For the past ten years, EPI Mexico alumni have been a driving force in protecting the sea turtle populations that call Baja's beaches and waters home. The area is home to five of the world's seven sea turtle species, all of which are endangered, making this conservation work a dire necessity.
From inspiration to action
The Californios Verdes Eco Club, which has engaged more than 900 community members since its beginning, came from
humble yet passionate beginnings back in 2011. Inspired by their transformative experiences during an EPI Baja Island Ecology course, a group of La Paz students approached EPI staff with a desire to channel their newfound knowledge and enthusiasm into tangible
conservation efforts, as well as get involved
with existing community projects.
Eager to fulfill their aspirations, EPI staff worked closely with the club's leaders to explore ideas and collaborations. One such effort led to a partnership with ASUPMATOMA, an organization that focuses on the protection, conservation, and investigation of marine turtles with an emphasis on community outreach. Since then, the Eco Club has collaborated over the years with two additional turtle conservation organizations in Baja California Sur: Grupo Tortuguero de Pescadero and Grupo Tortuguero de Las Californias.
Hands-on sea turtle conservation
Among their numerous community projects, youth in the Eco Club work to safeguard the five turtle species that inhabit their local shores: leatherback, olive ridley, and green sea turtles, which nest on Baja's beaches, and the hawksbill and loggerhead tu
rtles, which frequent the deeper waters for feeding. Club members do bibliographic research about the turtle species, learn about their life cycles and challenges, participate in lessons about ecology and sustainability, and talk with scientists about turtle conservation.
During nesting season, the club members put their knowledge and learning into practice as they actively monitor sea turtle nests under the guidance of EPI instructors and local scientists.
Adriana Martinez, EPI Mexico Program Coordinator, explains, "During the day, they focus on nest protection and cleansing, and at night, they search for nests and observe females as they lay their eggs. If the nesting site is deemed unsafe, the eggs are collected and relocated to a protected "corral." If the site is secure, a marker is left, and the nest is monitored daily. At sunrise and sunset, the group releases the baby turtles into the ocean."
What started as a passionate endeavor by the club has now evolved into a core EPI course offered to local public high schools. Californios Verdes members play a crucial role in facilitating activities for the course participants and enhancing their leadership skills under the guidance and support of experienced EPI instructors. At the culmination of the course, participants are invited to join the Eco Club, fostering a culture of youth-driven conservation that continuously empowers generations to join the mission of safeguarding Baja's sea turtles.
Learn more about EPI Mexico and the alumni eco club:
Learn more about EPI's sea turtle work in Costa Rica: