Turtle Survival Center Snapshot: Community

by Heather Lowe 

This is the third of a three-part series in our blog, highlighting the progress that has been made in our first year at the Turtle Survival Center (TSC).

None of our progress at the Turtle Survival Center would be possible without the support of our community – both the local community in South Carolina, and the broader "turtle community". Since moving into our "new digs," we've made several connections in the local community that have proven to be exciting partnerships. Mepkin Abbey, a nearby Trappist monastery, grows a variety of mushrooms that are distributed to local grocery stores and restaurants. The monks at the Abbey have generously agreed to donate oyster, shitake and button mushrooms to the Center each month as they are a valuable component of the turtles' diet. Additionally, Limehouse Produce (a wholesale distributor in North Charleston) has partnered with the TSA to offer discounted and free produce to the Center, as available. Even a local home health supplier has pitched in! Home Medical, based in Monck's Corner, donated free oxygen and a nebulizer that can be used to aerosolize medications for sick animals when needed.IMG_0013

The care of our collection has been further bolstered by the addition of Terry Norton to the team. Dr. Norton is the veterinarian at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) and he joined us in September as a consulting vet for the TSC. Since that time, Dr Norton and the GSTC have generously donated equipment to the Center, including a laparoscope. Additionally, they have offered many hours of cross-training opportunities to the staff at the Center, greatly enhancing their ability to provide quality veterinary care to our collection.

Additionally, several volunteers (many of whom have been TSA members for years!) have turned out at the Center during four volunteer events to pitch in and get their hands dirty. With their help, the staff has been able to tackle large jobs on site that included moving existing carports and storage facilities, removing some large trees, cleaning out existing ponds, and tearing out existing fencing. Needless to say, the work was less than glamorous, but everyone jumped in with both feet and got it all done. For that, we are truly grateful! Their work was made a lot easier with the donation of a pickup truck (shown above) by longtime TSA supporters Harold "Wally" and Susanne Wahlquist.

zoo_med_donationOur good friends and turtle lovers at Zoo Med Laboratories have also jumped in to support the Center. In August, they generously donated all of the merchandise from their display at the meeting in St. Louis. We were thrilled to learn recently that this type of support would continue, as they have agreed to donate needed supplies in 2014, in addition to their conference sponsorship.

Above all, we have to give thanks to the many donors that have supported this initiative financially. Without their generosity, the TSC would have remained a dream, rather than the reality that it has become. With Board Member Patricia Koval leading the charge in our capital campaign, we have raised $1,016,210 toward our ultimate goal of $1.6 million. THANK YOU to the many individuals, zoos, and organizations that have pledged their support for the Turtle Survival Center; you have truly made an impact in our march toward zero turtle extinctions.