Kate Walsh, star of ABC's medical drama Private Practice, is hooking up with Oceana on a new campaign to rally support for the plight of sea turtles. Called Getting Sea Turtles Off the Hook, the initiative will feature Walsh in a series of spots for print, TV, Web and radio.

“We need to raise awareness about sea turtles because most people don’t even know that they’re in trouble,” said Walsh. “If people know about what’s actually happening in the water, it will encourage them to take action to help save sea turtles.”

Over the summer, Oceana and Walsh traveled to Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, an important nesting area for leatherback turtles. It was an ideal place to film at a time when baby sea turtles were hatching and making their journey out to sea.

“It was such an amazing experience to see green sea turtles gliding through the water,” said Walsh. “Watching little leatherback hatchlings venture out to the open ocean showed just how fragile these species really are.”

Out of the seven sea turtle species worldwide, six swim in U.S. waters and all of them are either listed as “threatened” or “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. Fishing nets, pollution, coastal development and other man-made threats all contribute to hundreds of thousands of turtles dying each year.

To learn more, click here to visit the official campaign site.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Kate Walsh fronts new campaign to protect sea turtles
Actress and conservationist says awareness is key to saving the species from extinction.