Episode 56: Mark Berte - Alabama Coastal Foundation

In this Episode we speak with Mark Berte about the purpose and Alabama Coastal Foundation and how they've partnered with Maglite to help save baby Sea Turtles during their hatching process - the Maglite Spectrum Red flashlights are in a workable spectrum that does not harm Sea Turtles when used correctly.

Help support ACF by purchasing our "Share The Beach" Solitaire LED Spectrum Series Red flashlight - click here for details



Lou Desmond: It's a MAG-TAC Podcast.

Welcome to the Maglite Podcast. I'm your host Lou Desmond, PR Director here at Maglite. And, we get to work with some really interesting organizations, and one of them that is really off the beaten path for us, and was a really fun connection that we made a couple of years ago, and a useful connection, is the Alabama Coastal Foundation.

And let me bring in my contact from there, Mr. Mark Berte. Hey, Mark.

Mark Berte: Hello, Lou.

Lou Desmond: Great to talk to you. So, tell us about the Alabama Coastal Foundation. What is it, what do you do? And what's your title there, and what do you do there?

Mark Berte: I'm the Executive Director, actually of the last 10 years. But ACF, the Alabama Coastal Foundation's been around for 29 years, to improve and protect Alabama's coastal environment. And, we say we do that through cooperation, education, and participation. Cooperation just means we work with other individuals, other nonprofit groups, the governmental sector, whether that's local, state or federal, private sector, small business industry. We don't care where you are. As long as you're going to do something to help the coastal environment, we're going to work with you.

Lou Desmond: And one of your slogans of course is, Share The Beach, with the turtle logo on it. These are actually logoed Maglites that we designed for your organization, with your logo and your tagline there. And of course, that's a sea turtle. And one of the things that your organization is very active in, is sea turtle protection, and this whole Share of The Beach movement. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Mark Berte:  Yeah. A lot of folks don't know that Alabama and the Gulf of Mexico does have sea turtles. And, our nesting season starts here, May through October. And the mama turtles do come up at night and lay in their nests. They're a protected species. So, the Alabama Coastal Foundation became the new home of Share The Beach, back in 2018. And we've been looking, and looking, and looking for a partner to actually create flashlights that have wavelengths, that don't disturb the sea turtles when they're nesting. And we are so very fortunate. And I know you probably were going to get restraining order, how many phone calls I had made, but this has been such a great partnership last year. And, this will be even better now that we're having a podcast. So, the world can know that sea turtles nest all throughout the world. And these could be purchased right through our website. Can give them a discount if they use ACF20, if they want to go through our website. It's our pen light and it's really is good for human watching, and walking on the beach.

And again, that they were tested wave lengths so that the LED light does not disturb nesting sea turtle. You're never supposed to shine any light towards any animal, and directly in the eyes, and you're supposed to stay back 30 feet anyway. But it is one of those things that's, just such a magical thing to see happening at night.

Lou Desmond:  So let's make clear, just because you have the red light, it doesn't mean go ahead and shine it at the sea turtles or any other animal.

Mark Berte:  That is correct. And it is in black and white on y'alls website, and on our own website as well.

Lou Desmond: Right. Don't do that.

Mark Berte: Right. This is really great. You can use this any time of the year. This is literally, a lot of folks, we have hunter, fisher people, part of our organization and they go at night. This is great for them to be able to see. If you're going star gazing, you can use it there. It's a pen light. So it's the great thing. It really is amazing. The Maglite, y'all have a whole package, a carrying case, but it's also got a little pen clip and has our logo. They're durable. They're water, drop resistant. So we are very, very pleased with this product.

Lou Desmond: So, what this is to be used for is for humans to find their own way around. But again, let's stress, you don't want to use this to shine at the animals. You don't want to point it at the sea turtles. This is so you can find your way around without shining a light in a spectrum, which is by the way, the name of the lights at Maglite. And we have multiple that are in different colors. Green, blue, red, soft white, all for different uses. That's our Spectrum series. And they come in all kinds of different sizes, from very small to larger, and from various lumens that you can use, and different battery packages and things.

And so there's a whole line of them called the Spectrum Series. But in particular, this red light is in a spectrum that many animals don't see, including these sea turtles, right?

Mark Berte: That's exactly right. And we're again, so pleased to partner with USA based Maglite, Mag Instruments, to be able to do this. And your CEO and everybody there has been so super to work with on this, as we're a small nonprofit. But again, this thing has applications around the world, in terms of the sea turtle nesting, and will certainly help to promote that. If people go to our website, join ACF.org, they can learn a lot about sea turtles. We actually have a live video feed of an osprey nest. They're at Wolf Bay. They can take our Coastal IQ Program for free, but I'm glad to partner with y'all.

Lou Desmond: That is fantastic. And, I really am thrilled that we can partner with you. I know everybody at Maglite is. Anything we can do to help a little bit environmentally with one of our products. These sea turtles are wonderful animals. I've done a fair amount of diving in my life, and they're really awesome to see underneath the water. And, they are of course, a species that is threatened. So, we want to do everything we can to make sure that they don't get disturbed, that they're nesting grounds are very successful. That there are lots of baby sea turtles that reproduce, and this light by Maglite in the Spectrum Series, it's one small way that Maglite can contribute that, to that effort.

One more time with your website. And where can they go to buy these lights, and support your organization at the same time?

Mark Berte: Well, as I said, they can adopt a nest wherever they are, that's joinacf.org. That's the Alabama Coastal Foundation. We're on all the social media, @AlabamaCoastal, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. But if people go to our website, there's literally right there. They can click on a flashlight link. It goes directly to your website. ACF20 is the code to get a 20% discount on all of our products.

Lou Desmond: Mark Berte with the Alabama Coastal Foundation. Thank you so much. And by the way everybody, remember, Share the Beach.