We’re No. 1!

We’re No. 1!

Sick and injured sea turtles consistently vote for us as the “best place to get better and go home.” And now that the official results of the 2013 Readers Choice Awards (Topsail Advertiser) are in it’s clear that it’s not only sea turtles that think we’re special: You voted us the “No. 1 Tourist Attraction!”

That’s quite an honor, considering that the huge number of patients still recuperating at our old hospital prevented us from opening for tours over the summer. You can’t imagine how grateful we are that everyone hung in there with us while we worked our carapaces off trying to get the new place up, running and open before the end of the year. But we did it; and when about 2,000 visitors came through that first weekend, we were almost in tears. We truly could not have gotten to this place, both literally and figuratively, without your support and unwavering faith in us and our work. A thousand flipper hugs to everyone.


In the upcoming months

Jan. 4 was the last date for public tours for the immediate future. The next few weekends will be devoted to training winter semester UNCW interns. They work on Saturday, giving our permanent staff a much appreciated weekend day off. 

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 25, we are hosting local organizations from the towns of Holly Ridge, Topsail Beach, North Topsail Beach and Surf City that have been so instrumental in getting us where we are today. Fire, police and rescue, members of all town hall staffs and elected officials (and members of their immediate families) can tour the hospital free of charge. It’s our chance to show our appreciation to all the towns and their staffs who have supported us over the years. There will be no public tours that Saturday, but watch this column and our Facebook page for possible, additional opportunities for public tours over the next months. 

Last year our volunteers were focused on handling a record number of patients, in two locations, and our board worked tirelessly to get the building completed.  Needless to say some of the “stuff” that we wanted to do dropped to the bottom of our list, and in some cases fell completely off the list. Now it’s catch-up time as we review and prioritize what we need to get done before our grand opening.

First: for all of you Family Giving Challenge donors, get ready to celebrate at your private event. You’ll tour the entire building, meet our turtles up close and party till we all drop. May 31 — save the date. More details to come; it’s going to be fantastic fun.

Next: our website (seaturtlehospital.org) will be getting a makeover. At the moment we’re focused on updating patient information, including turtles up for adoption, and getting our gift shop catalog current. New items and the latest colors in apparel will be included. If you have questions about availability and colors before you place your order contact our online gift shop guru Peggy via e-mail at hisscat9@aol.com. PayPal is the most convenient way to place your order. You can adopt one of our patients by clicking on the “Adopt-A-Sea-Turtle” link on our webpage. Also check out our Facebook page: The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center.

New: We’re offering gift certificates for the “brother/sister/niece who has everything” and other hard-to-buy- for family and friends. Contact Jean via e-mail (loggrhead@aol.com) for details.

Lennie: Yes, we’re working on “Lennie’s Fan Club” but that little critter is nitpicking every last detail until he’s completely sure we’re giving his fans all kinds of bennies. He seems to like the plush “Lennie” turtle that’s part of the package, but he’s still complaining that his image on the T-shirt makes him look fat. We’ll just have to force him to “bite the squid bullet” so we can move on with this project!

Newsletter: That one is mostly on me. There’s so much to talk about. It’s a matter of judicious writing and editing to the point where it won’t have to be published in several volumes and be delivered by drone. And Jean’s most likely agonizing over her “Director’s Message” for the issue. We humbly ask for your patience while we try to get it together.

It’s not snowing, but …

It’s cold outside, and that can be deadly if you’re a sea turtle still hanging out along the coast. Sea turtles are cold-blooded and cannot regulate their body temperature. That’s why a cold-stunned turtle can sometimes appear to be dead — it’s literally unable to move its flippers, head and often even close its eyes. You can help us by removing the turtle from the beach or water and placing it in an unheated area such as your garage, car or utility room. Do not try to warm it up! That could cause the turtle to go into shock. The N.C. state hotline for any stranding is: 252-241-7367 and the call will be picked up 24/7.  Locally, if you come across any turtle in distress you can text or phone our director, Jean Beasley, at 910-470-2800 or our beach director, Terry Meyer, at 910-470-2880. Please report any and all local sea turtle activity (strandings, injured or sick turtles) immediately to Jean or Terry.

Questions, comments, suggestions

Please direct any questions, comments or suggestions re: this column to me at: flippers@att.net. This column is in the off-season schedule of publication of every other week. To be added to the newsletter list e-mail me at the same address: flippers@att.net. If your e-mail address has recently changed please send me your new one so I can update my master list. I’ve been adding everyone who requests the newsletter which is a work in progress.


Karen Sota is the volunteer media coordinator for the Sea Turtle Hospital in Topsail Beach.