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Posted by Rick Civelli | 04.18.2008 | Teen Camps

The Sea Turtle Hospital

Sea Turtle 1    Sea Turtle 2    Sea Turtle 3

A week of Wrightsville Beach Teen Overnight Camp is a combination of all of my favorite things to do in Wilmington and the surrounding beaches.  We surf and spend tons of time at the beach, we visit the Sea Turtle Hospital, the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, we cookout, go to a movie, bowl, play volleyball and soccer, eat at great restaurants…we have an absolute blast!

Our visit to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is one of my most absolute favorite activities.  The Turtle Hospital has always been close to my heart and I actually volunteered there during my freshman year at UNCW.  The center was opened in 1997 by Jean Beasley in memory of her daughter Karen’s efforts to assure the survival of sea turtles.  Jean and the staff of volunteers work countless hours to rescue and care for injured sea turtles.  Animal Planet awarded Jean the 2007 “Hero of the Year” award for her dedication to saving the sea turtles.

Each turtle is visiting for a different reason.  Many are there because they have been struck by a boat or entangled in fishing gear or litter…all problems caused by man that we can help prevent.  Others are there for more natural reasons such being cold stun (kind of like frost bite) or diseases.  All turtles are given their own pool upon arrival and the veterinarian checks them out and creates a rehabilitation plan.  After what is usually a long stay at the sea turtle hospital, they are released back into the ocean.  Twelve to twenty sea turtles are released each year.

You may be wondering by now what you can do to help.  The hospital is a nonprofit organization and receives no state or federal funding.  Surf Camp donates a portion of each camper’s tuition to the hospital.  All donations go directly to food, medical supplies, and operating costs of the hospital.  To make a donation, simply visit the website.  If you live in NC, you can get a sea turtle license plate for your car.  Or if you shop at Food Lion grocery stores, you can ask them to link your “MVP card” to the Turtle Hospital and donations will be made that way.  Remember, every little bit helps and there is no better cause than helping to preserve this amazing marine creature! I am counting down the days (56 to be exact) until the first week of summer camp and our visit to the Turtle Hospital.  It will be great to hear the new turtles’ stories and hear which turtles have been released back into the ocean.

-Jenn R