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  • Writer's pictureStar Sota

Sea Turtle Hospital News

One of the key components of our corporate mission is education. That’s one of the reasons we open our hospital for tours as often as physically possible during the year. And that’s why we set aside an Education Day for area schools and partner with various regional environmental programs (Sea Turtle Camp, Marine Quest) during the summer months. Over the years we have discovered that if you “start the learnin’ early” it sticks. Many of our interns got the bug when they visited our hospital decades ago. We’ve watched many of these kids grow up; they regularly bring us money they have earned with some special project or have asked that their friends and relatives to support our turtles rather than buy them birthday gifts.

In the gift shop we always spend time talking to families about their experience on the tour, and honestly the kids do about as much talking as the adults. They can go into great detail about how a turtle lays her eggs, or how bad plastic is. They always have a particular patient that they fall in love with and want to tell us about. And of course they want to take home a plush turtle, sea creature (sharks are big) or other turtle items to remember their visit. Often their arms are full, but they are quick to point out that not everything is for them. As they lay their treasures on the counter they designate who (brother, sister, best friend) gets what. It’s really cute and gives us some hope for the future. Today’s kids will ultimately be the ones who decide what kind of world we’re going to be living in.

Over the years we have upgraded and expanded our gift shop to carry not only the perennial favorites but new styles of clothing, hand-crafted throws, gift items by local artisans and books and puzzles. We always listen to our visitors and do our sourcing based on what they are telling us they like and what we’re getting a lot of requests for. And we’re really excited to now carry one particular item that we’ve been asked for over and over – a doll. Our gal is decked out in her Topsail Turtle Project T-shirt with all the gear needed for a turtle rescue. She’s standing by for the call, but in the meantime she’d love to just tag along with you on your next trip to the beach.

April tours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM – 2 PM. However, we will not be open Easter weekend, or the following weekend when we have a previously scheduled private event. You will need to purchase tour tickets in advance through our website www.seaturtlehospital.org. You can visit the gift shop during those hours without taking the tour.

As the cold stun admits wind down the pier caught turtles are taking their place, and of course the first victims are Kemp’s - arriving daily. Our local pier owners can advise you on the safe handling (for the turtle and yourself) of any critter accidentally snagged on your gear. They will call us for retrieval. If you come across any sick or injured turtle on the beach or in the water immediately call our Director of Beach Operations, Terry Meyer at: 910-470-2880. If she is not available, call the hospital during operating hours: 910-329-0222. The State of NC hotline for stranded, sick and injured turtles is 252-241-7367. The state number picks up 24/7. All conservation work for endangered sea turtles at KBSTRRC and on Topsail Island is authorized by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, ES Permit 23ST05.

Our latest turtle hospital "volunteer"

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