Nature is where my heart is. I’ve been a wildlife lover since I saw my first butterfly fluttering above a dandelion. The movement of the wings, the way it flitted from one side of the flower to the other, and then the way it rested, folding its wings to sit perched atop a blade of grass… I was captivated by how unique and special it was, how beautiful and free and unlike me. And yet, it was alive! There are so many creatures in our world, of all shapes and sizes. Over millions of years they have evolved to perfectly inhabit their environments—from grassy hills to the treetops, from the driest desert to the deep sea. Today, all of our world’s creatures are in danger and the danger comes from all sides: pollution, over-fishing, development, deforestation, poaching, and climate change.
But there is hope. Volunteer organizations around the planet are working to save our endangered animals. One of these organizations is the cleverly named SEE Turtles, a conservation tourism project that “links people with turtle sites in ways that directly support protection efforts, while increasing resources in communities to help residents thrive and value sea turtles in their environment.” They offer sightseeing trips for tourists who want to see the turtles and learn about conservation, but also offer volunteering opportunities for travelers who want to work to help protect the animals.
Volunteering with SEE Turtles means traveling to one of their sites. They have ongoing projects in Costa Rica, Baja, and Trinidad. They work with all six of the endangered sea turtle species (there are only seven species of sea turtles in the world.) Volunteers work on nesting beaches to help find adult female turtles, collect data, and protect nests. During hatching season, volunteers help release baby sea turtles into the ocean.
SEE Turtles is a non-profit project. Unlike many voluntour outfits, they are entirely focused on the work, which means they are often operating on a very small budget. Volunteer fees go directly into the program. The cost per day is low and includes all meals. For the budget-conscious volunteer, this is a great opportunity to work directly with animals at minimal expense.
SEE Turtles welcomes volunteers of all backgrounds provided you are moderately physically fit. For those with a background in biology, they offer free research assistant positions.