And then she waited for a phone call. And waited. And waited. And thought about making the 30+ mile drive in darkness each morning for six months straight. Finally, she got tired of waiting for someone else to do what needed to be done and she did it herself.
She began walking every day after sunrise. Seven days a week. In rain, chilly weather, and sun she walked Walton County’s 26 miles of beach. After a few weeks she got a call from Al Murphy, who had been given her name by Fish and Wildlife. Together, the pair divided up the beach and diligently recorded and counted nests and false crawls when they found them.
“We went to this end of the year meeting in Panama City and all these people who held official state permits were there,” Sharon said. “We had no authority; we were just doing this. But we wanted to report that we’d found 25 nests in Walton County. Do you know what they did? They laughed at us!”
In 1995 South Walton Turtle Watch became a 501c3 non-profit organization. With a lot of perseverance SWTW became the official turtle monitoring organization for Walton County, and then the organization became an official Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Marine Permit holder.