Turtle Power: New Va. License Plate to Protect Sea Life

Maryland has its Bay plate, and now the Commonwealth is getting behind the wheel with a new plate to help protect marine life.

The light blue plate features an endangered loggerhead sea turtle and the tagline “Protect Sea Life.” Sales of the plate will support Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center research, conservation, and marine animal rescue. But— there’s a catch. The aquarium can’t go ahead with production of the license plate unless 450 people pre-order one by the end of the year.

If the plates do get made, their proceeds will not just help to fund research and conservation efforts, they’ll also support the aquarium’s Stranding Response Program, which rescues and rehabilitates stranded marine mammals and turtles across the state.

Since the Stranding Response Program was created decades ago, the team has responded to more than 2,500 marine mammals including whales, dolphins, and seals, and more than 5,500 sea turtles. During the last fiscal year alone, they helped 273 sea turtles and 98 marine mammals.

Aquarium Director of Research and Conservation Mark Swingle says the plates are a good way for locals to lend a hand in conservation efforts. “This license plate enables drivers to show the world that they support conservation of the marine environment and the incredible ecological diversity within it. It is an exciting opportunity to generate much-needed funds for the important work that our team conducts every day.”

For the plates to move ahead, 50 must be pre-sold by December 31. A plate is available for $25, and personalized plates for $35. If the pre-order goal is reached, the plate will head to the Virginia General Assembly to be approved. Should the 450 quota not be met, money will be refunded.

For more information on pre-ordering a plate, click here.

 –Laura Adams Boycourt