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.

2020-2021 Cold Stun Stranding Season

Due to the evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and CDC recommendations, all trainings this fall will be offered online and volunteer activates will be modified to include face coverings and social distancing. We appreciate that volunteers carefully weigh the risks before choosing to participate this year. We also greatly appreciate volunteer adoption of our safety measures and diligence in maintaining them to help minimize risk for all. After taking all this into consideration, if you are able to volunteer with us the season, THANK YOU! We will be needing more volunteers this year to assist. (And for our dedicated volunteers who need to sit out this year, we will miss you and welcome you back when it’s time. Thank you for staying safe.)

Fall 2020 Cold Stun Sea Turtle Training Schedule

Stranding Response 101 – Live Virtual Instruction

For NEW (or ‘dusty’) Field Patrol and Staging Site volunteers. These sessions will be scheduled and limited to 5 participants per session to maximize individualized instruction. We will go over how to complete a Stranding Report and how to enter onto Seaturtle.org/strand.

  • Sat 11/14 at 9AM
  • Mon 11/16 at 9:30AM
  • Wed 11/18 at 6:30PM
  • Sun 11/22 at 3PM
  • Tues 11/24 at 1:30PM
  • Wed 12/2 at 9:30AM

To register and receive the Zoom link to training, click here and then select your desired date on the calendar.

Stranding Response 201 – Online Training Module

For RETURNING Field Patrol and Staging Site volunteers. We will provide a brief review on how to complete a Stranding Report and how to enter onto Seaturtle.org/strand followed by a short quiz.

  • Link TBA
Field Patrol Orientation – Live Virtual Instruction.

For NEW (or ‘dusty’) Field Patrol volunteers. We will go through complete background on cold stun response and review resources for field patrol volunteers.

  • Tues 11/17 at 1:30PM
  • Sat 11/21 at 9AM

To register and receive the Zoom link to training, click here and then select your desired date on the calendar.

Field Patrol Q&A – Live Virtual Session

For RETURNING Field Patrol volunteers. Returning volunteers will join the live sessions after the Orientation is complete so that new and returning volunteers can ‘meet’ and we’ll review COVID-19 modifications for this season and open to questions. (Returning Field Patrol volunteers unable to make these sessions will be given an Online Field Patrol Review to complete).

  • Tues 11/17 at 2:45PM
  • Sat 11/21 at 10:15AM

To register and receive the Zoom link to training, click here and then select your desired date on the calendar.

Staging Site Orientation – Online Training Module

For NEW and RETURNING Staging Site volunteers. This will be a pre-recorded session reviewing different jobs at the staging site. This should be taken prior to attending the Drill Session.

  • Link TBA
Staging Site Drill Session –  Live Virtual Drill

For NEW and RETURNING Staging Site volunteers. This will be a live session where we step through different stages of processing turtles at the Staging Site and discuss COVID-19 modifications. Attendees should complete the Online Training Module as well as Stranding Training prior to attending a Drill Session.

  • Tues 12/01 at 1:30PM
  • Sat 12/5 at 1:30PM
What training should I attend?

Staging Site  & Transport Volunteers should attend:

  1. Stranding Response (Live session if you are new, the online module if you are returning.)
  2. Staging Site Orientation (For both new and returning volunteers)
  3. Staging Site Drill Session (For both new and returning volunteers)

Field Patrol Volunteers should attend

  1. Stranding Response (Live session if you are new, the online module if you are returning.)
  2. (new volunteers) Field Patrol Training Orientation / (returning volunteers) Field Patrol Q&A or Online Field Patrol Review