Network for Endangered Sea Turtles 24 HR. HOTLINE 252-441-8622

Educating OBX Students

Educating Future N.E.S.T. Generations:  Dare County Schools

N.E.S.T. is thrilled to have integrated lessons about our sea turtles into the curriculum of Kitty Hawk Elementary School (KHES). Following a meeting with Dr. John Farrelly, Dare County School Superintendent, we look forward to expanding into more Dare County Schools.  We also proudly announce that N.E.S.T. and our loggerhead sea turtles will become part of a national educational program called Breakout Box.Edu. (see below)

These magnificent creatures come to our beaches each year and it is critical that boys and girls understand and have knowledge about what is in their own ecosystem and environment. N.E.S.T. will need these young people to follow in our footsteps to protect and conserve these threatened and endangered species.

Student in love with sea turtles

Sea turtle studies continue to expand at Kitty Hawk Elementary School. New books provided by N.E.S.T. are especially popular with our new generation of sea turtle lovers.

Volunteers excavate a successful nest to determine % of eggs that hatched and health of nest. Photo by S. Westheiden

Library sea turtle display is fun for the entire school

Everyone gets involved!


Through the hard work of N.E.S.T. volunteers

During the summer of 2017 a meeting was held between N.E.S.T. volunteers and the Principal, Dr. Greg Florence, of KHES to discuss the opportunity of introducing sea turtles life into the school curriculum. Following several meetings and N.E.S.T.’s development of a curriculum notebook we met with teacher representatives from each grade level (K-5th grade) and the media specialist. The curriculum notebooks had units/lessons covering the life of a sea turtle.  Topics included nest observation, nest protection and hatching turtles, sea turtle food and numerous other subjects. Each lesson plan was aligned with the North Carolina State Standards. The second half of the notebook included a recommended reading list as well as research documents. This opened the door to what has turned out to be a very exciting and growing opportunity to educate future generations about the beautiful threatened and endangered sea turtles that live in these children’s own backyard.

Loggerhead sea turtle on the wall of Kitty Hawk Elementary School

Student scientist at the STAR Center

  • In the following months, the library/media center has become the center of turtle activity at the school. A full display has been constructed with books, charts, models and a sandbox full of ping pong balls to bury as eggs.
  • Many of the teachers have used the lessons in the N.E.S.T. notebooks to integrate sea turtles into their curriculum: Kindergarten now teaches the On the Sargasso Sea, 1st grade has seen the new video on turtle life and protection and put together a food chain for sea turtles, and 2nd grade has cut, colored and assembled a turtle diagram.
  •  3rd, 4th and 5th grade have experienced the newly created Breakout/lockbox game based on the life of the loggerhead sea turtle. And 4th grade is learning research methods based on loggerhead sea turtles and will incorporate a full science unit on sea turtle adaptations.

This year the 4th grade classes from KHES visited the STAR (Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation) Center as part of their sea turtle studies. Seeing our sea turtles in rehabilitation is both educational and exciting for the children.

Many of the lessons and new sea turtle books the school is using educate the students about the threats that sea turtles face and how they can help clean our beaches and educate their families and friends.

It’s time for something different…the Breakout Box!

On Fun Fridays at Kitty Hawk Elementary it’s Breakout Boxes, which are based on the national learning game platform. Breakout Boxes were developed by the school media specialist with the help of N.E.S.T. volunteers and will be included in the national Breakout Box Program (see )

These game boxes help with critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication. Teams of 5 students work to unlock 5 locks by working out 5 clues!

  • The breakout box is a unique collection of resettable locks, clues to help unlock the locks and of course rewards in the box once it is open. The NEST Loggerhead Box includes clues such as: loggerhead sea turtle diet, sea turtle species, sea turtle predators and sea turtle habitats.
  • Learning and fun combine to teach math, science, history, language and team building plus the kids love it!

Breakout Box at Kitty Hawk Elementary school