California Leatherback Day Celebration at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Leatherback turtle by Ray Troll
Leatherback turtle by Ray Troll, copyright Ray Troll and NOAA 2008.

The powerful leatherback turtle swims 6,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to feed on jellyfish that are abundant along the California coast during summer and fall months. As many as 300 of these trans-ocean travelers visit the California coastline every year. While many threats to the survival of the critically endangered sea turtle remain, partners are working together to ensure that California’s coast is today a safe haven for this ancient marine species. The passage of the California Marine Reptile Bill in 2012 designated Pacific Leatherback Conservation Day on October 15 and prioritized conservation for this critically endangered sea turtle species.

In recognition of California Leatherback Day, NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) and The Ocean Foundation invite the public to a celebration of leatherback turtles hosted at the Sanctuary Exploration Center in Santa Cruz. The public will have the opportunity to see a full-size cast of a leatherback turtle, talk with leatherback turtle scientists, see the premier of a new leatherback film by John Dutton Media Productions, and dress up in a leatherback turtle costume!  The event will be followed by MBNMS 25th anniversary presentation entitled, “The Pacific Leatherback Turtle: An Ocean Ambassador with an Uncertain Future” by Scott Benson of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

WHAT: Celebrating Leatherback Sea Turtles – a NOAA Species in the Spotlight
WHEN: Saturday, October 14th 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Leatherback Day celebration; 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: MBNMS 25th anniversary Leatherback presentation.
WHERE: Sanctuary Exploration Center, 35 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
WHO: General Public

For more information, contact Lisa Uttal at (831) 420-3669 or

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