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Turtle Trash Collectors was a UNCW MarineQuest environmental education initiative funded by the NOAA Marine Debris Program under grant #NA18NOS9990031. Our goal was to educate youth about the impacts of marine debris and encourage behavior changes that would reduce the generation of marine debris in the future. From 2019-2021, we implemented programs both in-person and virtually, reaching 29,556 people worldwide!

As of fall 2022, 2TC has ended, however, we are offering live in-person and virtual programs lead by MarineQuest instructors. If you would like to request a live program, please visit our school programs page here


Click here to become a Turtle Trash Collector!
Click here to request your badges!

Interactive Program Video

The Bad News About Marine Debris:

Marine debris, or trash that ends up in the ocean, has major impacts on all kinds of marine animals, especially sea turtles.  These iconic animals can confuse plastic bags and balloons for jellyfish, their favorite food. Any debris that ends up in their system can get stuck, making the turtle feel full so that they stop eating. They can also swallow fishing hooks and even get caught in fishing nets! Since sea turtles are endangered species, we need to find a way to protect them from the impacts of marine debris.

The Good News is...

You can help! Our actions play a big role in the fate of the oceans and our beloved sea turtles! Just by making three easy changes in your life, you can help make our planet a safer place for our sea turtles and ourselves:

  1. Reduce how much plastic you use every day. Opt for reusable water bottles, coffee cups, and food containers.
  2. Help clean up your community. Pick up trash that you see when you are outside to make sure it does not end up in the ocean.
  3. Join our Turtle Trash Collector badge program to earn badges for your efforts!