Kama S. Dean, Wallace J. Nichols, Jesús Lucero, Johath Laudino-Santillán, Melania C. López-Castro and S. Hoyt Peckham. 2008. Strengthening sea turtle conservation on the Baja California Peninsula: Building a conservation network. In: Rees, A.F., M. Frick, A. Panagopoulou and K. Williams., compilers. Proceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-569, 262 p.
The Grupo Tortuguero works with local communities to recover migratory sea turtle species and reverse declines of diversity, complexity and connectivity of ocean basins. The objectives of this project are: 1) to build a diverse network of fishermen, students, teachers, activists, researchers, funders, managers, indigenous community members and other coastal citizens.; 2) draw on these relationships to understand threats, generate new knowledge and develop locally-
appropriate solutions and 3) empower local leaders to communicate the conservation message and share these solutions widely. It is our objective to build a diverse network and through that network facilitate the development of conservation leaders. We build and strengthen our conservation network through technical training and leadership development at biannual group meetings, offering connectivity grants to individuals throughout our network, and conducting
Annual Meetings: Each year the Grupo Tortuguero holds a conference in Mexico for all members, collaborators and the general public. This meeting has grown from 45 in 1999 to 350 in 2006! Participants share data and ideas, develop regional strategies, and learn leadership skills. The purpose of the meeting is to foster collaborative efforts between researchers, community members, enforcement officers, and regional conservation organizations. Most importantly, conservation strategies are debated and developed, and critical personal relationships are formed and renewed. The annual monitoring meeting is a time for monitoring teams throughout the network to come together and celebrate the work they are doing to preserve the region’s sea turtles. This meeting focuses exclusively on monitoring, and therefore is open only to community monitoring teams and their partners. This meeting gives team members a chance to focus on their work, sharing their data, experiences and lessons learned.
Connectivity Grants: We offer connectivity grants to support individuals from communities throughout the network to travel to and work with other communities. Through connectivity grants we are able to send individuals to experience the work being done in different communities, giving them the opportunity to learn from, as well as teach, others working to save sea turtles in the Eastern Pacific. Connectivity grants strengthen the human connections that create the conservation network as well as the work being done on the ground within the communities through the exchange of vital information and experiences. International
Exchanges: Understanding the transpacific migrations of endangered sea turtles and the importance of community based projects for the global conservation of sea turtles is critical to building awareness and stimulating local and international conservation efforts. Ander these premises, we have carried out a program designed to establish cultural connections and common perceptions for local and international conservation with a social, economic and ecological vision. This program involves individuals from five nations, representing various sectors, dedicated to better understanding community conservation practices and forming an international conservation vision.
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