Looking at a beach the first thought it that it’s a sterile environment. That appearance is true for almost any beach, but especially an Outer Banks beach with its wonderful soft sand and smooth appearance.

Except it’s not sterile, not sterile at all. Walk along the damp sand at the surf’s edge as the sunsets and everywhere ghost crabs are scurrying about, emerging from holes then digging new ones.

The beach is very much alive, and one of the most fascinating slivers of live are sea turtle nests.

This summer nests have been identified as far north as Carova—a little bit north of where nest are typically found. With a nest that far north, it means every town and village north of Oregon Inlet has at least one sea turtle nest, and most of them have at least two or three.

We know about the nests because of N.E.S.T. (Network for Endangered Sea Turtles)—a remarkable Outer Banks organization that has been monitoring and protecting sea turtle nests since 1995.

The organization is an excellent example of citizen science and how effective a a group of volunteers can be in effecting change. N.E.S.T. has become the go to organization whenever an issue arises concerning sea turtles. In the winter when there’s a cold snap, N.E.S.T. volunteers are the saviors for cold stunned turtles.

N.E.S.T. volunteers are the people who identify, monitor and protect nest sites.

They do need money for the work that they do and through the end of this month, there is a great opportunity to get a good breakfast and make a donation. Bob’s Grille in Kill Devil Hills is offering a $10 breakfast with 30% of that—$3.00—going back to the organization.

That’s a win/win and worth checking out.