Avoiding plastic straws isn't the only thing you can do to help save sea turtles

Avoiding plastic straws isn't the only thing you can do to help save sea turtles

Stock photo of sea turtle hatchlings.

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Interested in helping sea turtles right here in Central Florida?

Avoiding single-use plastic straws isn't the only thing you can do.

Brevard County resident Dori Hughes said she is passionate about protecting the endangered reptiles and their marine habitats, so much so that she conducts monthly beach cleanups.

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She said she enjoys teaching fellow beachgoers about the animals' plight whenever she spots turtle tracks in the sand. But her service doesn't stop there.

Hughes said she volunteers at the Sea Turtle Preservation Society in Indialantic.

She said she spends much of her time at the Sea Turtle Healing Center, a rehabilitation facility at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne.

There, she prepares food for the turtles, feeds them, cleans their pools and assists with medical treatment and releases.

Hughes said she oversees a team of volunteers that conducts nesting surveys, the data from which is shared with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Thanks to her volunteerism, the Sea Turtle Preservation Society has been awarded $10,000 as part of the Cox Conserves Heroes campaign.

Hughes is now in the running for the National Cox Conserves Hero Award, which comes with a $50,000 grant for her organization courtesy of the James M. Cox Foundation, which is affiliated with Cox Enterprises, Channel 9's parent company.

She is among nine local winners vying for the national prize.

Click here to vote for her, and click here to watch a video about her service. Voting runs through Oct. 15.