Cape Hatteras National Seashore is bringing back its sea turtle Nest
Watch volunteer program for the 2010 summer and fall season.
Under the direction of Park Service’s resource management staff, the
goal of the Volunteer Park (VIP) Program is to ensure the success of
sea turtle hatchlings as they emerge from their nests and make their
way to the ocean. In addition, this program will provide
with a valuable educational experience and neighboring communities an
opportunity to participate in sea turtle conservation and management.
The annual program will assist the National Park Service in monitoring
sea turtle nests that have reached the point where hatching is
imminent. Volunteers are needed and will be trained to assist
park biologists with monitoring nest sites, educating the general
public about sea turtle management, installing and maintaining
closures, handling hatchlings, and assisting with excavations.
There are three species of sea turtles that nest within Cape Hatteras
National Seashore -- the loggerhead, green, and leatherback.
of these species are federally listed as either threatened or
Each year from May through September, park employees conduct daily
patrols to find the nests and protect them.
Nests begin to hatch after 50 days of incubation, which generally
begins in late July and can continue into November. When
from their nests, hatchlings face many obstacles on the beach,
including the threat of artificial lighting which leads them away from
the water, as well as beach furniture, trash, fire pits, or other human
related impediments that may obstruct the hatchling’s path.
obstacles may increase prolonged exposure on the beach for hatchlings
making them more susceptible to predation from ghost crabs and other
Weekly visitors are welcome to observe training classes, while
interested volunteers are asked to commit to a certain number of
hours. If anyone is interested in becoming a VIP for this
and attending the training, please call Katy McCurdy at 252-995-6968 or
252-216-7829, and leave contact information.