South Padre Island
Public Hatchling Releases

July 2014 at County Access 3
Upon hatching from their eggs, baby sea turtles begin life in what is termed a frenzy. Nature has given them this enhanced energy so that they can scurry to the sea and find their way to the sargassum which will serve as their primary habitat during their first few years of life.

Public releases will be held for hatchlings that frenzy in the early morning hours between 5:00 and 6:30 am but not for those hatchlings who emerge from their eggs in the middle of the night because it is important to allow them to use this energy while it lasts. As a result, it is not known if there will be a hatchling release until about two hours prior to the actual release.

The actual area where the hatchlings traverse is roped off for their safety and
the public is invited to cheer them on from behind the rope.

2014 Hatchling release estimations are:

Nest 1 — June 29 to July 5
Nest 2&3 — July 1 to 7
Nest 4 to 7 — July 4 to 8
Nest 8 — July 9 to 13
Nest 9 — July 13 to 18
Nests 10 thru 14 — July 22 to 27
Nest 15 & 16 — July 23 to 28
Nest 17 & 18 — July 24 to 28
Nest 19 — July 25 to 29


he Turtle Lady Legacy is a non-profit organization which is committed to continuing the work of Ila Loetscher and memorializing her historic efforts to save the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle from extinction. Founded by Ila's niece Mary Ann Tous in 2005, the goals of The Turtle Lady Legacy are twofold. 

The first goal is to spread awareness about the importance of sea turtle conservation through educational  programs and events while the other goal is to create a lasting tribute to Ila's historically significant life.  The collection of her journals, correspondence, recognitions, and many other items has never before been available to the general public and it is our mission to share it with the world.

So, we welcome you to our website which is dedicated to the work of a remarkable woman who has left a significant impact on our world and we also hope to share how we at the Turtle Lady Legacy strive to keep the flame of her passion burning ever bright.

Turtle Lady Legacy Logo

In Honor of Ila Loetscher,
the Turtle Lady
of South Padre Island

Ila Loetscher with a flippered friend


Whereas Ila was the original founder of Sea Turtle Inc.,
The Turtle Lady Legacy is not affiliated with the organization
and relies solely on donations
in order to continue the programs which we provide for the public without charge.


The Turtle Lady Legacy is an Approved Partner of the:
 Texas Master Naturalist Program

Texas Master Naturalist Rio Grande Valley Chapter Logo

For more information about this extraordinary organization, click here

Remembering Ila:
Answering the question "What was Ila like in person?"

My first memory of South Padre Island is when I was about six years
old. As I opened the car door I knew I was in a remarkable place.
I remember...

When Democrats and Republicans can rarely see eye-to-eye on anything, we're happy to know that when it comes to recognizing the importance of the Kemp's ridley sea turtle in Texas, they're in 100% agreement. On May 10, 2013, the Texas Senate voted unanimously to approve Bill HCR 31 to designate the Kemp's ridley sea turtle as the official state sea turtle.

Ila's Impact on Sea Turtle Conservation Featured in Texas Now Magazine

In their May 2013 issue, Texas Now Magazine published the first of a two-part series about Ila and her sea turtle conservation work which is generating renewed interest in Ila and the sea turtles which she helped to save from extinction.
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