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 Marine Mammal 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.)

Winter 2020 – 2021 Online Marine Mammal Training Schedule

We will be offering Seal Monitoring 101 and 201 again this year so please read the descriptions below so you know which class you should sign up for.

Seal Monitoring 101 – Seals are a protected species that are monitored and managed by members of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. This training is new volunteers or volunteers who might need a refresher that wish to help the MMSN Network to protect and educate the public about seals. Learn about what seals are on our beaches, when and why they visit, and how to fill out a seal sighting report.

Seal Monitoring 201 – This training is for experienced volunteers or volunteers who have completed 3 or more seal sighting forms. We will briefly go over the seal sighting form, as well as discuss setting up perimeters and where you can obtain seal monitoring supplies. You all will be joining 101 volunteers for the last half an hour of training to also share your knowledge and experience with new volunteers.

Below are the online trainings we will be offering this month for January.

Seal Monitoring 101

  • January 9th from 9:00AM – 10:30AM
  • January 15th from 9:00AM – 10:30AM

Seal Monitoring 201

  • January 9th from 10:00AM – 10:45AM
  • January 15th from 10:00AM – 10:45AM

To register for this programs, please visit our calendar here: https://www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Education-Centers/Outer-Banks/Event-Registration