A longtime volunteer with the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center will be helping to protect sea turtles and marine habitat after death as she did in life.
SURF CITY — A longtime volunteer with the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center will be helping to protect sea turtles and marine habitat after death as she did in life.
The life of the late Elizabeth “Betsy” Kautz, who died last year after a long battle with cancer, will be celebrated this week in a unique memorial that will serve as a living, lasting tribute to Kautz as part of an artificial reef at the ocean’s bottom.
Her final resting place will be part of Dare’s Reef, a memorial reef established through a partnership between Eternal Reefs Inc. and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.
“Betsy was very, very special to us and we feel it’s appropriate she’s being remembered with a place as part of only reef in the world named for a sea turtle,” said Jean Beasley, director of the sea turtle hospital.
Kautz was a long time volunteer with the sea turtle hospital, working on the beach where the sea turtles nest, as well as caring for the sick and injured sea turtles at the hospital. On the beach she was assistant director of the Topsail Turtle Project, the beach monitoring program, and at the sea turtle hospital she put in countless hours helping the sea turtles to recover so that they could be released back to their home in the ocean.
Dare, a female Kemp’s ridley, the most endangered of the sea turtles, was among those Kautz cared for. Dare was brought to the sea turtle to the hospital on Topsail Island in 1999 after being found in Dare County underweight for her 18 months and with injuries from boat strikes and lesions.
Prior to her planned release, Dare was evacuated from Topsail Island during Hurricane Floyd and spend four days floating in her tank with contaminated floodwaters.
Dare suffered from physical and neurological problems after that and following major surgery for a large encapsulated mass and other issues, Dare died in March 2005.
A large reef ball with Dare’s cremated remains was placed off the Topsail Island coastline on June 8, 2006, a location now known as Dare’s Reef.
“We promised Dare she would go back to the ocean and we kept that promise,” Beasley noted.
Kautz will now join Dare as part of the reef.
Eternal Reefs is back on Topsail Island April 12 through 15 as friends and families of Kautz and four other individuals will pay tribute to their loved ones with memorial reef balls to be placed at Dare’s Reef.
Eternal Reefs mixes the cremated remains of a loved one into a large environmentally friendly concrete ball that is placed on the ocean floor, helping provide new habitat for sea turtles and other marine life and replenish diminishing natural reef systems.
A “casting” event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at 302 Tortuga Lane in Surf City, the new facility for the Karen Beasley sea turtle hospital. During this time, family members for each individual being memorialized will have the chance to honor and remember their loved one by placing handprints in the cement and decorating the reef balls with memorabilia and plaques.
A viewing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday will give friends and family time to see the reef balls unveiled and will also include other memorial activities.
On Monday at 8 a.m., family members will board boats for the trip to the reef to see the reef balls deployed.
For more information about memorial reef balls go to eternalreefs.com. To learn more about the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center see seaturtlehospital.org.
Contact Daily News reporter Jannette Pippin at 910-382-2557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.