About Boyd N. Lyon
Read Peter Pritchard's story about Boyd in the Marine Turtle Newsletter.
See Boyd's induction into the Penn Manor Distinguished Wall of Honor.
On August 10, 2006, Boyd Nathaniel Lyon, age 37, died in the water off the coast of Melbourne Beach, FL doing the thing he most loved to do, trying to capture an elusive male sea turtle.
Born on August 3, 1969 in Lancaster, PA, Boyd pursued passionately his interests in soccer, music, photography and turtles. His passion for chasing turtles began at Leaf Park near his home and he would spend hours staring at the water waiting for a turtle to appear. This patience and perseverance he learned as a young boy would help define him for the rest of his life. Throughout his elementary and high school years his house and yard were filled with countless turtles from common box turtles, to snapping turtles, to exotic African tortoises. His choice of reading was "The Encyclopedia of Turtles" written by Dr. Peter C.H. Pritchard. During these years he also developed his talents as a soccer player and guitar player. He would spend hours each day practicing his shots at the "kickboard" and then return home to practice scales and songs into the night. He graduated from Penn Manor High School in 1988 where he lettered in soccer for four years and was a member of the Keystone State Team.
Boyd initially chose to attend West Virginia University as a soccer player, but the mountains and cold weather were not for him. He convinced the coach of the San Diego State University Aztecs to allow him to try out and he made the team. He played soccer until graduation in 1994 and was recognized one year for having the highest academic record for a student athlete. It was no surprise that he earned his BS degree in Biology. After graduation from SDSU, Boyd continued to pursue his passion for coaching soccer, playing guitar and photography. He enjoyed some success in several local San Diego bands as well as honing his photography skills with a friend who was a professional photographer for Sports Illustrated. For the last ten years, he put aside his love of chasing turtles and coached for the Rancho Santa Fe Attack Soccer Club and ran summer soccer camps. He touched the lives of many students from the elementary to high school level.
In the fall of 2004 Boyd discovered there was a population of Pacific Green Turtles living in San Diego Bay not far from his home. This discovery enticed Boyd to enroll in graduate classes at his alma mater and become involved in turtle research. With a research assistantship with the National Marine Fisheries Service and NOAA in La Jolla, CA. he began working with one of his great mentors and friend, Dr. Jeffrey Seminoff, on projects involving the Eastern Pacific Green Turtles. His specific interest was in the collection of data on the male sea turtles of which little is known as they never return to shore once they hatch. He was finally back pursuing his primary life-long passion.
The central Florida coastline is home to one of the most prolific sea turtle nesting areas in the country.
After fifteen years of living in San Diego, Boyd decided to uproot his life and move to Florida to attend
graduate school full-time. Boyd's soon-to-be advisor deemed his application for admission "unusual."
His work experience and lapse from academia were not the norm, but Boyd's intense passion for turtles was evident, and he was admitted. His advisor would be Dr. Peter Pritchard, the author of Boyd's first turtle book. During this last year, Boyd traveled with Dr. Pritchard to Baja, CA and the Galápagos Islands. These were some of his most gratifying experiences. His life had come full circle and, as he recently
stated, he could not believe that he had achieved everything he had wanted to do as a child.
Since January 2006, he had been working on a graduate degree in Biology at the University of Central Florida and doing research at the UCF Marine Turtle Research Institute in Melbourne Beach. He had planned to continue his education through the post-doctoral level and focus his research on the basking behavior of the eastern Pacific Green Turtle in the Pacific, Australia and the Galápagos.