Watching a green sea turtle gracefully meander through the water or witnessing a horde of leatherback sea turtle hatchlings scramble to the ocean may be one of the most joyful experiences in life. Sea turtles are among the earth’s most ancient and fascinating animals: they have been a mainstay in six of the world’s seven oceans for millions of years, can travel thousands of miles, and can live to be 80 years old. While they live most of their lives at sea, they come to shore for nesting rituals that date back to prehistoric times, creating unforgettable and intimate opportunities to interact with them.
All seven species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered, and three, the Leatherback, Kemp’s Ridley, and Hawksbill are listed as critically endangered. The Leatherback population in the Pacific Ocean was once the world’s largest, but has declined dramatically primarily due to human exploitation, commercial fisheries, and loss of nesting habitat.
The SEE Turtles volunteer program is a terrific opportunity to engage with sea turtles, and participate in conservation efforts right alongside expert biologists and sea turtle researchers. Volunteering on a sea turtle project generally involves tracking and tagging turtles, night patrols of the nesting beaches, and helping researchers collect data. Many projects also include shifts in the egg hatcheries where the eggs are protected from poachers and animals. In addition to meaningful project work, volunteers will have time to explore the rainforest, visit local towns, or simply enjoy a refreshing ocean swim and relaxation on the beach.
For more information and to apply, visit www.seeturtles.org and click on the link to the volunteer matching form. Applicants will be asked to submit their preferred destinations, dates of travel, budget requirements, desired accommodations, and other criteria. SEE Turtles will then match volunteers to partner organizations and projects that best fit their preferences.
SEE Turtles is also offering a unique expedition with EcoTeach, called Costa Rica Sea Turtles Adventure between June 7 -15. All trip proceeds will go towards turtle preservation in the local communities, making this a true conservation effort.
The one-week adventure will be lead by SEE Turtles Director/Co-Founder Brad Nahill who has worked in sea turtle conservation and ecotourism for 10 years with organizations such as Ocean Conservancy, Rare, and Asociacion ANAI (Costa Rica). He has also worked with or consulted for many ecotourism companies, and has co-authored several abstracts on turtle conservation in Costa Rica and turtle watching best practices.
The Costa Rica Sea Turtles Adventure costs US $1500 (double occupancy) and includes all in-country transportation, hotels, guides, activities, and most meals. For more details, please visit www.seeturtles.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (503) 608-9679.
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