Jack Lighton’s love of the ocean is evident by looking at him. From his preference for blue clothing to the turtle on his lapel, Lighton, the president and CEO of Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, proudly presents his passion in his clothing and his actions.
Turtles first came onto Lighton’s radar when, as a kid, his family moved from the suburbs of Detroit to Jupiter Island. He fondly recalls witnessing sea turtles nesting at night on the beaches near his home. “I became completely enamored by it,” he says.
His parents fostered this interest, involving the family in what was then the Children’s Museum of Juno Beach. It became The Marinelife Center of Juno Beach in 1990 before moving to a new location and changing its name to Loggerhead Marinelife Center in 2007. In March 2013, after a lifetime visiting and supporting the organization, Lighton left his job as a business consultant in New York City to lead the team at Loggerhead.
No one day at the center is the same, and Lighton likes it that way. “You never know if there’ll be a brand new sea turtle patient being rushed into our hospital,” he says. “You never know how many field trips and children might be on campus that you can say a few inspirational words to, and maybe in 20 or 30 years they’ll be sitting in my chair.”
On March 25, Lighton will welcome guests to one of his favorite events, Turtlefest. This free festival, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will highlight Loggerhead’s conservation efforts with hands-on activities, educational presentations, music, and art.
There are many reasons to celebrate at Loggerhead. Currently, the center maintains a sea turtle hospital and a research laboratory on its main campus, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier. It recently announced an expansion project that will increase its facilities and add new classrooms and presentation spaces. All of these efforts will allow Lighton and his staff to host more visitors and share the vital message of ocean conservation.
Want to know ways you can save the ocean? “Supporting ocean or environmental conservation can be very easy and people can make very small steps that can make a huge impact over time,” Lighton says. Below, he shares his top two tips for conservation:
1. Use reusable water bottles. By opting for reusable bottles over one-time-use plastic ones, you can eliminate thousands of plastic bottles from going into landfills.
2. Organize a beach cleanup. Get a small group of family or friends together, head to the beach, and start cleaning. “You’ll become amazed and a little motivated by how much stuff is out there,” Lighton says.