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.

Summer 2018 Sea Turtle Trainings

  • Volunteer Orientation – for new volunteers and any returning volunteers interested in a refresher on sea turtle biology. This training covers how volunteers can become involved in NEST activities followed by an overview of the life strategies of sea turtles and the different species we see in North Carolina coastal waters.
  • Nest Sitting 101 – This training covers nest monitoring techniques for soon-to-emerge sea turtle nests. This training should be attended by all “fresh” N.E.S.T. volunteers (those who have sat on fewer than three different nests or those who haven’t sat in a few years or those who simply want a refresher).
  • Nest Sitting 201 – This training expands on current guidelines for volunteers monitoring soon-to-emerge sea turtle nests. This training should be attended by all “seasoned” volunteers (those who have sat on more than 3 or 4 different nests) interested in participating in nest sitting this season.
  • Parenting Class – This training is for volunteers considering serving as Nest Parents this year. (To be a nest parent, you should be a seasoned volunteer with previous nest sitting experience including participating in a boil and excavation.) We will cover updates in nest monitoring procedures, acoustic monitoring options, and temperature monitoring. Nest Parents need only attend this class, however, are still welcome to attend Nest Sitting 201 in which we will cover more enriching topics around the acoustic and temperature monitoring.

To volunteer as a nest sitter, you need only attend Nest Sitting 101 or Nest Sitting 201. All are welcome at both but not required. To volunteer as a nest parent, you need only attend Parenting Class (which will qualify you for nest sitting as well).

Below are the class offerings in chronological order. To read a more detailed description of each class and to register online, visit our program online calendar.

July 27th in Corolla at Wildlife Center

  • 8:45AM NEST Orientation and Sea Turtle Natural History – 1 hour
  • 10:00AM Nest Sitting 101 – 1 hour
  • 11:15AM Nest Sitting 201 – 1 hour

To register, click here or call 252-453-0221 ex 1.

July 31st in Southern Shores at Pitt Center in the Town Hall Complex

  • 5:30 PM Parenting Class

To register for parenting class, click here for the Google Sign-up.

August 3rd in Kill Devil Hills at the library

  • 8:45AM NEST Orientation and Sea Turtle Natural History – 1 hour
  • 10:00AM Nest Sitting 101 – 1 hour
  • 11:15AM Nest Sitting 201 – 1 hour

To register, click here or call 252-453-0221 ex 1.

August 6th in Corolla at Wildlife Center

  • 1:30PM NEST Orientation and Sea Turtle Natural History – 1 hour
  • 2:45PM Nest Sitting 101 – 1 hour
  • 4:00PM Nest Sitting 201 – 1 hour

To register, click here or call 252-453-0221 ex 1.

August 12th in Kill Devil Hills at the library

  • 4:00PM NEST Orientation and Sea Turtle Natural History – 1 hour
  • 5:15PM Nest Sitting 101 – 1 hour
  • 6:30PM Nest Sitting 201 – 1 hour

To register, click here or call 252-453-0221 ex 1.