A visit to the sea turtle hospital on Topsail Island 10 years ago gave Clark DeHart a first glimpse at the passion founder Jean Beasley has for the work she does and he now hopes to record that passion on film.

DeHart, a wildlife biologist and filmmaker, is planning a 30-minute documentary film, One Turtle at a Time, that will focus on two sea turtle hospitals and the dedication of the people dedicated to the rehabilitation of sick and injured sea turtles.

He specifically chose the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Florida for more than the work they do.

DeHart said in each case the sea turtle hospitals grew from a grassroots initiative and a desire of their founder to help.

“The two women who founded these turtle hospitals were not in the conservation field but they recognized the need for these sea turtles to be protected and have dedicated their lives to caring for them,” DeHart said.

DeHart said he first met Jean Beasley in 2007 when he visited the sea turtle hospital on Topsail Island and was invited back for a turtle release in 2008.

It didn’t take him long to see the dedication of Beasley and those who work with her at the hospital.

“She is someone who deserves all the accolades she has received and more,” he said.

But to tell the story of the women behind these two sea turtle hospitals and the communities that support them, DeHart needs to raise enough money to make the documentary film possible.

“We’re just in the funding phase and need to get the funding to start production,” DeHart said.

He has started a Kickstarter campaign at with a goal of raising $18,950 by Dec. 28.

There are rewards for donating to the film through Kickstarter, from a hand-written thank-you note or a DVD copy of the film or larger rewards like a VIP tour of one of the hospitals, a chance to name a sea turtle or be an associate producer.

However, there is a catch.

The Kickstarter funding goal for the project is the lowest amount possible to make the film feasible and if it is not fully funded, the film won’t happen.

DeHart is hopeful that it will and has planned for production of the film is to take place in summer 2018, with the completed film available in 2019.

For full information, see the Kickstarter site by going to bit.ly/TurtleFilm .

Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com or 910-382-2557.