Volunteers / Training

N.E.S.T Volunteers

Sea turtles are one of the Earth’s most ancient creatures. The seven species that live today have been around for 110 million years, since the time of the dinosaurs. Five species – Loggerhead, Kemp’s Ridley, Green, Hawksbill, and Leatherback – can be found along the coast of North Carolina. Now the very survival of all sea turtles is either threatened or critically endangered due to among other things, entanglement in fishing gear, poaching and illegal trade, coastal development, marine debris, global warming, and ocean pollution.

In order to combat these threats N.E.S.T. needs your help on the Outer Banks in protecting sea turtle nests and hatchlings, rescuing injured sea turtles and reaching out to the public about the challenges to sea turtle survival.

Join One of Our Turtle Teams

  • Nesting Response Team
  • ATV Crawl Patrol Team
  • Nest Sitting Team
  • Cold Stun Stranding Response
  • Rehabilitation Team
  • Education Committee
  • Fundraising Committee
  • Board of Directors

Training is mandatory for all active NEST volunteers. Because sea turtles are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), anyone handling a sea turtle or sea turtle eggs must have an ESA permit. You can get a permit once you attend training classes.

Training is available during certain times of the year in:

  1. Nest identification and verification
  2. Nest sitting
  3. Turtle stranding and rescue
  4. Turtle rehabilitation **
  5. ATV beach nest patrol
  6. Marine mammals

Go to http://www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/EducationCenters/OuterBanks/EventRegistration.aspx to sign up for training. Once you become a volunteer you will receive regular emails about training opportunities and N.E.S.T. activities.

** All S.T.A.R. Center volunteers shall be subject to all regulations, procedures and policies as set forth by and applicable to the North Carolina Aquariums and the NC Department of Cultural Resources. N.E.S.T. assumes no responsibility or liability for S.T.A.R. Center volunteers.

Winter 2019 Marine Mammal Training Schedule

Please read the descriptions below to learn more about the trainings being offered and which one you should attend.

  • Volunteer Orientation – This training is for all volunteers interested helping with the Outer Banks Marine Mammal Stranding Network (OBX MMSN). We will discuss the various species which strand in NC and the response efforts by the stranding network.
  • Seal Monitoring 101 -Seals are a protected species that are monitored and managed by members of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. This training is for volunteers who wish to help the MMSN Network to protect and educate the public about seals. Learn about what seals are on our beaches, when and why they visit, and how to fill out a seal sighting report. New volunteers should also complete a volunteer application by clicking here. PLEASE NOTE: this training is for new volunteers or volunteers who don’t have as much experience with seals and want a review of the entire health assessment process and form. 
  • Seal Monitoring 201 – This will be a review training for experienced volunteers in which we will briefly go over the seal sighting form, as well as discuss setting up perimeters and where you can obtain seal monitoring supplies. Experienced volunteers only need to attend Seal Monitoring 201 and do not need to attend Seal Monitoring 101. PLEASE NOTE: This training is for experienced volunteers or volunteers who have completed 3 or more seal sighting forms.

December 12th in Corolla at the Wildlife Center

  • 9:00 AM MMSN Volunteer Orientation – 0.5 hr
  • 9:30 AM Seal Monitoring 101 – 1.25 hrs
  • 10:30 AM Seal Monitoring 201 – 1 hr

To register, click here or call 252-453-0221 ex. 1.

December 17th in KDH at the Library

  • 6:00 PM MMSN Volunteer Orientation – 0.5 hr
  • 6:30 PM Seal Monitoring 101 – 1.25 hrs
  • 7:30 PM Seal Monitoring 201 – 1 hr

To register, click here or call 252-453-0221 ex. 1.

January 7th in Corolla at the Wildlife Center

  • 9:00 AM MMSN Volunteer Orientation – 0.5 hr
  • 9:30 AM Seal Monitoring 101 – 1.25 hrs
  • 10:30 AM Seal Monitoring 201 – 1 hr

To register, click here or call 252-453-0221 ex. 1.

January 11th in Nags Head at Jennette’s Pier Classroom

  • 9:00 AM MMSN Volunteer Orientation – 0.5 hr
  • 9:30 AM Seal Monitoring 101 – 1.25 hrs
  • 10:30 AM Seal Monitoring 201 – 1 hr

To register, click here or call 252-453-0221 ex. 1.

February 4th in KDH at the Library

  • 9:00 AM MMSN Volunteer Orientation – 0.5 hr
  • 9:30 AM Seal Monitoring 101 – 1.25 hrs
  • 10:30 AM Seal Monitoring 201 – 1 hr

To register, click here or call 252-453-0221 ex. 1.