Sea Turtle Hospital News
Hospital opens June 8th!
You’ve been calling, e-mailing, tweeting and banging on our doors and windows for months. On Friday, June 8th we’ll be able to do something we haven’t done since last October; open our doors and invite you in! Tours will be held from 2-4 PM daily (EXCEPT Wednesdays and Sundays.) Our gift shop will also be open, and we’ve restocked our inventory with plenty of exclusive turtle hospital merchandise.
We’re a real destination stop for visitors to the area, so be prepared for a bit of a wait. I can honestly say that in my dozen plus years of playing “gatekeeper” no one has ever said to me that it wasn’t worth it! We’ll be at our current location in Topsail Beach (behind the big, blue water tower) until further notice.
There’s lots of activity at the hospital these days. The new crew of summer interns arrived on May 20th, and after an intense day of classroom orientation Jean turned them loose to begin training alongside our regular staff. Even though we tried to keep in mind what our first day here was like, we’re so much into a routine and used to working together in teams that we often forget just how daunting having twenty-seven turtles looking you in the eye can really be.
The training cycle should be shortened a bit this year however, as we have Charlie Lynch returning as a lead intern. Charlie was hatched out back and has only left the hospital to attend school, returning home like a mama turtle for many summers. Olivia Gaitros has been working with our Sunday crew for several years, but wanted a more complete and intensive experience. Alastair McArthur joined us mid-winter as an intern and loved the work so much he just couldn’t tear himself away. Our three newbies are Bree Myre, Danielle O’Farrell and David Allred. You’ll get a closer look at all of their lives and experiences as I profile them over the next few months.
Our vet, Dr. Craig Harms arrived with his entourage a few weeks ago to give our turtles their pre-release physicals. We’ve got a hospital full of big, rehabilitated Loggerheads who were none too happy to open wide, donate blood and have their jewelry (flipper and PTT tags) attached. The little Greens and smaller Kemp’s submitted to the process with just a bit less of a fuss. In the end fifteen patients made the short list for release, with a few more possibles still under discussion.
While about half of our patients are just passing time, enjoying their free eats until release day, we continue to admit sick and injured turtles. Just last week we took in a severely injured Kemp’s with a horribly mangled carapace and plastron, and a very young Green with fresh prop injuries. Both of these critters are hovering on the edge. We can only hope that our many years of experience successfully treating and rehabilitating sea turtles that others wrote off as hopeless cases will pull them through, too.
Stay tuned to this column for updates on hospital happenings, or better yet, come visit us beginning June 8th and ask a “live” volunteer your questions and meet our patients up close!
Welcome home, Moms!
We’re moving into our second month of the official nesting season and we’re off to a great start. At this writing twelve nests have been verified, but check our website: www.seaturtlehospital.org daily for an up-to-the-minute count. Those mama Loggerheads appear to like the real estate here on Topsail, finding our sand perfect for digging a nest to keep those precious eggs safe until they hatch about sixty days later. Our Topsail Turtle Project volunteers will continue to scour every inch of our twenty-six mile island, every morning, rain or shine until the end of August. If you see them out there feel free to stop to ask them about their work.
Please report any and all local sea turtle activity (nestings, strandings, injured or sick turtles) immediately to our Director of Beach Operations, Terry Meyer at 910-470-2880. Terry can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org for non-emergencies. You can also call our Director, Jean Beasley (910-470-2800) or the hospital (910-328-3377) to report activity if you are unable to reach of Terry. All sea turtles are federally protected and harassing or harming them in any way will result in hefty fines and/or imprisonment.
Last week for gift shop annex
Tuesday, June 5th will be your last day to stop by the hospital between 9 AM and 11 AM to visit the gift shop annex. After that you’ll need to do your shopping in our merchandise tent during tours hours at the hospital. Remember, we can only accept cash and checks at the annex location. You can also shop for our logo T’s year-round at QuarterMoon Bookstore in Topsail Beach.
Of course you can use our online ordering service at your convenience because our website never closes: www.seaturtlehospital.org. Stay connected with our patients and the progress of the new hospital. We’re stocked with clothing and other gifts and goodies perfect for turtle lovers. Follow the links to “Adopt-A-Sea-Turtle,” we have some pretty high maintenance patients who need all the financial and moral support you can provide. There’s still time to add your family’s name to our wall of fame with the “Family Giving Challenge.”
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