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

** 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.

NEST Spring 2022 Training Schedule

Nesting response training in Corolla at “virtual nests” as President John Cece looks on.

Sea Turtle Natural History
1 to 1.25 Hours

This training is predominately for new volunteers though all are welcome. This training covers basic life
cycle information regarding the 5 species of sea turtles that inhabit NC coastal waters.

  • 4/7/2022 Thu 7PM Online via Zoom
  • 4/13/2022 Wed 9AM Online via Zoom

To register, go to https://nc-wild.org/seaturtles/trainings/ and click on the session of interest. Click on
Sign Up and then use the “Sign-up without an account” button at the bottom of the pop-up.

Nesting Response Pre-Training
45 minutes

This asynchronous training (online module, taken at your own pace) is required for new N.E.S.T.
volunteers prior to attending Nesting Response 101. This training provides background in identifying
turtle crawls by species, techniques in locating eggs, and marking nest sites. During Nesting Response
101, participants will practice these skills in a field simulation. (Note: Experienced volunteer are
welcome to take the Pre-Training as well if they would like a re-fresher.)

The Pre-Training will be open during the month of April. Click here to access the training.

Nesting Response 101
1.5 Hours

This training is for new or rusty N.E.S.T. volunteers interested in responding to nesting events. The
training will take place on the beach. Volunteers will practice locating eggs and marking nest sites.
Volunteers should complete the online Nesting Response Pre-Training before attending this session.

  • 4/27/2022 Wed 10AM Kitty Hawk
  • 5/1/2022 Sun 3PM Corolla
  • 5/15/2022 Sun 4:30PM Kitty Hawk
  • 6/8/2022 Wed 10AM Corolla

To register, go to https://nc-wild.org/seaturtles/trainings/ and click on the session of interest. Click on
Sign Up and then use the “Sign-up without an account” button at the bottom of the pop-up.

Nesting Response 201
1.25 Hours

This training is for experienced N.E.S.T. volunteers interested in responding to nesting events. We briefly
review identifying nest sites, locating eggs, and marking nest sites followed by an enrichment session
discussing a topic involving sea turtle nesting behavior or biology. Volunteers looking for a more
comprehensive review on Crawl ID and locating eggs may wish to complete the online Nesting Response
Pre-Training before attending this session.

  • 4/27/2022 Wed 11:30AM Southern Shores
  • 5/1/2022 Sun 4:30PM Corolla
  • 5/4/2022 Wed 9AM Online via Zoom
  • 5/12/2022 Thu 7PM Online via Zoom

To register, go to https://nc-wild.org/seaturtles/trainings/ and click on the session of interest. Click on
Sign Up and then use the “Sign-up without an account” button at the bottom of the pop-up.

Stranding 101
1.5 Hours

This training is for volunteers who respond to live and dead stranded turtles. Participants will learn how
to identify species, check for tags, and take measurements on stranded turtles. Participants will practice
completing a Stranding Report and discuss uploading the data to seaturtle.org.

  • 5/9/2022 Mon 9:30AM Corolla

To register, go to https://nc-wild.org/seaturtles/trainings/ and click on the session of interest. Click on
Sign Up and then use the “Sign-up without an account” button at the bottom of the pop-up.

Virtual Necropsy Training
1.5 Hours

This training is for experienced volunteers who respond to dead stranded turtles who wish to learn
more about the process of necropsy. We will show videos of the necropsy process, discuss technique,
and talk about purpose. This is a graphic training and a good precursor to deciding if you would like to
attend the necropsy demonstration.

  • 3/30/2022 Wed 9AM Virtual Training ONLINE via Zoom

To register, go to https://nc-wild.org/seaturtles/trainings/ and click on the session of interest. Click on
Sign Up and then use the “Sign-up without an account” button at the bottom of the pop-up.