Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a team to care for sea turtles. Today’s Sea Turtle Spotlight is Judy, an Aquarium volunteer who helps care for our loggerhead sea turtles. Judy has been volunteering at the Aquarium since she retired to Kure Beach in 1997. When asked why she began volunteering at the Aquarium, Judy said, “I have a lifelong love of the beach, sea life, shelling, fossil hunting, etcetera. The Aquarium was a natural fit for me to not only learn more about the ocean and sea life, but to share my knowledge as well.”
During her time at the Aquarium, Judy has had many opportunities to share her knowledge. Judy began as an Education Volunteer working at the touch tank teaching visitors about the animals. Later she developed a fossil cart display, narrated the dive show at Cape Fear Shoals exhibit and interacted with visitors at the sea turtle exhibit. When the Aquarium closed for renovations in 2000, Judy began volunteering with the Aquariology Department. She assists in food preparation, cleaning exhibits, feeding, weighing and measuring the sea turtles, as well as providing enrichment for the turtles.
Judy knows volunteering at the aquarium is a great opportunity.
“There are so many things I enjoy about volunteering at the aquarium, including seeing the many “babies” born in the aquarium, plus the new animals, and occasionally going collecting for new fishes,” Judy said. “Because of my love for sea turtles, being able to weigh, measure, feed, sun and interact with them, caring for them is my favorite part of volunteering at the Aquarium.”
Judy’s dedication to sea turtles extends to work outside the Aquarium.
“After retirement when I was able to spend time on the beach, I saw my first sea turtle nest boil and hatch and thus found my passion for wanting to help save and protect sea turtles. After I learned there were no volunteers helping the couple who held the sea turtle permit [for protecting nests on the island] in 1998, I started and organized the volunteer sea turtle project on Pleasure Island.” Watch this video of a sea turtle boil like the one that got Judy involved with sea turtles: