Sea Turtle Organizations
Of all of the animals that live in North Carolina's waters, sea turtles are one of the most beloved. Unfortunately for the citizens of North Carolina, the sea turtles are in trouble. The most common sea turtle is "threatened" and many varieties are on the brink of extinction. This is the reason why sea turtle rescue organizations are very much needed, and luckily, there are many of them in the coastal region of North Carolina.
Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital
The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital is located in Surf City, North Carolina on Southern Topsail Island, right next to the town's water tower. It's a very small facility, a garage in fact, and only 900 square feet. However, thanks to the generosity of the community of Topsail Island, the hospital has been given additional land on the mainland about 5 miles away from the current facility to build a bigger building for the turtles. The facility stays open year round, but it is only open to visitors from 2 to 4 PM in June, July, and August, excluding Wednesdays and Sundays.
The facility was started in 1996 by Jean Beasley, and was named for her daughter, Karen Beasley, who had passed away. The sea turtle was Karen's favorite animal, and it was her dream to be able to help these magnificent creatures. The goal of the facility is to treat and rehabilitate injured sea turtles so that they can be released back into the ocean to live and reproduce, in order to slowly but steadily help grow the sea turtle population. It's a 501c3 nonprofit organization, which is important because this indicates it is funded entirely by donations.
The turtles live in small swimming pools and are taken care of by volunteers. These volunteers have a number of responsibilities, such as being there by 7 AM to make the turtles' food and take care of their medication. Every single day they feed all of the turtles, clean and refill their tanks, make the building presentable to tourists, give tours, and take care of any special needs each turtle may have.
Almost anyone would agree that these are all essential tasks for the welfare of these turtles, but being a nonprofit organization, it's just as important to raise money as well. This is why the hospital has so many fundraising opportunities.
When a new turtle is admitted, people will have the option to "adopt" that turtle. By adopting that turtle, they will provide donations to support that specific turtle. In exchange for their generous support, the sponsor receives a few gifts. For donating $25, the sponsor receives regular newsletters about their turtle, a 5" x 7" adoption certificate, a 5" x 7" color picture of their turtle, and a card of information about their turtle. For donating $50, they receive all of the above items and an 8" plush sea turtle. For donating $100, they get an 8" x 10" adoption certificate, an 8" x 10" color photo, a 15" plush sea turtle, a sea turtle sticker, an information card, a newsletter about their turtle, and a choice of a sea turtle backpack, hat, or visor. For donating $250, the generous donor gets the certificate, the photo, sticker, information card, newsletter, a choice of the backpack, hat, or visor, a choice of a 24" plush sea turtle or sea turtle book, and a copy of An Ecological Guide by Karen Eckert and David Gulko.
If you were to adopt a sea turtle, you would naturally want to keep track of it even after it was released back into the wild. Thanks to the satellite tracking that the hospital offers, you can. When a turtle is admitted into the facility, a small microchip is injected into the turtle that will allow them to be tracked via satellite. As a result, you can look at where your turtle, or any turtle, is going. A lot of the turtles don't venture too far from the North Carolina shore, or shores near there. However, some turtles have ventured as far south as Southern Florida.