Terps Helping Turtles

Each year 12 ILS students apply to spend their spring break caring for very special patients at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Topsail, NC. This well-known facility cares for sea turtles as they are recuperating from disease and/or injuries.

Terps helping turtles at turtle rescue center.

As part of this experience students provide service to the turtle hospital, including the bathing and feeding of turtles, general upkeep of the facilities and grounds keeping. Working alongside the daily hospital volunteers students learn to feed the turtles, clean their tubs, and perform minor treatments. Each day is also educational as students learn each turtle's story of rescue and how humans have a negative effect on sea turtles. During their week of service students also spend their time living together, cooking meals, and reflecting upon their experiences.

ILS students on a beach on Topsail Island, NC.

Common sea turtle species treated at the facility include Green, Kemps Ridley and Loggerhead sea turtles. Many of the turtles come to the facilty due to injuries sustained by boat propellers, becoming cold stunned when they enter into cold water currents or are exposed to cold winter air temperatures, or suffering from the loss of a flipper. During the week ILS students begin to understand all of the hard work that this volunteer-run organization does to rehabilitate and protect sea turtles in North Carolina.  

Applications for this unique experience open in the fall semester. Students selected for the trip are required to attend regular pre-trip meetings, participant in fundraising and outreach activities, and attend a post-trip service day.

Learn more about the trip by watching our digital story for 2017!

For questions about this trip please contact the ILS staff at ils-honors@umd.edu

Picture of an ILS student under a pier.
Picture of a sea turtle in water.
ILS student in front of a turtle recovery tank.
Picture of ILS students working with an injured sea turtle.
ILS students and Dr. Boots Quimby holding a juevenile sea turtle.
Picture of ILS students on a beach on Topsail Island, NC.