Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. We are powered by volunteers! As a volunteer, you can become involved in every aspect of our work. From landscaping to fundraising to cleaning to educating to surveying the beaches to preparing food for turtles, it's all a part of what we do. You can help - for the turtles!
- Topsail Turtle Project - multiple seasonal opportunities including beach walking to look for turtle tracks, ramp building, and nest sitting. We also need substitutes! Most active May 1 - August 31, with nest sitting continuing through October. Minimum age for independent walking 18 years.
UPDATE: These positions are filled for 2022. Please check back in spring, 2023.
- Sea Turtle Hospital Team - assist in all aspects of the daily care and husbandry of sick and injured sea turtles. Responsibilities include: preparing food, feeding turtles, cleaning tanks, cleaning and disinfecting the facility, washing windows, mopping floors, washing dishes, washing laundry, folding laundry, restraining (holding) turtles for medical procedures, recording data, checking water quality, and maintaining life support systems. This position also serves as ambassador for sea turtles during guided tours and in the community. Additional responsibilities include: offering tours to the public, assisting in the gift shop, answering phones, and cleaning and disinfecting the public side of our facility. Please note that in order to serve on a hospital team and work with the turtles, you must also be willing to work with the public. You must also work one full day each week, and the same day each week. Work starts at 7 am and on tour days may end after 5 pm. This volunteer position is physically demanding, requiring the ability to stand for long periods of time and the ability to lift at least 20 pounds. Minimum age 18 years.
- Water Team - assist with all aspects of maintaining the water and life support systems at the Sea Turtle Hospital. Responsibilities include making salt water, operating the pumps, cleaning and maintaining filters and equipment, assisting with plumbing, troubleshooting equipment, testing water quality, and keeping detailed records. This volunteer position is physically demanding, requiring the ability to stand for long periods of time and the ability to lift at least 50 pounds to a height of four feet. Minimum age 18 years.
- Tour Guide - do you enjoy talking with people and sharing your love of sea turtles? Consider becoming a tour guide and serving as an ambassador for the turtles! Responsibilities include: educating the public about sea turtles and conservation, answering guest questions, and updating guests about the turtles currently in care. This volunteer position requires excellent communication skills. Minimum age 14 years.
- Gift Shop Sales Associate - help raise money to take care of the sea turtles by working in our Gift Shop! Responsibilities include: customer service, assisting guests with merchandise selection, answering guest questions, restocking shelves, folding apparel, and keeping the gift shop attractive and appealing. This volunteer position requires excellent customer service skills. Minimum age 14 years.
- Receptionist - do you enjoy speaking on the phone? Perhaps you are less interested in the physical work of sea turtle rehabilitation, and would still love to be around other folks who love sea turtles. Consider serving as a receptionist! Responsibilities include: answering the phone, providing information about all aspects of the KBSTRRC, and taking accurate messages. This volunteer position requires excellent oral communication and customer service skills. Minimum age 14 years.
- Gardening & Landscape Team - do you love to garden? Consider helping to maintain the flower and planting beds at the Sea Turtle Hospital! Most beds are planted with native plants to attract pollinators. Responsibilities include: planting, transplanting, weeding, mulching, and watering. This volunteer position is physically demanding, requiring the ability to stand for long periods of time and the ability to lift at least 20 pounds. Minimum age 14 years.
- Facilities & Maintenance Team - are you a handy-person, able to fix just about anything? Do you faithfully check the oil in your car every time you get gas, the air filters in your home every month, and the batteries in your smoke detectors at least twice yearly? Do you love to paint and caulk? Then the Facilities and Maintenance Team may be for you! Responsibilities include: fixing, painting, caulking, changing batteries, light plumbing, building, problem solving. This volunteer position is physically demanding, requiring the ability to stand for long periods of time and the ability to lift at least 20 pounds. Minimum age 18 years.
- You must be at least 14 years old. Several positions, including those involved in hands-on turtle care, require you to be at least 18 years old. There is no upper age limit for volunteering.
- You must live within two hours of Surf City and Topsail Island, North Carolina, USA.
- You must make a time commitment of at least four months (Topsail Turtle Project) or one year (all other positions).
- For certain volunteer positions, such as some of the Topsail Turtle Project positions and the Sea Turtle Hospital Teams and Water Teams, a commitment of one day per week and the same day per week is required.
- You must agree to abide by all current and future organizational covid policies, including mask wearing while indoors.
- You must agree to abide by the North Carolina Code of Conduct for the Sea Turtle Nest Monitoring and Protection Project, the Handbook for Sea Turtle Volunteers in North Carolina, the KBSTRRC Volunteer Handbook, the KBSTRRC SOP Manual, and any other applicable policies and protocols.
A note about the location requirement:
All volunteer positions at this time are in and around Surf City and Topsail Island, North Carolina, USA. In our experience, prospective volunteers who live more than two hours away are often not able to commit the time needed to both commute and put in a long volunteer shift. We do not at this time offer remote volunteer opportunities.
A note about the time commitment:
Most volunteer positions require some knowledge of sea turtles and all require some knowledge of our organization. Due to the nature of the work and the amount of training involved, we ask you to commit an entire nesting season (Topsail Turtle Project) or an entire year (all other positions). We do not at this time offer short term volunteer opportunities. If you are visiting the Topsail area on vacation, please consider taking some time to clean up the beach, marsh, or landscape. And be sure to visit us and learn how plastic can harm sea turtles and other marine life!
Interested? Here are the next steps.
- Complete the Volunteer Interest Form below.
If you have completed a form in the past, please resubmit. We have recently changed email systems and may have lost your information. We apologize for any inconvenience.
- Sign up for an Orientation Session. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for an orientation.
- Attend Orientation Session
- Decide if you would like to continue volunteering, then complete Volunteer Information Form
- Training - Shadow one Tour shift (currently Fridays and Saturdays, 12:00 - 2:00 pm) (if applicable)
- Training - Shadow one Hospital Team shift (if applicable)
- Training - Other or On the Job (if applicable)
- Select Team, Shift, and begin volunteering!
- We have no orientations scheduled at this time.
If you have any questions, please email Jason and Christina, Volunteer Coordinators, at email@example.com.
We look forward to hearing from you!