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

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 Sitting Training 2022

This year we are providing an online module for all volunteers (new and returning) wishing to participate in nest sitting.  It will review nest sitting guidelines and provide information regarding volunteering as a nest sitter.

The module will be open from July 16th through July 24th at noon.  Volunteers MUST complete the module sometime between July 16th and July 24th to qualify for nest sitting this season.

  • Click here to take the online training.  (Available July 16th through 12PM July 24th)

Nest Sitting Q&A

An optional question and answer session will be provided for volunteers after viewing the online training. Volunteers are welcome to log into this zoom session anytime between 6-6:30PM to follow-up on any questions they had after viewing the training.  Attendance is not required.

Nest Parent Class

Nest parents are experienced volunteers who have participated in an emergence and an excavation event and are interested in leading nest monitoring activities on a nest.  If you are interested in volunteering as a Nest Parent, attend one of the following sessions.

  • July 26 10AM Corolla Wildlife Education Center
  • July 27 6PM Kill Devil Hills Public Library
  • August 3rd 10 AM Southern Shores municipal Pitts Center
  • August 4th  6PM   Corolla Wildlife Education Center

To register for training, first make sure you have registered in Track It Forward and selected NEST as your project beach.  (Guides for registering can be found here.) Then, go to and select the training of interest (or register through your Track It Forward App on your phone under menu ‘Events’).