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.

Let’s Fall Into Marine Mammal Trainings!

As sea turtle nesting season is coming to end, it is time to start thinking about the other marine animals that visit us often here on the Outer Banks. The OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Network is always looking for more volunteers to help with marine mammal strandings and seal monitoring in the fall and winter. Below is a list of the Marine Mammal Stranding trainings that will currently be offered in the fall and we will offer more Seal Monitoring trainings in the winter. All classes have descriptions of who should attend. Remember, training is required annually so if you wish to participate this fall and winter be sure to attend each team that interests you (but you need only attend one of the many sessions offered this summer). For greater description of each class, check out the online calendar.

OBX MMSN Trainings

  • Volunteer Orientation – for all volunteers interested in helping with the Outer Banks Marine Mammal Stranding Network (OBX MMSN). We will discuss the various species which strand in NC and the response efforts by the stranding network.
  • Stranding Response – for volunteers interested in learning how to respond to live strandings of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). New volunteers should also attend the Marine Mammal Volunteer Orientation class taught before this one.
  • Seal Monitoring – for volunteers interested in learning about what seals are on our beaches, when and why they visit, and how you can get involved to help protect these species. Seals are a protected species that are monitored and managed by members of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

Below are the class offerings in chronological order. To see them on a calendar and to register online, visit our program online calendar. So check back if you don’t see the class you’re looking for.

Fall/Winter 2017 NEST and OBX MMSN Trainings

This fall we are offering numerous classes for both sea turtle and marine mammal volunteers.  Volunteers need only attend the teams of interest and need only attend team training once a year. (Each class is offered multiple times in effort to accommodate most schedules.)

Cold Stun Turtle Volunteers Please Note (NEW strategy for 2018):
All volunteers (new and experienced) interested in assisting during cold stun season must attend one of the Staging Site Drill sessions.  Experienced volunteers may also attend Cold Stun Stranding Training OR take an online review course and quiz to exempt out of the Stranding Training. There will be separate quizzes for Staging Site volunteers and Field Patrol volunteers. New volunteers (and experienced volunteers who prefer to attend class in person) must also attend Cold Stun Stranding Response training. (The link to the quiz will be made available when KC gets her act together.)

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.

October 28th in Corolla at the Wildlife Center – Marine Mammal Trainings

  • 10AM MMSN Volunteer Orientation – 1/2 hr
  • 10:45AM Marine Mammal Stranding Response – 1.5 hrs
  • 1PM Seal Monitoring 1.5 hrs

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

November 7th at Buxton Back Rd Staging Site – Turtle Trainings

  • 9:30AM NEST Volunteer Orientation – 1 hr
  • 10:30AM Cold Stun Stranding Response & Transportation – 1.5 hrs
  • 1PM Cold Stun Staging Site Drill – 3 hrs

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

Nov. 15th in Nags Head at Jennette’s Pier – Marine Mammal Trainings

  • 10AM MMSN Volunteer Orientation – 1/2 hr
  • 10:30AM Seal Monitoring – 1.5 hrs
  • 1PM Marine Mammal Stranding Response 1.5 hrs

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

November 18th at Buxton Back Rd Staging Site – Turtle Trainings

  • 9:30AM NEST Volunteer Orientation – 1 hr
  • 10:30AM Cold Stun Stranding Response & Transportation – 1.5 hrs
  • 1PM Cold Stun Staging Site Drill – 3 hrs

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

Nov. 29th at Kill Devil Hill’s Library – Marine Mammal Trainings

  • 5PM Marine Mammal Volunteer Orientation – 1/2 hr
  • 5:30PM Seal Monitoring – 1.5 hrs

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

December 2nd at Buxton Back Rd Staging Site – Turtle Trainings

  • 9:30AM NEST Volunteer Orientation – 1 hr
  • 10:30AM Cold Stun Stranding Response & Transportation – 1.5 hrs
  • 1PM Cold Stun Staging Site Drill – 3 hrs

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

December 8th in Nags Head at Jennette’s Pier – Marine Mammal Trainings

  • 9:30AM MMSN Volunteer Orientation – 1/2 hr
  • 10:15AM Seal Monitoring – 1.5 hrs
  • 12:15PM Geek out with KC: Cetacean Identification (brown bag lunch, i.e. bring a lunch) – 1 hr

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

December 13th at Buxton Back Rd Staging Site – Turtle Trainings

  • 9:30AM NEST Volunteer Orientation – 1 hr
  • 10:30AM Cold Stun Stranding Response & Transportation – 1.5 hrs
  • 1PM Cold Stun Staging Site Drill – 3 hrs

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

Dec. 19th in Corolla at the Wildlife Center – Marine Mammal Trainings

  • 9:30AM MMSN Volunteer Orientation – 1 hr
  • 10AM Seal Monitoring – 1.5 hrs

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