Sea Turtle research and conservation

Project name:

Savannah Science Museum, Inc.

Project purpose:

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.

Project activities:

  • animal interaction
  • community awareness
  • data collection/analysis
  • teaching

Marine

United States

North America

Forest
1 Ratings

1

Weekly cost (approx USD):

$

825

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

Accommodation:

Rustic cabin

When does the project run?

early May - end of August/early September

Facilities:

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.

Requirements:

  • 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

Francisco

Volunteer

19 Dec 2021

An amazing project with amazing staff

I work as a travel agent, bringing volunteers to DAKTARI and other projects around the world. After helping a lot of volunteers fulfill their dreams of coming to South Africa, I managed to arrange 2 weeks to spend at the project. What a wonderful time I had starting with the staff who are so friendly and polite, the animals being taken care of as if they were family and the amazing food that was prepared catering to each of the volunteers individual needs. I can only say that if you are looking for an unique and quality experience involving a well thought out educational program and the preservation of native animal species, this is the one for you.

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Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

leslie

Volunteer

19 Dec 2021

great experience

i had an enjoyable stay here in DAKTARI. be surrounded by wild animals is a chance and i also loved the teaching part of my stay

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Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

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