"Flipping of the Switch" with Green Mountain Energy

“Flip the switch” solar light unveiling 

From left, Katie Ryan and Caitlin Conran of Green Mountian Energy flip the light switch with Jeff George, STI Executive Director. Teresa Shumaker photo.

From left, Katie Ryan and Caitlin Conran of Green Mountian Energy flip the light switch with Jeff George, STI Executive Director. Teresa Shumaker photo.

By Teresa Shumaker

Friday evening, July 11, we had a special function for Green Mountain Energy and their customers! We "flipped the switch" on the solar amber lights that now line our new Turtle Drive! We are the first on the island to have solar street lamps and use amber – turtle-friendly – lights and we couldn't have done it without Green Mountain and their Sun Club customers! The lights were installed thanks to a $30,000 Green Mountain Energy Sun Club grant, a program that donates solar energy to nonprofits. We are in the process of a $4 million expansion at our facility, called the Capital Campaign. It will include a new education center, amphitheater, tanks for the turtles, a nature walk, gift shop, and a veterinary clinic where the existing facility now stands. When completed, we will have room to accommodate more people, more turtles and have more technology available to improve our efforts in conservation. The newly installed solar-powered amber street lamps on Turtle Drive are one step toward our major goal. Reptiles cannot see amber or red light wavelengths as well as other wavelengths. Because of that, it does not disturb the sea turtles when they are trying to orient themselves on the beach. Jeff George, STI's Executive Director, said he sees a not-too-distant future, when the sea turtles recover their numbers and their will be too many nests to move into our corral. When that happens, we will need turtle friendly lights across the island, so the hatchlings will not get confused when they make their way to the ocean at night. These lamps use the power of the sun to light the pathway leading to our future education center. So if you pass by us at night, take a look at our new street lamps. And encourage others to adopt the same practice. Thanks again, Green Mountain Energy and Sun Club customers, your efforts have made a big difference on South Padre Island.

Sea Turtle, Inc.'s Executive Director, Jeff George, and Tony Napolillo, Green Mountain Energy Sun Club Program Manager, hold a check to Sea Turtle, Inc. for $30,000 for the purpose of solar light street lamps. The check was presented in December 2013 and the lamps were installed and working perfectly by July 2014.

Sea Turtle, Inc.'s Executive Director, Jeff George, and Tony Napolillo, Green Mountain Energy Sun Club Program Manager, hold a check to Sea Turtle, Inc. for $30,000 for the purpose of solar light street lamps. The check was presented in December 2013 and the lamps were installed and working perfectly by July 2014.

Please click here to read Green Mountain's blog entry about the event!