Watch Rehabbed Sea Turtles Go Home To The Sea in Fernandina Beach
Watch Rehabbed Sea Turtles Go Home To The Sea in Fernandina Beach

Wild Amelia May 17 -19, 2019

A celebration of nature, enjoy various activities around Amelia Island during the Festival weekend, a time to learn more about northeast Florida’s flora, fauna and eco system. A sea turtle release at Main Beach is an annual tradition kicking off the Wild Amelia Nature Festival. The main exhibit area is the Eco-Expo at Fernandina’s Atlantic Ave. Rec Center. Plus there are fun eco tours at various venues including Egans Greenway, boat cruises, and kayaking adventures.

Sea Turtle Release

Head to Fernandina’s Main Beach Park on Friday, May 17, 2019 to watch a sea turtle send off at 11 am. (Note: Weather and turtle health pending, subject to change). The event will feature rehabbed turtles that were nurtured by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.

Rehabbed Sea Turtle Release, Main Beach Fernandina
Rehabbed Sea Turtle Release, Main Beach Fernandina

A popular event, crowds gather on the beach. Kids love to watch, adults as well, and people applaud as the turtles swim away. Arrive early to get a good spot along the viewing corridor that forms.

Eco-Expo May 18, 2019

Wild Amelia’s main exhibit event is the Eco-Expo happening this year on Saturday, May 18, 2019 (10 am to 3 pm) at the Fernandina Beach Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center. Experience more than two dozen conservation exhibitors, a silent auction plus “Kids Niche.” Featured are wildlife exhibits including bats by Bat Belfrys, “Raptors & Reptiles” from Georgia Southern and a touch tank from Jacksonville University. There also will be music by “Laid Back,” a food truck and shave ice stand.

Eco Tours (Field Trips)

Amelia Island Roseate Spoonbills (Egans Greenway)
Amelia Island Roseate Spoonbills (Egans Greenway)

During the festival, choose from a various outdoor activities held at multiple venues. Field trip/tours include “Sunset Birds” plus “Birds, Blooms & Butterflies” taking place in Egans Greenway. Hop aboard boat tours hosted by Amelia River Cruises.  Go on a paddling adventure. Kayak tours are also offered, plus more.

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on Wild Passionflower, Egans Greenway, Fernandina
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on Wild Passionflower, Egans Greenway

River Otter, “Critter-of-the-Year”

Each year the Wild Amelia Festival selects a “critter-of-the-year”, and in 2019 it’s the river otter. Locally, otters can occasionally be seen in Egans Creek. They’re sometimes spotted from the grassy trails of Egans Greenway (more so within the south side). Otters are also spotted downtown at times around the Fernandina Harbor marina, and elsewhere in the Amelia River.

See further information about all Wild Amelia Nature Festival activities including eco tour schedule at the Wild Amelia website. 

Junior Naturalist Program

Wild Amelia’s self-led study, the Junior Naturalist Program, is an educational opportunity for youth, ages 7 to 15, to learn about the local ecosystem — the maritime forest, the seashore and the saltmarsh. There are three workbooks plus some indoor and outdoor events and activities (child accompanied by adult).

Nature Photography

Each year Wild Amelia holds a nature photography contest plus offers nature photography workshops. Held in March, the nature photography segment of Wild Amelia is coordinated by local professional photographer, Scott Moore.

More About Sea Turtles

Interested in Amelia Island’s sea turtles? Learn more, browse collection of articles about sea turtle nesting on Amelia Island. Find out about opportunities to observe Sea Turtle Watch volunteers conduct nest excavations during summertime (July into September).