Our 2015 Winterliners recently spent time learning scientific research methods from the Sea Turtle Conservancy, which has worked for the conservation of endangered sea turtles in Costa Rica since 1959. This incredible organization is certainly noteworthy! No other group has been studying and protecting sea turtles longer, and no other has achieved as much success in recovering sea turtle populations.
A little background: Tortuguero, where the Sea Turtle Conservancy is located and where our cohort will be living and working, hosts the largest green turtle (Chelonia mydas) rookery in the Western Hemisphere and as well as important nesting populations of leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles. In 1975 the Costa Rican legislature created Tortuguero National Park to protect the nesting turtles and their adjacent terrestrial habitats.
The Winterline students embarked on nightly sea turtle patrols in the soft black sand of Tortuguero beach to collect data so that the researchers can monitor the nesting trends, growth rates and reproductive success of the turtles. Working with staff over two shifts--8 pm-midnight and midnight-4 am each day--the students worked in teams of four students plus one or two researchers. The groups patrolled for turtles coming onto the beach to lay eggs, collecting data on each turtle and nest. This was a unique opportunity for the Winterline students! No one is allowed on the beach at night except these STC research teams.
The Sea Turtle Conservancy is just one of the many world-class partners that Winterline has teamed with to ensure that our students have the best possible experience in each location.
Are you interested in working with sea turtles or learning scientific data collection methods from the experts? Start your application for our 2016 program now.