Teens and teachers join researchers to learn about and help contribute to conservation projects focused on endangered sea turtles at one of the world’s most important nesting beaches for vulnerable leatherbacks.
From Caribbean nesting beaches to in-water surveys in the Pacific, hands-on sea turtle research forms the foundation for learning.
Costa Rican youth are inheriting both the old traditions of sea turtle consumption and the new traditions of conservation and protection. Without protection, more than 80% of sea turtle nests are lost to illegal harvest, a practice driven by a lack of connection to and awareness of sea turtles and their plight. Many Costa Rican teens have never seen a live turtle, nor do they know the importance of their beaches to the turtles’ survival. Since 2000, EPI has been changing the educational paradigm around conservation, engaging locals hands-on in protection efforts.
Today, our original partnership with Pacuare Reserve has blossomed into the foundation of our work at our program sites across the Americas. We now manage the Reserve and our participants work directly with scientists and researchers at Pacuare to collect data on the hundreds of leatherback, green and hawksbill sea turtles that nest there each year. During nightly surveys, they also help move and protect nests and the hatchlings within. Follow up alumni mentorship activities enhance leadership skills in the next generation while building critical thinking, a personal conservation ethic, and an awareness of environmental issues facing Costa Rica’s astounding biodiversity.
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At her high school in San Lorenzo de San Marcos de Tarrazú, Costa Rica, Natalia loves studying astronomy, math, and engineering. She also wants to be as prepared as she can for the University.
Six years ago, Natalia’s older brother participated in a local EPI Sea Turtle Ecology course, and he inspired her to go and learn about leatherback sea turtles. On her own EPI course, while conducting night censuses of nesting leatherback sea turtles under a canopy of the stars, Natalia fell in love with conservation and sea turtles.
Originally published in the Galleria Patch
Houston's environment is a lot different than Costa Rica's, a fact that should give Sarah Shea lots of adventure. Shea, a teacher at The Kincaid School, was awarded a fellowship that will take her to the Central American country for eight days to take part in an ecological program.
Shea was chosen by Ecology Project International (EPI), an organization that teams scientists with students and educators for ventures in Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Galapagos, Baja Mexico, Yellowstone, Hawaii, and Belize.
"This was definitely one of the best professional development programs I have... Learn More