September 8, 2018

N.E.S.T. is very fortunate to have members who are very talented in many areas who use their talents to aid in the survival of threatened and endangered sea turtles.

Ashby King is one of the talented N.E.S.T. members. She is the daughter of Holly and Mike King who are also very active and long term NESTers. She is a junior at First Flight High School.

According to Ashby’s mother Holly, Ashby has always been one to take things apart and put them together in a new way. Our downstairs is filled with things like motorized carts, repurposed electronics, and even a skim board that she crafted and shaped with her own fiberglass mold. When the concept of listening to hatchlings underground became a reality.

Ashby ready to demonstrate her listending device. Note her attention to detail in matching the color of the headset to the color of the N.E.S.T. volunteer t-shirt.


Ashby (right)  at a sea turtle nest assisting Karen Clark, NC Wildlife Resource Commission and other N.E.S.T. volunteers

Ashby recognized that N.E.S.T. had a limited number of very expensive Dolphin Ears (a listening device used at sea turtle nests to hear hatchling sounds) to share among multiple nests. Not willing to chance it, Ashby took matters in her own hands. With a budget of $50, she designed and bought the supplies to create her own underwater hydrophone that would amplify underground sounds to a set of earphones and as well as to a wireless speaker. Her design worked perfectly!

Ashby and her listening device

In addition to First Flight High School athletics (Varsity Swim and Varsity Lacrosse), she volunteers for NEST, a passion that started 5 years ago when she moved to the Outer Banks. After a summer of Nest Sitting with her parents, Ashby attended NEST trainings and served as nest responder, nest sitter, and cold response member as well as educating youth through the NEST Educational outreach programs. Her experience has afforded her the opportunity to see many nest environments – successful nests, nests lost to natural conditions, disoriented hatchlings, and surprise nests. In fact, Ashby is one of the youngest Nesters to find and parent a nest! Her favorite part of serving in NEST is listening to underground hatchlings and excavating a hatched nest.

Not to rest on her current accomplishment, Ashby is currently working on an improved design for her hydrophone ($46) and building a night vision video camera, complete with Wi-Fi broadcast ($54) to aid in the survival of one of nature’s finest … the sea turtle.

Our thanks to Ashby King, one of the N.E.S.T. volunteers who make a difference. SALUTE!