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sea turtle patrol on beach

Meet the Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island Volunteers

By Hilton Head Insider

From early May through October, Hilton Head Island becomes a safe haven for sea turtles arriving on our shores to nest and lay their eggs for the season. During this time, four different species of turtles are known to frequent America’s Favorite Island®: loggerhead sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, green sea turtles, and Kemp’s Ridley turtles. Each of these turtle species is classified as endangered, which is why it’s so important that we work together to ensure they have the best chance possible at a successful nesting season. 

That’s where Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island comes into play. This essential volunteer organization monitors our beaches for sea turtle nesting and hatching activity every day throughout the nesting season. They also spread awareness through public education and outreach. The Sea Turtle Patrol is made up of people of all ages and from all walks of life who are joined together by their love of wildlife and conservation — and we want to introduce them to you! 

As we prepare for another nesting season on Hilton Head Island, take a few minutes to learn a bit more about the members of our Sea Turtle Patrol.

Amber Kuehn

Amber's deep connection with sea turtles began during a close encounter with a loggerhead while working as a divemaster. This experience ignited her passion for conservation, leading her to volunteer on sea turtle nesting beaches for 26 years across Hilton Head Island, Ft. Lauderdale, and Maui. With a Master's Degree in Marine Biology focused on sea turtle research, Amber leads several volunteers to maintain daily monitoring, as well as vital fundraising efforts for the Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island.

Candace Jackson

Candace's love for the ocean drew her to Hilton Head Island, where she discovered her passion for sea turtle conservation. After witnessing the nesting process firsthand, she volunteered as a spotter on a pocket beach. Later, she joined Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island. Candace is dedicated to protecting sea turtles and educating others about their importance.

Carrell Cranswick

Carrell's journey with Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island began with a breathtaking moment watching a 300-pound loggerhead turtle coming off a three-foot-high dune after nesting. Since that encounter, she’s never looked back. After retiring from the financial industry, she has devoted her time to conservation efforts, sharing her passion for sea turtles with beachgoers and contributing to the survival of these magnificent creatures for more than a decade.

Cindy Wilson

Growing up surrounded by nature, Cindy's fascination with sea turtles led her to join the Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island. After finding a taxidermy sea turtle, she connected with Amber Kuehn and became involved in sea turtle conservation. Before being asked to join the patrol, Cindy volunteered with Turtle Trackers and was a spotter on Pine Island. Cindy's enthusiasm for early morning beach patrols reflects her commitment to protecting sea turtle nesting sites.

Sea Turtle Patrol Truck with sunset
Sea Turtle Patrol Helping Turtle on the Beach

Holly Feltner

Holly's involvement with sea turtles began in 2017 alongside her small business, SEAnic Paddle. As a Lowcountry Master Naturalist and outdoor enthusiast, she combines her passions with educational initiatives, raising awareness about sea turtle conservation through her work and beach clean-ups.

Jack Walsh

Jack's love for sea turtles blossomed during a snorkeling trip in Hawaii. After moving permanently to Hilton Head Island, he began volunteering at Turtle Talks before being asked to join Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island in 2015 and has been an active member ever since. Jack finds joy in all aspects of patrolling, from locating nests to witnessing hatchlings making their way to the ocean.

Kathy Sanders

After retiring from corporate incentive travel, Kathy sought to make a difference. After attending a Turtle Talk, she found her calling in sea turtle conservation. A relative newcomer to Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island, Kathy’s enthusiasm and dedication make her a valuable member of the team. 

Kym Castillo

Kym's childhood adventures in New England sparked a lifelong passion for wildlife. Now on Hilton Head Island, she continues her love for nature by volunteering with Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island. Among her favorite patrol activities, Kym enjoys examining loggerhead tracks and investigating nest chambers. 

turtle in water with sunset

Lauren Connolly

Lauren's been enthralled by sea turtles for as long as she can remember, but her connection to Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island dates back to her high school years on Hilton Head Island, where she was inspired by her “spunky blonde coworker”, Amber Kuehn, and her work with the organization. 25 years later, Lauren would again cross paths with Amber, which inspired her to become a Turtle Tracker before being asked to join the Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island. In addition to her duties on the beach, Lauren serves as the patrol’s Administrative Consultant and is on the Board of Directors. 

Paul Parrick

Paul's interest in nature photography, specifically photographing sunrises, led him to discover sea turtles on Hilton Head Island's beaches. After a year of walking Hilton Head Island’s shores, Paul connected with Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island and was asked to join. His enthusiasm for learning more about sea turtles and how he can contribute to their conservation efforts makes him a valuable team member. 

Mary Sheridan

Mary's natural curiosity about beach habitats, science, and nature sparked her passion for sea turtle conservation. For a decade, she has been an active member of Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island, contributing to nest monitoring and supporting initiatives every step of the way. Mary considers sea turtle conservation a passion project unlike any other, and while the work is often demanding, she enjoys every minute of it.  

Morgan Thompson

Morgan grew up vacationing on Hilton Head Island before deciding to move here full-time over five years ago. Morgan has always been curious about nature, and this curiosity guided her to Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island. Her extensive knowledge of sea turtles and the regulations Hilton Head Island has in place to protect them makes Morgan a valuable resource for ensuring everyone is doing their part to help with loggerhead conservation efforts. 

Woman working for Sea Turtle Patrol helping turtle nests
baby sea turtles

Nanci Polk Weckhorst

Nanci's lifelong dedication to marine biology and conservation led her to co-found Project Turtle Watch and the South East division of the SC Marine Mammal Stranding Network. She has always loved the ocean and has worked tirelessly to help preserve the wonderful creatures who call it home. This work ethic is what led her to join Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island. As a patrol volunteer, Nanci continues her legacy of protecting marine life and advocating for sea turtle conservation.

Pat Dowey

After a successful real estate career, Pat found fulfillment in sea turtle conservation on Hilton Head Island. She has been a member of Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island since 2015, where she takes every opportunity to champion loggerhead sea turtles across our communities. In her free time, Pat enjoys singing and being a nana to her granddaughter, Claire. 

Ray Schrader

Ray's volunteer work at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn introduced him to sea turtle conservation. Now a dedicated member of Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island for over a decade, Ray's enthusiasm and experience are unmistakable. He starts his days at 4 a.m., ready to hit the beach and contribute to the team's efforts in protecting sea turtles and their nesting sites.

Susan Dee

Susan's extensive background in teaching marine science and biology fuels her commitment to sea turtle conservation. In addition to regular beach patrols, Susan is known for giving turtle talks in local hotels — sharing the story of sea turtles with visitors and locals and inspiring future generations of conservationists. She is also part of the nest dedication team. 


Skyler Griffin

Born and raised on Hilton Head Island, Skyler's childhood fascination with wildlife evolved into a career in wildlife biology. With a Master of Science Degree in Zoology from Colorado State
University, her education and expertise are invaluable to Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island’s nest monitoring and community outreach efforts.

Taylor Ladd

Taylor's experience in endangered species conservation brought her to Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island. In addition to nest monitoring activities, she has spent her seasons with the Patrol assisting in nest data collection and serving as the Town Liaison. Taylor has utilized her skills to protect several natural habitats and is delighted to now be volunteering for sea turtle conservation initiatives. 

Wendy Johnson

Wendy's passion for environmental education and beach conservation led her to join Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island. After retiring from teaching, Wendy earned her certification as a Lowcountry Master Naturalist and is now contributing her time to protecting sea turtles and educating others about their importance.

sea turtle patrol working on beach
sea turtle on beach with sunset

This Sea Turtle Season, Let’s All Do Our Part

Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island works tirelessly to ensure the safety of our sea turtle friends, and you can help them. Consider donating to support their efforts, or attend weekly Turtle Talks every Monday at 8 pm, starting June 3rd and running through August 26th at Lowcountry Celebration Park. These talks are the perfect opportunity to learn more about turtle biology, as well as ongoing Sea Turtle Patrol projects. Together, we can all ensure a brighter future for sea turtles. 

Keep your eyes peeled for Sea Turtle Patrol volunteers — as well as turtle tracks — when you make your next visit to Hilton Head Island. Start planning today.

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