Monday, June 17, marked the groundbreaking of the new sea turtle rehabilitation center at the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island. The new venture, named the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center or STAR, will provide nearly 3,000 square feet for the Aquarium and Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.) to care for sick and injured sea turtles.
The creation of the rehab center can be credited to the vision of Millie Overman, N.E.S.T. founder, and a small group of volunteers who wanted to care for an injured sea turtle and return it to the ocean. Since that day, N.E.S.T. volunteers and Aquarium staff have worked to rehabilitate and release hundreds of sea turtles. The much needed facility will include holding tanks for recuperating turtles, food preparation and storage space, a medical treatment room and a small office.
Once completed, the STAR center will be open to the public and visitors can observe N.E.S.T. volunteers and Aquarium staff working with turtles on a daily basis. Graphics and interactive exhibits will provide information about sea turtles and their plight. The Aquarium’s current Operation Sea Turtle Rescue exhibit, which allows visitors to see what it is like to be a sea turtle rehabilitation technician, will adjoin the new facility.