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 Training Schedule

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and CDC recommendations, all trainings this spring will be offered ONLINE through Zoom and volunteer activities will be modified to include face coverings and social distancing. 

Trainings listed below are for volunteers interested in responding to early morning nesting activity. Teams take measurements, locate eggs, and mark off nest sites for protection. 

Orientation and Natural History (required for new members, optional for returning)

Nesting Response 101 (required for new or ‘rusty’ members)

Nesting Response 201 (required for returning members)

Geek Out with KC – Sunday Sea Turtle Enrichment Series
These sessions are not required but are an opportunity for enrichment. Register for only the sessions you wish to attend. (New NEST members should plan to take the NEST-specific Orientation and Natural History options listed above. The Natural History below will not include the orientation for NEST. ).

Sunday Sea Turtle Enrichment Series