SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — The Karen Beasley Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation had a turtle parade on Thursday, and dozens of people lined up to join the “shellebration.”
The nonprofit organization in Surf City usually welcomes more than a 1,000 visitors on its peak days during the summer. However, state and local coronavirus regulations force them to close in March.
Since then, people have sent countless, calls, emails, and letter asking when they would be able to see the turtles again.
After some detailed planning and long discussions about how to keep both animals and visitors safe, folks were finally able to drive up, get in line, and interact with their favorite sea creature.
“We came up with this idea…and we thought we can still keep social distance, we can still wear masks, gloves, do all the things that we should be doing, but we can allow them to have a chance to see the turtles,” Jean Beasley, the head of the turtle rescue center, said.
Many of their turtles have lived at the rehabilitation center since December recovering from injuries.
Each one is named after an astronaut like Buzz Aldrin or Jessica Willaims, and are affectionately nicknamed “aquanauts.”
The Rescue’s mission it to conserve marine turtles and educate the public about the endangered species. According to Beasley, without sea turtles we don’t have a healthy ocean “and if there were no ocean, there would be no us.”
The group of volunteers is primarily made up of interns and retired school teachers who enjoy devoting their time to preserving the ocean and its inhabitants.
If you’d like to volunteer, give, or buy something from its gift shop, visit here to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.