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Our Hometown

Friends of Hunting Island

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By Holly Bounds

They wake up in the early in the morning, donate their time -- and often their money -- to the cause.  It's a very passionate group.  They are the "Friends of Hunting Island" and part of the Sea Turtle protection program.

 

The cheering and support comes from some of the 120 volunteers who give their time for the sake of the loggerhead sea turtles.  Rising well before the sun does, they hit the beach at Hunting Island State Park every morning of the season with the gear they've put together on their own.

 

"We have all of the supplies that we need to put the nest or find the nest and set the cages to protect our turtles from the raccoons or other predators that come in," Volunteer Karen Whitehead said.

 

The volunteers take pride in their work combing six miles of beach, recording tracks of the loggerhead and in late season, monitor and maintain the nest.

 

"This is a community that just invites you to be a participant.  Not an onlooker, but a participant," Volunteer Denise Parsic sid.

 

And the hands-on, dedicated approach by the Friends of Hunting Island is part of the reason at least one neighbor chose to settle there. 

 

"The program was one of the first things that probably attracted me to Friends of Hunting Island and this community to settle and retire in," Whitehead said.

 

The Friends of Hunting Island make it a better place to work and live for creatures of all kinds.

 

"This community makes this park what it is," Manager Jeff Atkins said.  "And especially in times like these with budget cuts and all going on where the staff just has to focus on the other services and the community comes together and supports the park and supports the resources and it really means a lot."

 

The Friends of Hunting Island are very passionate about protecting the loggerhead sea turtles, but that's only one of their missions.  Among their other projects are litter control, building oyster reefs, and dune restoration.

 

The cheering and support comes from some of the 120 volunteers who give their time for the sake of the loggerhead sea turtles.  Rising well before the sun does, they hit the beach at Hunting Island State Park every morning of the season with the gear they've put together on their own.

 

"We have all of the supplies that we need to put the nest or find the nest and set the cages to protect our turtles from the raccoons or other predators that come in," Volunteer Karen Whitehead said.

 

The volunteers take pride in their work combing six miles of beach, recording tracks of the loggerhead and in late season, monitor and maintain the nest.

 

"This is a community that just invites you to be a participant.  Not an onlooker, but a participant," Volunteer Denise Parsic sid.

 

And the hands-on, dedicated approach by the Friends of Hunting Island is part of the reason at least one neighbor chose to settle there. 

 

"The program was one of the first things that probably attracted me to Friends of Hunting Island and this community to settle and retire in," Whitehead said.

 

The Friends of Hunting Island make it a better place to work and live for creatures of all kinds.

 

"This community makes this park what it is," Manager Jeff Atkins said.  "And especially in times like these with budget cuts and all going on where the staff just has to focus on the other services and the community comes together and supports the park and supports the resources and it really means a lot."

 

The Friends of Hunting Island are very passionate about protecting the loggerhead sea turtles, but that's only one of their missions.  Among their other projects are litter control, building oyster reefs, and dune restoration.

 

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