Sea turtles are part of the fabric of the Outer Banks, as evidenced by the plethora of images of these endangered prehistoric creatures emblazoned on canvases, calendars, T-shirts and coffee mugs.
Businesses like Waveriders Coffee & Deli know that sea turtles are big business — and on Friday, March 9, Waveriders will show its appreciation.
The Nags Head business, 3022 S. Croatan Hwy., will host a fundraiser to benefit Network For Endangered Sea Turtles, also known as N.E.S.T..
For every customer who purchases a pint of Foothills Indigenous IPA, Waveriders will donate $2. In addition, the business will donate 10 percent of its day sales to N.E.S.T. and also offer giveaways.
Dennis Pohl, president of N.E.S.T, says a representative of the group will be on site from 4 to 7 p.m. to answer questions about the nonprofit, which is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the habitat and migration routes of sea turtles that visit Outer Banks shores.
“The support of businesses like Waveriders is invaluable,” says Pohl, who joined the nonprofit organization in 2010 because of the energy and commitment exhibited by the organization’s volunteers.
“As a nonprofit, we rely on our wonderful volunteers and the support of residents and visitors who enjoy the natural beauty of the Outer Banks and want to preserve it and the creatures who call it home.
“We hope everyone will come to the fundraiser and find out more about what we do and how they can help us help sea turtles.”
The group works under the auspices of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and works closely with the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island and the National Park Service turtle management program within Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Its volunteers also work with the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center — S.T.A.R. — located within the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island. The center works to successfully rehabilitate turtles that suffer injuries, such as ingesting a foreign object, boat strikes and snagged with fishing hooks, and return them back to the wild.
N.E.S.T. will host its annual Spring Kick-off Fundraiser from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at Duck Woods Country Club, 50 S. Dogwood Trail, Southern Shores.
The event is open to the public, and a suggested $10 admission is appreciated.
The fundraiser features a full barbecue dinner — $13 per person — cash bar, DJ/music provided by Scott Morton, Chinese raffle, 50/50 raffle and a silent auction.
Some of the silent auction and raffle items include:
- Dinner for two at Coastal Provisions
- Gift certificate to Bad Bean Baja Grill
- Gift certificate to Blue Water Grill
- Handmade quilt featuring sea life
- Oil painting from Susan VanGieson
- Painting from Rob Snyder
- Brass sea turtle necklace from Georgia Griffiths
- Sterling silver sea turtle necklace from Christina D’Amato
- Two $50 gift certificates from All Ducked Out
- $145 gift certificate from Coastal Animal Hospital
- $135 gift certificate for STEAM Summer Camp (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math
- $25 gift certificate from Beach Treasures
- $25 gift certificate Spice & Tea Exchange of Duck
All items donated are posted on N.E.S.T.’s Facebook page, so check back often for updates.
Fundraising events are a vital part of the nonprofit’s goal to protect an endangered species, Pohl says. In addition to raising much-needed money, the event itself serves as a way to build relationships within the community and create connections between donors and the nonprofit’s mission.
A lot of work — and a lot of heart — goes into protecting an endangered species, says N.E.S.T. Treasurer Margaret Janes. Janes says funds raised at the Spring Kick-off Fundraiser are earmarked for myriad programs, including:
- A new educational program working to make sea turtles part of the core curriculum in local schools;
- A new science program that includes the use of high-powered hydrophones to monitor sea turtle nests; and
- Medical costs associated with caring for sea turtles at STAR Center.
In addition, money raised at the event will be used to maintain the nonprofit’s fleet of seven ATVs. The organization uses the vehicles to monitor approximately 50 miles of shoreline during nesting season. The salt is a rust-generator, so the frames of the ATVs are only good for around five years, she says.
“Since we are all-volunteer, our biggest expenses are not payroll but are rather the purchase and maintenance of ATVs that we use to patrol the beaches in summer months looking for sea turtle nests: That’s the first step in protecting eggs and then hatchlings.”
One for all, and all for one
Janes says every person who volunteers — and every person who makes a donation — has a sense of the importance of his or her contribution to the cause.
What people may not realize is how much N.E.S.T. also contributes to the local economy: Sea turtles are part of the charm of the Outer Banks, and N.E.S.T. works to ensure that these prehistoric creatures are around for generations of visitors to see.
“N.E.S.T. focuses on hands-on protection and education. We protect nests and hatchlings in the summer,” Janes says. “Nests become a huge attraction for tourists visiting the Outer Banks. We spend countless hours talking to visitors about how to help sea turtles and protect the ocean environment, such as picking up trash or filling in holes on the beach.”
And that helps keep visitors coming back to the Outer Banks.