EcoTeach travelers now have a unique opportunity to get “in the water” and study turtles as part of a new “catch, study and release” conservation project located in Golfo Dulce, the bay separating the Osa Penisula from the mainland of Costa Rica. Participants will accompany project staff in research boats and assist in the safe capture of hawksbill and Pacific green sea turtles.
Project staff will cast nets into the water and wait for turtles to enter them. Once the turtle is in the net, volunteers will help get the turtle safely and gently into the boat so they can measure, tag and collect data. Once the studies are complete, the turtle is released back into the water. Circumstances permitting, participants may be allowed to get back in the water with the turtles. Participants can be assured they are contributing to a vital conservation effort with the turtle’s well being as the primary focus.
EcoTeach has partnered with WIDECAST, an international non-profit organization dedicated to sea turtle conservation in the Caribbean region. WIDECAST encompasses the largest coalition of sea turtle scientists and conservationists in the world and is credited with ensuring that sea turtle projects are professionally managed and protected. Little is known about the sea turtle population in this area and WIDECAST’s goal is to collect data about population structure, genetic origin, in-water habitat use and health status of the turtle population. With the help of volunteers, researchers have already collected data on 150 turtles in this region.
Travelers will stay in Playa Blanca, located in the southern Pacific province of Puntarenas, and spend two days and three nights working at the project. In addition to assisting on research boats, volunteers will work at the on-site turtle hospital, clean beaches and have time for hiking and exploring the area for macaws, monkeys, dolphins and humpback whales.
If you would like to participate in EcoTeach’s “Turtles in Water” project or would like more information about other community service projects in Costa Rica, please visit our web site at www.ecoteach.com.