How You Can Help

Here are some ways you can help protect Wrightsville Beach’s nesting sea turtles:

  • Leave only footprints when you visit the beach. Do not leave any trash, and fill in your holes. Litter presents choking and entanglement hazards for sea turtles, and holes create entrapments.
  • Skip the straw! When dining out in a restaurant, ask for your beverage with no straw. This is an easy way to cut down on your single-use plastic consumption and keep straws out of our ocean. For a list of local restaurants that serve a straw only upon request, here’s a link to certified Ocean Friendly Establishments compiled by the Plastic Ocean Project.
  • Dispose properly of microfilament fishing line and don’t use gill nets or cast nets.
  • If you live in or are vacationing in a beachside home during sea turtle nesting season, turn off your beach-facing lights after dark. Sea turtle hatchlings are attracted to the brightest light on the beach and can end up in streets, pools, and parking lots instead of the ocean. Remember: lights out for the turtles!
  • If you spot a sick or injured sea turtle, or if you see sea turtle tracks on the beach, please call 252-241-7367. This is a North Carolina statewide hotline. Volunteers in the area nearest you will be dispatched.
  • If you’re interested in volunteering with us please email wbturtlewatchers@gmail.com and ask to be notified of our next new volunteer training meeting. A mandatory training meeting takes place each spring.

Volunteering with WBSTP opened so many doors for me, professionally and personally. I met so many wonderful, inspiring women that have continued to encourage and support me. Saving sea turtles is such a unique experience, and for me, has been truly life changing! -Hope Presley

Volunteer with Us

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for the WBSTP! All volunteers are required to attend a spring training meeting at the Fran Russ Recreation Center in Wrightsville Beach. This meeting typically takes place during late March or early April. Please note this meeting is mandatory in order to register with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and sign up to complete volunteer activities. Our active volunteer season then takes place during loggerhead nesting season, May 15 to August 31.

To volunteer during the next active volunteer season, please email wbturtlewatchers@gmail.com and ask to be notified of the next spring training meeting. We will notify you by email as soon as the meeting is scheduled.

WBSTP president Nancy Fahey, front right, releases Big April into the ocean after successful rehabilitation at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City. Big April was rescued off of the north end of Wrightsville Beach in April 2013.

 

Volunteer Activities Include

  • Monitoring the beach at dawn for signs of nesting activity. Loggerhead sea turtles nest at night during the months of May, June, July and August, so volunteers walk the beach every morning at sunrise to look for sea turtle tracks. When we locate tracks, we follow them to the nest site. We then rope off the nest site to keep it protected until it hatches.
  • “Nest sitting.” Once a nest nears the end of its incubation period, we monitor it nightly. Sometimes nests hatch after about 50 days; sometimes they take as long as about 70 days. There is no way to know exactly how long a nest will take to hatch, and at what time of night it will hatch, so this activity takes a lot of patience!
  • Providing educational information and selling WBSTP merchandise at events. Annual events that we participate in are the Wilmington Earth Day Festival and the North Carolina Flotilla Festival. We typically hold 2-3 additional fundraisers each year in collaboration with local businesses. All volunteers are asked to participate in at least one fundraising event per year.
  • Acting, at all times, as an ambassador for the turtles and spreading a positive message about wildlife conservation. We speak for the turtles!

WBSTP can best be described as a group of amazing, dedicated conservationists. I have made lifelong friendships with these wonderful people while sharing the overwhelming emotion of watching hundreds of baby turtles boil from the sand and make their way to the ocean. When someone thanks me for volunteering I always say, these little turtles have given me so much more than I could ever give them! -Jenny Johnston

For Current Volunteers:

Volunteers are responsible for reporting their volunteer hours and mileage to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the organization from which we receive our legal permit. Please mail this form monthly to the address included in the upper right corner of form. For active, registered volunteers, you’ll find current information regarding volunteer activities and guidelines in the PDFs below.

Conservation Partners