The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center began with the Topsail Turtle Project, Karen Beasley's dream to preserve and protect sea turtle nests, nesting females and hatchlings. In 1996, a small group of volunteers with the Topsail Turtle Project had an opportunity to care for an injured sea turtle that required long term rehabilitation. The dream of a dedicated facility on Topsail Island to provide sanctuary was born, and the town of Topsail Beach offered to lease a small lot on the Banks Channel for the facility. The building was 900 square feet in total, with the surrounding air and water temperatures perfect for keeping sea turtles warm.
By 2010, the Rescue had outgrown the small building, caring for up to 40 sea turtles at time. The dream of a large rehabilitation center was realized through the tireless efforts of the Beasley family, support of project members and volunteers, and material from local businesses, residents, and visitors. That facility is now located in Surf City, North Carolina.
Now, the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center focuses on its mission: conserve and protect all species of marine turtles, both in the water and on the beach. It accomplishes this by rescuing and rehabilitating injured and sick sea turtles before releasing them back into their natural habitat, and by creating learning opportunities for visitors, residents, and students of biology, wildlife conservation, and veterinary medicine.
This non-profit organization is primarily staffed by volunteers; they busily care for the injured turtles, monitor the beach for nests in the morning, make sure baby turtles make it safely into the water, and even care for cold shocked turtles in the winter. Most admitted sea turtles are from the North Carolina area, but occasionally turtles arrive from as far away as Massachusetts. The most common species of sea turtles being cared for at the center are loggerheads, greens, and Kemp's ridleys.
Paddle Candy is happy that a percentage of each Paddle Candy Sea Turtle Paddle sale goes to support the Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center. The design features a large sea turtle on the surface as a constant reminder of the amazing conservation work that the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center does every day.