Each year, thousands of sea turtle species hatchlings become disoriented and up to 80 percent die because of light pollution, according to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. In response, the FFWCC has worked with Sternberg Lighting to develop and approve outdoor lighting fixtures that are designed to minimize the impacts of exterior lighting on nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Marine Turtle Program
Sternberg Lighting has four fixture lines that meet those stringent guidelines
and have been certified as Wildlife Lighting:
About the Turtles:
Born at night, newly hatched turtles instinctively head toward the place with the most light, which historically had been the sea because its reflective surface bounced back more moonlight than the sandy beach. Today, hatchlings often mistakenly head toward relatively brightly lit condominiums, restaurants, and streets, where they are at risk of being eaten by predators, run over by cars, or baked to death in the hot Florida sun the next day.
The FFWCC, along with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), have combined their efforts and begun certifying light fixtures as wildlife friendly. In order to qualify, lighting manufacturers must meet certain guidelines. Luminaires must be mounted as low as is practical for an intended illumination task, have full cut-off or at least be completely shielded from the beach, and be lamped to produce long-wavelength light. (Turtles have trouble seeing monochromatic yellow, amber, and red light, but are most attracted to bright white polychromatic lights, such as white fluorescent, metal halide, halogen, and mercury vapor).
Appropriate wildlife lighting meets ALL THREE of the criteria below:
Keep it LOW - mount the fixture as low as possible to minimize light trespass, and use the lowest amount of light needed
for the task
Keep it SHIELDED - fully shield the light so bulbs and/or glowing lenses are not visible to minimize light trespass
Keep it LONG - use long wavelength light sources (ambers and reds) in the appropriate lighting fixtures