea turtles. Our mission is connecting people to inspiring science, and for thousands of MODS’ guests and community members who encountered Gette in our sea turtle observation exhibit, it was a truly meaningful experience,” said Joseph P. Cox, president and CEO of MODS. “With the goal of ocean release, the life sciences team at MODS worked diligently to help Gette sharpen her natural instincts by replicating experiences she will encounter in open waters. Now that she has achieved optimal growth, releasing her into the ocean is conservation in action for all to see.” 

On July 23, 2022, Gette was hatched at FAU in Boca Raton as part of a study on how climate change affects the endangered sea turtle population. On October 25, 2022, Gette came to the Museum weighing 300 g (0.6 lbs.) For a year, Gette munched on daily buffets of shrimp, capelin and herring. She honed her swimming skills while keeping plenty of snappiness for a turtle. Now Gette, at 6.3 kilograms (13.9 lbs.) with a carapace length of 35.9 cm, is big and strong enough to journey into the wild. On October 31, 2023, Gette was transported via boat to a nearshore weed line where she was returned to the open water. Bon Voyage, Gette!  

Facts about sea turtles from MODS’ Life Sciences Department: 

  • The Loggerhead is one of seven different species of sea turtles. Six of the species —Green (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate), Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochlys kempi), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) —can be found throughout the ocean, in both warm and cool water. The seventh species, the Flatback (Natator depressus), lives only in Australia.  
  • The Loggerhead and Green sea turtles are listed as threatened. The Leatherback, Hawksbill and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle species are listed as endangered everywhere due to human actions and lifestyles.  
  • Accidental capture by fishing gear, which often results in death, is the greatest threat to most sea turtles. Climate change also impacts sea turtle nesting beaches and eggs.  
  • Sea turtle populations are slowly recovering thanks to the collaborative effort of scientists, non-profits, universities, grassroots organizations and many dedicated people. 

The Museum has a permit from FWC that allows it to hold one loggerhead turtle for educational purposes. The FWC is responsible for matching turtles with educational centers. The release location is determined based on where the turtles were originally found and the conditions of the waters around Florida. While Loggerhead nests are the most common type of nest found in Florida, the species is still considered threatened in the state and endangered around the world.  

Humans pose a big threat to the species, and Gette helped educate visitors on how to make an impact with sea turtles. Simple ideas like picking up trash so it doesn’t end up in a turtle’s belly and avoiding single-use plastic like straws and plastic bags, which can look like food to a hungry sea turtle, can make a big difference. 

“Special thanks to The Batchelor Foundation, a private Florida foundation focused on grant-making to support children, animals, and the natural environment in South Florida, and FAU for collaborating on this critical environmental initiative,” said Cox.  

Stay tuned! MODS expects a new Loggerhead hatchling for care and growing bigger soon! Visit and support MODS, join a discussion at the Museum’s Turtle Talks or take a turtle walk with MODS next summer.  

Photos of Gette’s Release 
Video of Gette’s Release 

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