Sea Turtle Camp Information
2019 Summer Camp Schedule
Carolina Ocean Odyssey
Marine Biology Adventure
Marine Biology Immersion
Marine Biology SCUBA Camps
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Carolina Ocean Odyssey Sample Camp Schedule
Upon arrival to the beautiful North Carolina coast you are met with the anticipation and excitement of fellow participants, parents, and counselors. It’s time for your camper to begin their journey as an ocean explorer! At orientation, the camp schedule and rules for the week will be explained by your partners in parenting, the Carolina Ocean Odyssey team. After orientation, your camper will take a walk across our private beach access and take their first swim in the ocean. Then it’s off to the dining hall for dinner, followed by evening beach activities where we’ll spend time playing games and getting to know each other. We will close out the day with camp introductions at a campfire then head back to the bunks. The morning waves call early and we have to make sure we’re there on time and prepared!
This morning marks the start of a new odyssey where your child will spend the week learning the fundamentals for becoming a true ocean adventurer. From the crest of a wave to the muddy depths of the salt marsh, we’ll explore them all, learning many valuable lessons along the way. After breakfast, your camper will head straight to the beach for a lesson on reading ocean conditions and boogie boarding basics. Then, it’s nothing but catching waves in our first boogie boarding session. After lunch and a short re-charge time, we will head to the sound side of Topsail Island for a kayak session and eco-tour.
To keep the stoke flowing we’ll head back to the beach side to finish out the afternoon with another boogie boarding session. Following dinner, we will dig into some marine science with a game about sea turtles.
Your camper will begin the morning with breakfast, and then hop on a Stand Up Paddleboard for a paddle excursion. After paddleboarding, it is time to head to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital. Your camper will get to see real live sea turtles! From egg to hatchling to adult, turtles face many threats both on land and in the ocean. Your camper will become familiar with some of the obstacles they face while also seeing the positive impact humans can have,through the tireless work that the dedicated volunteers do at the hospital.
Tuesday afternoon it’s back to the beach for advanced boogie boarding. Building on the skills from our previous sessions, we will learn the concepts of wave dynamics, how to catch waves on your own, riding the line, and even tricks! Taking a break from the sun we will head back to our ocean view campus for a snack and camp activities. The day will be closed out with a camp-wide evening program.
We’re half-way through our week of adventure. We will travel to Atlantic Beach, NC to spend the morning riding the best waves we can find. Developing proficiency on boogie boards will help us during our surf session, since our water stamina will continue to grow throughout the course of the week. Having boogie boarded along different beaches at different times, campers will get to see how both the tide and the position of the beach can change the formation of the waves. In addition to working on water skills, we’ll continue to develop our ocean knowledge with an interactive lesson on barrier islands.
After lunch on the beach we’ll head to the North Carolina Aquarium. Many campers have visited North Carolina Aquariums, but we’ll see one from a completely different perspective. We’ll be guided through a behind-the-scenes tour to see all the marine animals that are kept on display, as well as some areas that you don’t see on a typical aquarium visit. It may inspire your camper to want to be an aquarist. We will round out this day back on campus with a camp-wide Luau including fun games and food.
SURF DAY! Today, your camper learns to surf. Utilizing skills learned throughout the week during our boogie boarding sessions, campers will get an exciting surf session from our certified WB Surf Camp instructors.
Barrier islands are long, skinny strips of land that are vital to protecting our coast from storm surges and hurricanes. We will be traveling to the backside of Topsail Island where you can find one of the most productive habitats in the world, the salt marsh. Campers will use dip nets, seine nets, and cast nets to catch and release some of the inhabitants of this ecosystem.
This beach day will be filled with surfing, riding waves, exploring the salt marsh, and beach games. After dinner we will head for the camp-wide closing campfire.
It is the final day of camp so we will start it off with a wave riding ocean session. Now that we’ve got a week of water activity under our belts, you’re bound to see an improvement in your camper’s ability. Campers will be paddling out and catching waves like pros.
After this session, we will head back to the rooms to pack and clean up before lunch. You are welcome to join your camper for lunch and closing ceremonies where we will present a slide show of all the action from the week and hand out superlatives. It will be tough to say goodbye at the end of the week, but we know your camper will leave with new friends, new skills, and incredible memories!
*This is a sample itinerary. Activities can change due to conditions.
Marine Biology Adventure Sample Camp Schedule
Your arrival to the beautiful North Carolina coast is met with the anticipation and excitement of your fellow campers. Now you will have the opportunity to see and interact with real live sea turtles! Not only will you be working with and learning from them, but you will be aiding in the rehabilitation and release of one of the oldest living creatures on the planet. At orientation, all camper rules and the schedule for the week will be explained by your counselors, who are equally excited. Then it’s off to dinner and evening activities where we will spend time getting to know each other. Afterwards, we’ll head back to the bunks because those sea turtles are going to be hungry in the morning, so we have to make sure we’re there on time and well rested to prepare their breakfast!
After breakfast, we’ll head straight to work at the Sea Turtle Hospital, where you have the opportunity to be volunteers at their 10,000 square foot facility, with rooms dedicated to husbandry, surgery, and public education. Don’t forget that this is a hospital; everyone here treats it as such, so while mesmerized, keep in mind that the work here is serious. After lunch we get out and explore the salt marshes of coastal North Carolina. These are the vital nurseries and filters for the greater ocean, and equally important to sea turtles. Many juvenile species of marine life grow up here and filter feeders work diligently to remove pollutants from our ecosystem. After cleaning up and filling up on dinner, we’ll unwind back with some group activities before we hit the hay.
Following the tides, we’ll travel south to Kure Beach to the only naturally occurring intertidal ecosystem in North Carolina – the coquina outcrop. This ancient sandstone reef extends out from the beach and is home to specific marine species like sea liver, sea anemones, stone crabs, and who knows what else?! It’s a fun area to explore on our way to the Fort Fisher Aquarium. At the aquarium we’ll follow the flow of water from the freshwater ecosystems of southeastern North Carolina all the way out to our limestone reefs. We not only get to explore each of these exhibits but get to go behind the scenes of the aquarium. After a full day of marine adventure we will refuel, and then it’s back time to relax and reflect on the day before another early morning at the hospital.
One of the greatest aspects of Sea Turtle Camp is that by doing what you love, you are giving back by participating in community service. During your time at the hospital you will learn feeding habits, nutrition, cleaning, water filtration and much more – while discovering the unique personality of each sea turtle. Another way we give back is through daily beach sweeps to inspire others to keep our oceans free of life threatening trash and plastics. We’ll meet a very special friend of Sea Turtle Camp, who has been out in the gyres documenting the accumulation of plastics and their harmful effects. This human-based problem changes how you see the world and inspires you in to action. Prepare for a long night, because after dinner we search for nesting mothers, while enjoying the bioluminescence that sparkles along the shoreline.
The alarm sounds early on your final full day, but it’s a big day. We rise early to participate in a morning nest patrol, with the potential to witness one of the coolest sights for a sea turtle lover – fresh tracks in otherwise unmarked sand. A fresh turtle crawl! Mother sea turtles come lumbering out of the sea at night, lay their eggs in a trance, and then work their way back to the sea. Our search is followed by another morning of duties at the hospital. After saying goodbyes to our flippered patients, we travel to Wrightsville Beach to explore the salt marsh. Tonight we’ll pack and clean up but not before enjoying time together at our final Luau and campfire.
After a laid back breakfast it’s back to the bunks for the final packing and cleaning duties. After exchanging phone numbers and email addresses you say goodbye to all of your new found friends until you meet again next year to care for the new batch of patients at the hospital!
Marine Biology Immersion Sample Camp Schedule
Days 1 – 2
Your arrival to the beautiful North Carolina coast is met with the anticipation and enthusiasm of your fellow campers; now you will have the opportunity to see and interact with real live sea turtles! Not only will you be working with and learning from them, but you will be aiding in the rehabilitation and release of one of the oldest living creatures on the planet. We rise to potentially witness one of the coolest sights to sea turtle lovers: fresh tracks in otherwise unmarked sand. The mother comes lumbering out of the sea at night, lays her eggs in a trance, and then returns to the water. Following the search, we learn the ropes of turtle rehabilitation at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.
Days 3 – 4
We’ll start the day off with an action-packed adventure during our surf lesson. This is probably the most exciting way to learn about physical oceanography. Following the tides, will pile out of the van and onto a habitat that exists solely in Kure Beach – the only naturally occurring intertidal rocky outcrop in North Carolina. This ancient sandstone reef extends out from the beach and is home to specific marine species like sea liver, sea anemones, stone crabs, and who knows what else?! It’s a fun area to explore on our way to our behind the scenes tour at the North Carolina Aquarium. Next we’ll learn more about the anatomy and physiology of sea turtles from a specialist. After her presentation, she will walk us through an actual sea turtle necropsy to officially catalog and record what happens when one of our favorite creatures washes up and doesn’t make it.
Days 5 – 6
We’re up early again and ready to climb aboard a research vessel. We’ll have an even better opportunity to explore the estuarine habitats as we take a research vessel towards the mouth of the Cape Fear River. Onboard we’ll sample different inhabitants as we learn about diversity, classification, and identification. This is a camp highlight, and not to be missed! From pristine to polluted, our next stop is the county landfill, where the impacts of human existence are very apparent. All consumer-driven waste is put here, where it remains, sometimes forever. Another way we give back is through beach sweeps to hopefully inspire others while keeping our oceans free of life threatening debris. Today we’ll meet a special friend who has actually been out in the gyres documenting the harmful effects of plastics adrift in the ocean. This human inflicted problem will alter how you see the world and inspire you to be part of the necessary change.
Days 7 – 8
We’ll start the morning off right with more work at the hospital. By now you’ve probably started recognizing the unique personalities of each turtle as you work closely with the interns and volunteers at the hospital. After lunch we will take time to get out and explore the salt marshes of coastal North Carolina. These are the vital nurseries and filters for the greater ocean. Many juvenile species of marine life grow here and filter feeders work diligently to remove toxins from our ecosystem.
Days 9 – 11
The day may start with a morning walk in search of a nest. Sometimes sea turtle nests must be relocated to protect from humans, wildlife, beach traffic, lights or tidal encroachment. It is a last resort but you may get the chance to learn how it’s done before even getting to the hospital for another day’s work. Next, we’ll explore the salt marsh again. Here we are able to spot various species of herons and egrets stalking small fish and crabs amongst the cordgrass. On our final night, we’ll begin our goodbyes but not before enjoying time together at our final Luau and campfire… until we return to Sea Turtle Camp next year.
Marine Biology Scuba Sample Camp Schedule
Days 1 – 2
Your arrival to the beautiful North Carolina coast is met with the anticipation and enthusiasm of your fellow campers as you prepare to become certified SCUBA divers and immerse yourself in the marine biology world. At orientation, all rules and structure for the week will be explained by your counselors, who are equally as excited. Then it’s off to dinner and evening activities where we will spend time getting to know each other, becoming a marine biological family. Afterwards, we’ll head to our bunks, so that we are well rested for the next days activities! Following breakfast, we’ll head out for a day of marine biology fun as we explore the salt marshes and learn more about one of our favorite marine animals, the sea turtle.
Days 3 – 4
We start the day with our first SCUBA class. Safety is always our number one concern when going out in the ocean and SCUBA diving is no different. Anyone can breathe underwater, but it’s important to learn the right way! Safety is intertwined with everything you will learn in your Open Water certification. We will dive into the basics of buoyancy, descending, ascending, breathing comfortably underwater, warmth and efficiency. The days begin early as we meet for in-water training at one of our local pools. In today’s lessons we will be covering everything from controlling buoyancy to removing, clearing and replacing our masks and regulators. Tonight we’ll explore dive charts, decompression sickness, as well as thinking and caring for others underwater should an accident ever occur. As in most scenarios prevention and preparation are the two best ways to avoid dangerous situations whether in life or in SCUBA.
Days 5 – 6
Another early morning puts us back in the pool to practice aiding our dive buddies if trouble were to occur. These exercises include towing a fatigued diver, buddy breathing and removal/replacement of gear underwater and at the surface. All of this training is practiced over and over to create a calm, trained response to situations that can arise. We’ll inspect the undersides of floating docks and sample the abundance of life that attaches to hardened structures. We’ll start the next day at the beach with another surf lesson and then our for our first open water dive. Here you will be familiarized with safety/equipment checks, adjustments, followed by buoyancy control and controlled descent/ascent. In the second dive you will partner with a buddy to practice safe emergency techniques. Then we’ll spend some time exploring underwater.
Days 7 – 8
Following the tides, we’ll travel south to the only naturally occurring intertidal ecosystem in North Carolina – the coquina outcrop. This ancient sandstone reef extends out from the beach and is home to specific marine species like sea liver, sea anemones and stone crabs. It’s a fun area to explore on our way to the Fort Fisher Aquarium. The alarm sounds early on the next day, but it’s a big day, so you barely register that. We rise early to potentially witness one of the coolest sights for a sea turtle lover: fresh tracks in otherwise unmarked sand. Our search is followed by a tour of the sea turtle hospital. After saying goodbyes to our flippered patients, we explore the salt marsh. Here we are able to spot herons and egrets stalking small fish and crabs amongst the grasses.
Days 9 – 10
After a laid back breakfast we will head to the beach for bonus water time. With the professional instruction of our parent company, WB Surf Camp, we will spend all morning building our confidence and learning to enjoy and ride the waves that dolphins and sea turtles have been enjoying for millennia. Next, we’ll learn about the diversity of invertebrate fauna located in our waterways. And of course, we’ll have to get in one last session at the Sea Turtle Hospital before we transition to our scuba instruction. It will be tough not seeing the turtles as often, but all the new material we need to cover for our Open Water certification will require a lot of our focus.
Days 11 – 13
Tuesday is the big day! After breakfast we will head to the docks, board our vessel and head out as the sun rises over the Atlantic. Only a few miles offshore, we will stop in the gentle rolling summer seas and set anchor. There doesn’t appear to be much out here. The land seems to be just a hologram on the western horizon, but down below is an incredible world of wonder. Before descent, we perform a few in-water techniques at the surface. After everyone has proven their abilities it is time for a free descent. At the historic North Carolina shipwrecks you will be in awe of the incredible amount of life that exists in and around these artificial habitats. Using your compass, you will navigate around the underwater structures while being mesmerized by fish and marine life of all shapes and sizes! It is such an incredible world out there and now that you’re an official certified Open Water Diver it’s time to start planning for next year’s adventure.
Costa Rica Sea Turtle Adventure Sample Schedule
Day 1 – 4
After stepping off the plane in San Jose your enthusiasm builds as you meet your instructors and fellow campers. You’ve waited all summer and now you’ll have the opportunity to interact with real live sea turtles! But first, we’re off to the rainforest. You’ll travel to the UGA Costa Rica campus for a 4-day eco-adventure in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Here we will learn about ecological diversity of the region as well as take in the culture of Costa Rica! A visit to Monteverde would not be complete without a zip-line canopy tour of the cloud rainforest before we depart for our next adventure.
Day 5 – 7
Next, we’ll trade in our flip flops for paddles and PFDs as we travel through the Pacuare River system on a white water rafting expedition. After a day of rafting, we will stop along the river for some rest at the Pacuare River Lodge. The riparian zone along the river provides an excellent opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife. Our excitement builds as we have one final morning raft along the river and travel to the coast for a week of turtle monitoring and data collection. After this incredible introduction to Costa Rica, we’ll be ready to head to the serenity of the beach.
We’re finally going to see the sea turtles! After taking a short boat ride to reach the field station, we’ll be welcomed by the village members who have made sea turtle conservation a priority. We will take part in a patrol training session, followed by a beach practice session where we’ll see how a sea turtle nest is made – it’s tough work with hands, so imagine how difficult it must be with flippers! As night descends, our excitement reaches near fever pitch as we will be patrolling the beach in shifts to await the nesting mothers. Nothing compares to watching that mom emerge from the water, crawl up the beach, excavate a nest and drop in her precious offspring.
Day 8 – 13
This area is famous for being a nesting site for Leatherback and Green sea turtles so they will certainly keep us busy. When not patrolling the beach, collecting data on nesting mothers or protecting the nests, we will be helping out in the hatchery, performing beach clean-ups or receiving Spanish language instruction from native speakers. This truly is the pura vida lifestyle! Each day, our anticipation builds as we get excited for what new turtle the waves will bring.
We’ve loved our work at the beach and the time spent with the turtles, but it’s time to make our way back home. When the sun finally sets on our last day, we’ll have a mix of sadness and pride that we were able to contribute to something so important. We’ll load up all of our gear and travel to San Jose where we will say our goodbyes as we board our flights. At the airport, you and your fellow campers will begin planning where you want to go next summer for Sea Turtle Camp!
Hawaii Sea Turtle Adventure Sample Schedule
Day 1 – 2
Your Sea Turtle Camp trip leaders are excitedly awaiting your arrival at the Honolulu International Airport. You’ve waited all summer and now you’re adventure in Hawaii can finally begin! After settling into our rooms at the University of Hawaii Manoa we’ll go through orientation, talk about camp rules, and discuss our schedule for the next two weeks. These upcoming weeks will be full of sea turtles, fish and dolphins, in addition to exciting cultural explorations, and it will all start early the next day with our first session at Sea Life Park Hawaii. We’ll meet some of the adult turtles that we’ll be working with, in addition to getting a tour of the hatchery to see the hatchling honus.
Day 3 – 5
Our explorations of Oahu continue as we explore the island from above and below the water. After snorkeling, we’ll learn about the green sea turtles that bask on the beach at Laniakea Beach. Hawaii is one of the few places that turtles will come out of the water to do something other than nest. This will give us the chance to see them out in the wild and maybe in the water. After exploring the coastline during a Stand Up Paddleboard lesson, we’ll travel inland to hike through the mountains and visit an authentic fish farm.
Day 6 – 8
Our work with the turtles at Sea Life Park Hawaii continues as we study what the composition of the green sea turtle diets. We’ll be able to weigh and measure them to better understand their nutrition. In addition to the turtles, we’ll also work with some of the other inhabitants at the facility. We’ll step behind the scenes and become aquarist apprentices, helping to care for the tropical fish and invertebrates that reside at the facility. We’ll even learn some tips from the trainers.
Day 9 – 11
We couldn’t travel all the way to the Hawaii without participating in some of their cultural heritage. We’ll travel to the North Shore for surf lessons at one of the most famous surfing breaks in the world. Then we’ll visit the tidepools to uncover some of the animals that are residing there. We’ll learn about the history of the island during WWII during our guided tours of the USS Arizona and USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor. After busy days, we’ll need to refuel at local restaurants, but tonight will be extra special when we attend an authentic Hawaiian luau.
Days 12 – 14
With only a few days left, we have to pack in a lot of activity. We’ll spend a few more sessions at Sea Life Park Hawaii working with the dolphins and swimming with the stingrays in their exhibit. We’ll log a few more sessions in the water with another snorkel session, and a final surf lesson. Once we leave our boards at the beach we’ll travel what may arguably be Oahu’s most recognizable landmark, Diamond Head Crater. We’ll have a special last night together, sharing lots of memories from the summer. The next day it’s off to the airport where you and your fellow campers will plan where you want to go next summer for Sea Turtle Camp!