Outer Banks Forever announces opening of annual ‘Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest’ program

Outer Banks Forever announces opening of annual ‘Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest’ program

Outer Banks Forever, the official nonprofit partner of the Outer Banks national parks, has opened its annual Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest program for the sea turtle nesting season at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which occurs from May to October each year.

The Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest program launched in 2020 to support projects and programs that protect and enhance Cape Hatteras National Seashore now and for future generations. In 2022, the program raised $23,405 to support Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and it was also recognized  by the Public Lands Alliance for Outstanding Public Engagement at its annual awards ceremony.

“Our Adopt a Sea Turtle Nest program is a fun way for people to learn more about these special island visitors and the work our national park staff does every day to help protect them,” said Jessica Barnes, Director of Outer Banks Forever. “It’s also fun for us to send updates to each person who adopts a nest, particularly sharing the number of sea turtle hatchlings that make their way out of each nest. It’s a great way to feel connected to these amazing creatures while also supporting Cape Hatteras National Seashore.”

Through the Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest program, you can symbolically adopt an active sea turtle nest at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and receive an official adoption certificate by mail and information about your specific nest when it hatches later this summer or fall.

Here is how the program works: 

  • Donate: Give a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more to adopt your 2023 sea turtle nest. You will receive a confirmation email for your donation.
  • Receive your nest assignment: Sea turtles typically start to arrive in May and June and will continue to arrive until late August. As nests arrive and are available, you will be assigned your sea turtle nest and receive an adoption certificate by mail with initial information about your nest.
  • Wait patiently for your nest to hatch! When your nest hatches later this summer or fall, you will receive a personalized update in the mail with information park rangers collect about your nest, including the number of hatchlings that made their way out to sea.

There are a limited number of nests each year and they are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so you are encouraged to adopt your nest early. For more information on Outer Banks Forever’s Adopt A Sea Turtle nest program, please review the program’s Frequently Asked Questions.

You can learn more about the sea turtles that visit the Outer Banks by watching Outer Banks Forever’s interview with Meaghan Johnson, Chief of Resource Management and Science for the National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, or by reading more here.

Please note: Nature belongs to all of us – no individual or group that participates in this program can claim ownership of a sea turtle nest, eggs or hatchlings. For the safety of the sea turtles and in alignment with National Park Service protocol, your nest’s exact location will not be shared until after it has hatched.