Seabee Garden Helps Injured Turtles

It was a bittersweet day as volunteers who have treated and cared for the turtles for more than two years had to let them go. Although healthy now, at one time all of these turtles had life-threatening injuries. Some of them were hit by cars, others used as chew toys by dogs.

Veterinarian James Askew volunteers his time to treat injured wildlife and is proud to see how far they've come.

"The animals are constantly being injured by human encroachment," Dr. Askew said. "It just seemed like a natural decision to make if I wanted to make a difference."

Dr. Askew and the volunteers at the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center say the turtles' success is due in large part to a garden hidden in the middle of an office complex at the Seabee Base.

"It's so much like a natural environment," said Missy Dubuisson, a volunteer at the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center. "No predators can get in here and get to them when they're going through their rehab."

People who work in the surrounding offices have volunteered to help feed the turtles and check on their health.

"We know them all by name, we've named them all," said Cindy Webb, an employee at the Seabee Base. "We've watched all of their activities and they've been very interesting. A lot of us have learned a lot about turtles."

"It's bittersweet because I know that they're going to miss them, but then at the same time, to see them go back in their home, there's nothing like that," Dubuisson said.

There are another dozen or so turtles still living in the garden at the Seabee Base. They're not quite ready to be released yet, but when they're healthy, they too will be taken out to the woods and released.

The Wildlife Care and Rescue Center takes in about 50 injured turtles each year.