Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education

by Corcovado Foundation
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Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education
Sea Turtle Conservation & Environmental Education

The rainy season is the turtle season!

Did you know that some parts of Costa Rica receive around 6 meters (20 feet) of rain every year!? Right now, we’re in the middle of the rainy season and there are daily storms and floods that make our job a little complicated from time to time. Like we say here, every day is an adventure!

But with the rains come the sea turtles, and the courageous volunteers from around the world who give up their time and brave the storms to help us save the turtles.

At our project in Punta Mala – Playa Hermosa, our team of biologists has welcomed 25 volunteers so far this season, and together they’ve protected over 100 Olive Ridley sea turtle nests from the threat of predation, erosion, and poaching. In order to provide a clean and secure place to incubate threatened nests, the team spent 29 days back-to-back digging and filtering the sand to build a new hatchery site, with space for up to 276 nests. They have patrolled the beach every night and walked hundreds of kilometers in the pitch dark looking for turtles, tracks, and nests. They’ve even rescued two adult turtles that had become trapped in rocky pools after the tide had gone out!

Thanks to the efforts of the volunteers, these Olive Ridley sea turtles have been given a safe haven to come and nest, and 200 baby turtles have already been safely chaperoned into the sea. But none of this is possible without the support of donors like you.

Please consider making a donation to our sea turtle program, as we urgently need to secure food, fuel, and equipment to be able to continue protecting sea turtles during the harshest months of the 2021 rainy season. Many thanks!

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Volunteers and families working on reg agriculture
Volunteers and families working on reg agriculture

Your friendship and your support of our organization have been instrumental to the success of our projects.

Thanks to you, we have provided health services, monthly food to 50 senior citizens in extremely poor conditions and even taking them to the clinic.   

Thanks to you, we have provided training, equipment, seeds, and materials to 53 families who are now implementing regenerative agriculture and abstaining from using agrochemicals and protecting the soil. Together they are protecting 210 acres of land.

Thanks to you, we have provided environmental education to over 4500 students since 2003. We have maintained our youth groups for 18 years, which have brought up exemplary community leaders who are now changing their communities for the better. 

Take a look at our video to hear their testimonies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6ZbEsujKhY&t=169s

Thanks to you, we have helped 4 communities start their sea turtle projects, and while under our control, we have protected over 9649 nests, we have released 90238 to the sea, and around 641,040.00 potentially hatched unharmed thanks to our efforts. Take a look at our video of what our sea turtle project does:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_xlKEsnBEI&t=2s.

Your support and your friendship have blessed us, and I want to take a minute to thank you for all you do for us. 

We have big plans for this year! We will be planting 1000 trees by the end of 2021 and 5000 more by 2023. We will double to amount of families that participate in our regenerative agriculture program, and we will continue bringing food and environmental education to our communities. With your support, we are unstoppable.

Thank you so much!

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It's that time of the year when the Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) comes back to our shores in Costa Rica. And our team is getting ready to welcome them and protect them when they get here. Like their journey, full of adventures and unforeseen challenges, our project planning has been full of challenges!  

With the COVID 19 still not under control worldwide, we are still hoping to receive very needed volunteers like in previous years. Volunteers are essential for our work; they help us patrol the beaches, collect data, relocate nests, babysit relocated nests, and free baby turtles once they are born. Personally, that is my favorite part of it; seeing those young hatchlings and their will to make it to the ocean and how they fight the waves to make it through is so amazing! Although, meeting the moms is also very touching. These ladies are literally one in a thousand that made it. In normal conditions and due to human strains, only 1 in a 1000 sea turtles makes it to reproductive age. So, talk about meeting a real champion! These mothers who finally make it to the beach arrive hoping to find the conditions they need to lay their eggs.

Unfortunately, due to climate change, the beach-nesting area has been dramatically reduced, and the nests are threatened by overpopulated natural predators, dogs, and egg poachers. Last year, with Costa Rica having its borders closed, we could only rely on local volunteers.  Local volunteers are amazing people who put their heart and blood into protecting their heritage, but most of them were unemployed, and they couldn't afford to pay for their food or insurance. So your donations and your support were a tremendous help to maintain our efforts.  

Our partners from Rascarey have already built the nursery in playa Rincon and have started patrolling the beach. Last week, Rob, our biologist, trained the volunteers there at the Rascarey Station. The sea turtle conservation program in Playa Hermosa-Punta Mala Biological Station will be launching on July 01st. 

We will keep you posted! Thank you so much for your support!!   

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Albert Schweitzer said “At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” –

You have been by our side supporting us with your financial contributions and your kind words since the beginning of the pandemic! And thanks to you we have been able to bring food to 50 families/individuals in 11 occasions, we have been able to help 25 families produce their own organic food, promoting food independence, we protected and liberated over 76,000 sea turtle hatchlings and so much more. All thanks you!

This Little By Little Campaign we raised $3745 USD for the COVID relief for the Elderly and $670 for environmental education and people are still donating.

The work of a nonprofit, especially a small one like ours is hard, we often find so much need in our communities and in our ecosystems. Our team, who many joined us volunteers cares passionately for our causes and the people we serve. I often get a plead here or there from one of them saying, this old man needs to be taken to the clinic, and he has nobody to do it for him; this family is hungry, the sea turtle population in this beach is being depleted by poachers and so much more.

With the pandemic, we have faced hard choices and hard times, harder times than ever, more pressure, more people in need, more pressure on wildlife than ever before and then it was the fact that they stole our only vehicle after we had put $7000 USD in repairs. Yet never have we experience such demonstrations of support and appreciation.  

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Because in this time of the pandemic, when there has been so much uncertainty and despair, you have been there for us shining bright.  May you and your loved ones receive your kindness tenfold.

What we need in these times is more people like you bringing light to those in need, in need of a smile, a hand, a kind gesture.

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Volunteers at the Punta Mala Project
Volunteers at the Punta Mala Project

Merry Christmas, and may 2021 bring all families in the world the peace, health, and prosperity we all long! This report is long because, although this year was challenging, we moved every program forward.   With your help, we were able to accomplish more, serve more people, and be more impactful.

What a year this has been!

This year started with many changes; Steven stepped down as president of the foundation after more than two decades of leading it. As long-time members of the organization, Steven invited Jim and me to step on the board. I have served as president of this organization during these challenging times that have hit the world hard.

In mid-February, all the plans for the beginning of the year started to crumble, and in mid-March, everything changed. We had to suspend all in-person training and educational activities planned for the following months. Community park ranger workshops, consultant visits to community-based tourism projects, and meetings of environmental education groups were suspended.

To serve those that need us the most!

We quickly regrouped and committed to staying positive, proactive, and supportive. We soon understood that our duty was to assist the communities we serve, which are highly vulnerable to tourism closure in the area. In Bahia Drake, at least 85% of the people survive directly or indirectly from tourism, mainly international. We decided to readjust and rethink ourselves so that we could help the communities, our members. We started to rethink how to use our platforms and networks to support those who need us the most. To do this, we started using our media to raise funds and buy food and cleaning supplies for the elderly population and the most impoverished families of Bahia Drake. At this point, we have raised USD 14,000, and we have delivered 450 food packages to 50 older adults and families living in poverty since the end of March.

Regenerative agriculture

We have managed to refocus some of the funds approved for activities such as workshops and field trips, which given the pandemic, will not happen, and we have used them to promote regenerative agriculture in the communities. Regenerative agriculture will help us promote food independence and, at the same time, encourage practices that allow soil restoration. The idea is to help communities plant their gardens in their homes or farms in a regenerative way to guarantee their sustainability and productivity. With the pandemic's arrival, we realized regenerative agriculture could help local families alleviate the family's economic situation, reduce the pressure on natural resources, and reduce the hunting of wild animals. Thanks to that, 24 families have completed their regenerative agriculture training after receiving five theoretical workshops and three practical visits. They have learned about soils, preparation of cultivation beds, organic fertilizers and repellants, extraction and conservation of seeds, and seedlings preparation. They have also received all the materials and supplies needed to produce their crops.

Virtual environmental education

Regarding our environmental education program, we have also reinvented ourselves. Our environmental educator has been creating videos for children, challenging them to practice, research, or do an environmental educational activity from home. They send us back their photos and videos doing it, thereby keeping the children at home interested, active, and motivated. For the longest time, our environmental education activities were the only extracurricular activities these kids had. Then once the schools closed due to the COVID19, our activities were the only educational activities available. We delivered fruit trees, endangered trees, and educational supplies to each kid in the groups. More than 40 kids in the communities received watercolors, markers, cardboard, pencils, among other things. This material will help the kids participate in the remote challenges from the safety of their homes. We have carried out more than seventeen environmental challenges, in which up to 27 children have participated per session.  

Sea turtle conservation

This year, we did not have international volunteers. This was a challenge because we have been able to maintain the program through the support of volunteers who come to work on the beach and pay for their food, accommodation, and part of the cost of the project. However, instead of reducing our sea turtle project's impact and scope, we have expanded it and double its efforts. We are now working in two beaches: Punta Mala-Playa Hermosa on the Central Pacific and Rincón near Corcovado National Park.

We moved our sea turtle conservation program in Playa Rincón to Esteban's property. This local young man has spent several years working in turtle conservation and owns a beachfront property in the Rincon area. The results there have been excellent. We have been providing Esteban with the funds for his salary and to purchase food for his volunteers. He has managed to lead a group of local kids that have been very committed and successful at protecting the sea turtles. They had 17 volunteers and 102 nesting activities, of which 92 nests were relocated to the nursery and 7 nests were poached. 3800 baby turtles were released, which means a 95.1% hatching success.

In Punta Mala, we have had a team of 3 members, who with the support of 26 volunteers, mostly Costa Ricans, managed to take care of 924 nesting activities, including 490 nests that remained on the beach and were not depredated, 224 nests relocated in the nursery, 121 nests lost to predators, and 12 poached nests. This beach is crucial because of the massive amount of nesting, the pressure from predators and poachers, the eroded beaches, and other natural and human impacts on the sea turtle nesting activity.  

Other community accomplishments!

  • Seventy community park rangers trained and equipped to support the Corcovado, Piedras Blancas, Marino Ballena national parks, and Golfo Dulce Forestry Reserve.
  • Eleven people from the La Amistad-Talamanca communities trained to obtain their official guide certification, which meant an investment of $2000.00 per guide.
  • Eight grassroots organizations in the La Amistad-Talamanca region strengthened with technical support to improve their sustainability.
  • Together with Terri and Gary, we are organizing a castration event for 40 dogs on Dec. 13.
  • Thanks to a donation of 6000 kg of dog food from the Humane Society, we have provided 96 dogs in Los Planes and 67 dogs in Los Angeles with food, reducing predatory pressure on the environment.  300 more dogs will receive support soon.

After 10 years of waiting, and thanks to the leadership of our very own Mayra and our lawyer Estela, the Ministry of Education approved the land's purchase to build a proper high school for Drake Bay.

It has not been an easy year, but we have adapted and reinvented ourselves. We have been at the forefront of a series of initiatives, being among the first to move from doing face-to-face activities to online workshops, virtual environmental education activities, and fundraising to feed the most vulnerable. We are very grateful for your support. Everything we have achieved is thanks to you, who supported us and trusted us.

The seaturtle nursery
The seaturtle nursery
Regenerative agriculture 2
Regenerative agriculture 2
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Organization Information

Corcovado Foundation

Location: Moravia,, San Jose - Costa Rica
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Alejandra Foundation
Moravia,, San Jose Costa Rica
$34,556 raised of $45,000 goal
 
503 donations
$10,444 to go
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