About Us

  Sea Turtle Recovery, STR, is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of sea turtles and providing public outreach. The Sea Turtle Recovery Center is a 4,000 square foot, state of the art facility located within the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo. STR’s life support system uses UV and ozone to provide a safe environment for the sea turtles to heal until they can be released.

  Prior to Sea Turtle Recovery’s opening, endangered and threatened sea turtles that stranded in New Jersey due to illness or injury could be stabilized in New Jersey but, if they needed long term care, had to be transferred out of state. These sea turtles had to endure long transports as far south as North Carolina. Also, each year the increased sea turtle strandings in the Northeast Region of the United States caused several facilities to reach capacity.  With this occurring, it did not leave available space for New Jersey’s stranded sea turtles. Sea Turtle Recovery was created to help these turtles in need.

  Another obstacle in New Jersey was the lack of information and educational resources available to the public regarding sea turtles.  The Sea Turtle Recovery was established to create a voice for sea turtles in NJ. Now, STR ensures that sea turtles receive the necessary care here in NJ, and we are working to expand our education program in the state.

  Sea Turtle Recovery was started by two marine scientists that wanted to do more to help save endangered and threatened sea turtles in New Jersey.  Bill Deerr and Brandi Biehl both received their Bachelor’s degrees in Marine Science and have dedicated their lives to saving marine species.  Each Co-Executive Officer has years of experience and training with marine mammals and sea turtles. Teaming up with a group of individuals that have committed their time and energy to ensuring that sea turtles have a future, Sea Turtle Recovery was founded, creating the first long term sea turtle hospital in New Jersey.

  In 2016, STR and Essex County Turtle Back Zoo joined together for conservation.  The Turtle Back Zoo donated a 4,000 sq foot facility and in return, STR provides outreach and sea turtle rehabilitation inside the zoo. Now we need your help to continue providing the best care possible for these endangered and threatened species. Together, we can make a difference for sea turtles!

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The Sea Turtle Recovery Board and Staff: (left to right)
Dr. Jonathan Bergmann, Jennifer Rawlins, Dr. Hubert Paluch, Bill Deerr, Brandi Biehl, Jim Wheatcroft, Anne Scotland, Bill Hollingsworth.
Not Pictured: Erin Rumsey, Nancy Stymacks

Legal Counsel

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 Dante DiPirro, Esq. has been an attorney for over 25 years and has significant experience in both the public and private sectors.  Among his great experience and accomplishments he has served in the Governor’s Office, the NJDEP, and at the NJ Highlands Council.  Dante has also represented solar / environmental, animal, and business / non-profit clients.  We are honored to welcome him as a representative for Sea Turtle Recovery.