The View From the Driver’s Seat of a Sea Turtle Rescue Truck
The husband and wife driving team of Ron and Margaret-Mary Shellito are at the wheel of a FedEx Custom Critical truck for the sea turtles rescue effort. They have more than 26 years of experience driving FedEx Custom Critical trucks, with a focus on transporting temperature-controlled shipments. Between them, they have driven more than eight million miles without an accident.
By Margaret-Mary Shellito
Friday, July 9 – Morning
This is the first day of the turtle egg run so naturally it’s the most exciting day. We’re taking these eggs to a safe location and even though we wish it wasn’t necessary, we’re just really excited to be a part of first relocation. Going on this trip really is fantastic, it’s awesome. I just can’t wait. A lot of people are already aware that FedEx is involved in this project and we’re very proud to be a part of it and we’re just so excited to transport the eggs.
Watching the eggs get put into our truck was incredible. I’m just thrilled that the eggs are in the trailer, safe and sound. We’re going to secure them, and then it’s off to Cape Canaveral where these little guys can hatch and be released into the Atlantic.
Friday, July 9th – Evening after arriving in Cape Canaveral
The trip was uneventful which was good; uneventful trips are the best. The traffic wasn’t bad at all… nice smooth roads, which was great. The eggs had an easy ride all the way into Cape Canaveral.
The permit holder for the eggs, biologist Robbin Trindell, was riding with us so she gave us a lot more detailed information on the different species of sea turtles and the entire process from laying the eggs to hatching to baby turtles going into the ocean. For instance, did you know that the gender of a loggerhead turtle is determined by the temperature of its underground nest during incubation? Or did you know that hatchlings dig from the sand to the surface after incubating for nearly two months?...
We also learned so much more about the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and the entire program to save the turtles. I just can’t believe how many people are involved in this effort, it makes me proud to be a part of this.
The trip took about nine hours. We didn’t have to stop for fuel, or stop at all for that matter. We have a fridge in the truck full of food and we had drinks and snacks along the way. We pulled into Cape Canaveral about 8:55 p.m. Everyone there was so nice and the guards explained that from now on NASA is giving Ron and me badges so we can get into the gate without any delay. The guards were sooo nice, they even offered us mosquito spray, but we already had some with us.
We drove the eggs where they were going to be housed. It was perfect, right at 86 degrees, nice and humid, and all ready for the turtle eggs. They got the eggs off the trailer safe and sound and told us in a few days there would be little turtles hatching!
We’re getting ready for the next trip, adding more pallets. They’ve been washed and cleaned and are ready for us so we can transport more nests to Cape Canaveral.
To be a part of this is just amazing. It makes us feel so proud to be selected to be a part of this.
Ron keeps teasing me because I’m being so maternal about these turtles and I said of course I am!
I can’t wait to see them hatch and be set free. [See photos of the first released hatchlings]