Sea Turtle research and conservation
Savannah Science Museum, Inc.
The goals of the CRP are to:
1) collect data to understand reproductive biology and population trends of Georgia's loggerhead sea turtles
2) protect nests from spring tides and predators and increase the number of hatchlings reaching the water
3) educate and physically involve the public in sea turtle conservation.
- animal interaction
- community awareness
- data collection/analysis
Weekly cost (approx USD):
Direct benefits you gain:
- field research skills
- gain a qualification or credit
- remote scenic location
- hands on experience in proteceting sea turtles
Noteworthy conservation points:
- contributes to environmnetal policy
- publishes peer-reviewed science
- publishes work
Wild Sun Rescue Center
When does the project run?
early May - end of August/early September
accommodation included, food included, cooking facilities, refillable drinking water, cold shower, western toilet
Facilities are rustic-the volunteer cabin has 3 bunk beds for 6 volunteers, no electricity, cold shower, indoor toilet (comfortable mattresses). The staff cabin has limited electricity and food and cooking facilities.
How long can I stay?
1 week. Some people sign up for 2 weeks.
- 14 with an adult, 15 or older may participate solo. Ages have ranged from 14-81 yrs. old.
- Must by physically able to walk miles on the beach in case the vehicles break down.
- People need a good attitude to deal with humidity and heat and bugs with no relief, and no privacy.
Details of the day-to-day life on the project:
Island Life: Upon arriving, participants are given a brief island orientation, then are set free to explore the island or catch some sleep before dinner and setting out for the first night's sea turtle patrols. Each night, participants should be prepared to be on the beach from approximately 9pm to 6am depending on the season (see below). When turtle activity is slow, however, patrols are interspersed with much needed coffee and snack breaks.
Because most of the sea turtle research activities are conducted at night, most mornings are spent sleeping during the cooler hours of the day. We highly encourage volunteers to sleep as long as possible, but the allure of the island and the beach - and sometimes the heat of the day - make "sleeping-in" difficult for some. A typical day might entail sleeping from 6am to 1pm, grabbing a quick snack, then either walking the trails or to the beach, helping out with daytime research activities or enjoying a good book. Because sleeping schedules among crew members can be highly variable, dinner around 6-7pm is the only communal meal.
The excitement and occasional intensity of the nighttime turtle experiences are nicely balanced by the relaxed, island-life speed of the day.
Sea Turtle Research:
Nesting Season (May through July): Nights are spent patrolling seven miles of beach looking for female turtles that have emerged from the ocean to lay their eggs.
When a turtle is spotted, the team waits for the right time to begin collecting data. Participants measure the body size of the turtles and assist CRP Biologist in applying tags to each turtle. If eggs are laid in a high risk area, then participants relocate the eggs to a safer area closer to the dunes. Participants then help cover all nests with screens to protect the eggs from raccoons and foxes.
Because turtles lay their eggs at night, daytime is when the team sleeps and has free time to explore the island, relax or catch up on any reading.
Hatching Season (August through September) : At dawn and dusk every day, participants help check each nest for signs of hatching.
If lucky, participants can witness a "boil". The sand begins to churn as the hatchlings make their way to the surface, then the hatchlings emerge from the sand and begin their journey to the ocean. By escorting the hatchlings to the sea, participants help keep many predators away.
Five days after the hatchlings emerge, participants help inventory the nests. The contents are carefully excavated to determine the hatching and emergence success of each nest.
Because not all the nests hatch at once, there's usually more time during the Hatching Season to sleep during the night and enjoy daytime activities.
Reviews & ratings
5 Oct 2021
Great experience. I have learned a lot about wild animals and the bush. The kids are super. Thanks to Michele and Ian but also I would like to thanks all the volunteers and local people.
Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage
21 Mar 2020
Very Good Program
My week at Daktari was excellent and the program is very intense in the sense that we all get together with the kids and animals from 7am until 9 pm. It is an excellent choice for a first volunteering program abroad considering and I would definitely like to go back someday
Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage