Sea turtle hospital gets artsy

Sea Turtle Hospital News
We’ve had a busy month. In addition to taking care of the forty-plus patients overwintering with us we’ve participated in a fund-raising art show in collaboration with Going Local in Mayfaire. And we’ve spent a lot of time, a lot of time planning on just how we can reopen for tours under Covid restrictions.
“For the Love of Turtles” art show was a great success. The exhibit of one-hundred pieces, a mix of paintings, photography, wood carvings, glass and even a cast bronze piece filled the entire side of the gallery. And there was a table of turtle-themed items donated for a raffle, including a hand-made throw crafted by one of our own volunteers. The show ran for just over a week with the artists and gallery generously donating a portion of the proceeds to our hospital. It was so well-received that we’re looking forward to doing it again next year. Flipper hugs to gallery owner Michelle Conely and her marketing guru James Allison for making this happen.
After a year of not being able to talk about our turtles and show you just how good we are at our job we were determined to find a way to ease back into public tours while still under Covid restrictions. Lots of brainstorming with our staff and our Director, Kathy resulted in a plan that we thought just might work. Last Saturday we opened our doors and hoped for the best. Now if you’ve been to our hospital before you’re used to just showing up, getting in line and eventually getting in the door. But if you have up to a thousand visitors show up on any given day that was clearly not going to work this year. Here’s the scoop on what does work: Until we see where the next few months lands us in terms of Covid we’re opening on a limited schedule, which may change from week to week. Tours will run from 1-4 PM but admission is only by pre-paid on-line ticketing for a reserved time. When the time slots have all been filled on that day the tour closes. Groups of ten or less will accompany one of our staff throughout the hospital, from beginning to end. It’s essentially like having a private tour. Check our website, for details and upcoming tour dates.
Virtual Topsail Turtle Project volunteer training has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 6, from 6:30 – 8:30 PM and on Wednesday, April 14, from 1:00 -3:00 PM. You can reserve your place by clicking on the program orientation tab in our website, but space is limited so sign up soon!
As the weather and waters warm (sort of) the fish start running and the turtles will begin following them, unfortunately it’s generally straight to our local piers. Soon we expect to get the usual influx of pier-hooked turtles and for some reason it’s always the Kemp’s. Our pier operators are well-versed in what to do so if you happen to find a turtle at the end of your line please notify them for the proper way to handle it. If you find a stranded or hooked turtle please call our Director of Beach Operations, Terry Meyer at 910-470-2880 or the hospital at: 910-329-0222 for pick-up and follow-up care at our facility. NC Wildlife Resources also has an Emergency hotline number that picks up 24/7: 252-241-7367.