About Us

We’re a volunteer organization working to protect the endangered and threatened sea turtles of Wrightsville Beach, NC, and their nests.

Every day between May 15 and August 31, sea turtle nesting season locally, our volunteers walk the length of Wrightsville Beach, looking for signs of sea turtle nesting activity. Sea turtles nest at night, so volunteers check for their tracks in the sand. When a nest is located, it is roped off to designate it as a federally protected area. Volunteers then monitor it daily until it hatches, approximately 55-70 days later.

We work in close cooperation with the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City, NC. When sick or injured sea turtles are found, they are transported to the sea turtle hospital, lovingly rehabilitated by director Jean Beasley and a staff of dedicated volunteers, and eventually released back into the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Dick Chapman and a loggerhead nest

Dick Chapman stands with a loggerhead sea turtle nest in 2017. He and his wife, Linda, have been WBSTP volunteers since 2000, faithfully monitoring the beach strand for sea turtle tracks every summer.

Our Mission

Our mission is to facilitate and promote the protection and preservation of sea turtle populations and habitats by implementing conservation and protection measures through action, education, and collaboration with visitors, residents, landowners, businesses, government agencies, and other non-government and conservation organizations.

Our History

On a balmy night during the summer of 1994, a loggerhead sea turtle crawled ashore behind Hanover Seaside Club on Wrightsville Beach’s strand to deposit her precious clutch of eggs. The following morning, club member Jim Tyson recognized the turtle’s tracks in the sand and realized that without protection, the nest of eggs, buried underneath the sand, would likely be crushed or run over on the highly trafficked area of beach. Curious about what could be done to help protect Wrightsville Beach’s sea turtle nests, Jim engaged the interest of fellow club member Stephanie Carter.

Stephanie, WBSTP’s founder, began by calling state wildlife officials to find out what actions she could legally take to protect the nests of sea turtles, which are state and federally protected species. The coordinator of the state-wide sea turtle project, part of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, visited Wrightsville Beach to train Stephanie how to identify sea turtle nests.

Continuing her training, Stephanie visited Topsail Island, where she stayed with and was mentored by Jean Beasley, director of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. Stephanie shadowed Jean for several days, learning the process of recording valuable nest data, which is reported to the wildlife resources commission. Upon returning to Wrightsville Beach, Stephanie was ready to begin enlisting volunteers to help with daily beach monitoring, roping off nests, and monitoring nests during sea turtle nesting season.

In 2003, Stephanie moved to Tennessee and then-volunteer Nancy Fahey assumed her role as president and volunteer coordinator in 2004, growing the organization from approximately 25 active volunteers to more than 100. The Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project obtained federal 501c(3) nonprofit status in 2004.

Today volunteers of the WBSTP monitor the length of Wrightsville Beach every morning during sea turtle nesting season, from May through the end of August, looking for sea turtle tracks. They rope off and monitor sea turtle nests to keep them protected until they reach the end of their incubation period, which takes approximately 60 days, and monitor nests nightly when they reach the end of their incubation period. Nancy also responds to stranding emergencies in Wrightsville Beach, transporting sick and injured adult sea turtles to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City.

Meet the Board

Nancy Fahey
Nancy Fahey
President/Volunteer Coordinator
Linda Chapman
Linda Chapman
Treasurer
Nicole Guite
Secretary
Susan Miller
Board Member at Large
Renee Tevelow
Renee Tevelow
Board Member at Large
Cathy Campau
Cathy Campau
Board Member at Large
Cassandra Diemer
Cassandra Diemer
Board Member at Large