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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Late at night and early in the morning, they stand watch on our beaches. Volunteers are on duty looking for sea turtle nests, all in hopes of protecting the endangered species.

All along our coast there is an army of people dedicated to serving and protecting sea turtles.

“Volunteers have to be dedicated. They have to really want to do it,” Sunset Beach Turtle Watch Coordinator, Carmel Zetts said.

They do not get paid but they spend hours walking our beaches looking for tracks, sitting by nests while monitoring the process, always on call in case a sea turtle gets stranded.

“Because they want to help save the sea turtles. And they want the turtles to be around for their grandchildren and great grandchildren,” Zetts said.

In the last week or so, volunteers have found several sea turtle nests along Brunswick County coast. Depending on the heat, it takes 45 to 90 days  for the eggs to hatch and when that time comes, volunteers are ready.

“We have a nest parent program where volunteers actually come out each night during the hatching process,” Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization Coordinator, Jim Boyce said. “And monitor the nest, do what they can to make sure the hatchlings get as safely as they can to the water.”

Hundreds of volunteers up all hours of the night and early morning to help in any way possible. Including Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization’s summer intern Jordan Boles.

“I didn’t really understand how people dedicated so much time to it, you know, without pay, until this morning, when I saw our first nest,” Boles said. “When they kinda uncovered the eggs you realize that maybe one of those eggs is going to go towards helping save the species, which is probably, I mean that’s huge. I can’t even put that into words.”

If you would like to help the sea turtles you can Saturday by participating in Run Sunset Beach. It is a race that includes a half marathon, 5K and a one-mile walk.

All proceeds from the one-mile walk will go to the Sunset Beach Turtle Watch and Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital.

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