HATTERAS, N.C. — Author's note: the video above is from Aug. 24, 2021
The Outer Banks played a big ecological role in keeping sea turtle populations up this year.
Outer Banks Forever, a nonprofit group that raises money for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, said the national park kept tabs on 315 sea turtle nests in 2021, with encouraging results.
"We are thrilled to share that over 19,000 hatchlings made their way to the ocean and that you helped us raise $10,451 to protect and enhance this special place!" a spokesperson wrote.
On average, there were about 112 eggs in each of those nests. On Oct. 13, park rangers estimated 19,402 baby turtles had hatched out of them so far.
Most of the nests were from loggerhead turtles, but there were also 14 green sea turtle nests and three nests from the ultra-rare Kemp's Ridgley turtles.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore rangers had to relocate 80 nests to help those turtles hatch safely.
Outer Banks Forever also allows groups to sponsor, or "adopt," sea turtle nests. With a $100 donation the national park, the nonprofit assigns you to a nest, and keeps you updated on how the babies in that nest are doing (and when they hatch).
The money raised came from 104 nest adoptions in 2021. That window is closed now, but the program will be back in 2022.
If you see a sea turtle on the beach at any time, remember to call Cape Hatteras National Seashore at 252-216-6892. That helps park rangers know where nests are, or help sick turtles if they need it.