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SUNSET BEACH—Starting Sunday, hard-shelled marine reptiles will once again be the talk of the town as seasonal sea turtle programs launch at the beach.
During the summer months, Sunset Beach’s “Turtle Time” educational and informational programs take place on Sunday nights on the island and on Wednesday afternoons at Ingram Planetarium.
Weather permitting, the season’s first session is scheduled to launch at 7 p.m. this Sunday, June 1, in the parking lot of Sunset Properties, 419 S. Sunset Blvd. on the Sunset Beach island.
Conducted by knowledgeable members of the Sunset Beach Turtle Watch Program, the free sessions on the island are always a popular attraction for visitors and locals alike.
It’s also “Turtle Time” at 4 p.m. Wednesdays at Ingram Planetarium, starting in June, when similar programs are conducted in conjunction with regular admission at the planetarium at 7625 High Market St. on the Sunset Beach mainland.
Those in attendance at Turtle Talks learn about ongoing efforts to protect the habitat and nesting habits of the marine creatures at Sunset Beach, which is a sea turtle sanctuary.
Sea turtles traditionally begin nesting on the beach from May through August.
As the nests begin to hatch (usually in early July), statistics are recorded and adopt-a-nest participants receive certificates of adoption and end-of-season reports with updated results of their selected nests.
Program participants are encouraged to share the beach with the turtles and respect their nesting sites and habits.
The Sunset Beach Sea Turtle Program is orchestrated by Joy Makers Inc., a nonprofit organization.
Joy Makers also accepts donations that are used to buy volunteer supplies, educational materials for schools and visitors and visual aids for the weekly turtle programs as well as The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on Topsail Island, another nonprofit organization staffed by volunteers.
Turtle Talk programs continue through Aug. 31.