You will never experience another expedition like this. You’ll receive hands on field exposure from the very first day, while interacting with the heaviest reptile on the planet that can grow in excess of 2’000lb.
Teams will assist local patrols and data collectors nightly along the 8.8km stretch of beach that the leatherback turtles nest on. Patrolling efforts are highly dependent on conditions that affect the time turtles arrive onto the beach, as such teams may be required to stay out on the beach until 3:00 am. Teams will however be able to take it slowly in the first couple days of the expedition as they adjust to the fast paced night time schedule.
During beach patrols, you’ll work in small groups to visit each nesting leatherback in your assigned survey area. You’ll measure the distance across the turtle’s shell at its widest point and record any unusual markings or injuries. If the turtle has not already been tagged, you’ll help an experienced field staffer apply tags to its flippers. You’ll also note nest positions and environmental conditions, such as weather, tide, and the number of people watching the turtles. You’ll excavate any old nests to estimate how many hatchlings they held.
Depending on when you join us in the field, your team will work more on some activities than others. Earlier teams do more beach patrols, and later in the season, as more hatchlings emerge, they do more nest excavation and hatchling surveys. All teams will likely try their hand at all activities, depending on research needs.
LOCATION (FIELD AREA)
Trinidad, about eight miles off the coast of Venezuela, is southernmost in the chain of islands that encloses the Caribbean Sea. The rural village of Matura, your destination for this volunteer programme and subsequent home of this expedition, is surrounded by thick Mora-tree forest that speaks to the meaning of its name (Matura means ‘dense forest’). This forest draws many visitors with its beautiful Waterfalls, natural pools and nature trails along with its diverse tropical wildlife. However, the Leatherback Turtle during the nesting season that spans from March 1st to August 31st is by far the area’s most popular attraction. Trinidad boasts the second largest nesting population for Leatherback turtles and is one of the most viable nesting colonies in the world.
Nature Seekers has strong roots in the Matura community and has been in Marine Turtle Conservation for over 25 years. As such, you will have the opportunity to meet and work with local community members, visit the schools, collaborate with other community stakeholders and witness local craft making.
You’ll also glimpse some of Trinidad’s rich cultural history. Its many musical traditions, notably the steel pan, began in Trinidad and form a very important part of the nation’s identity. So come be a part and ‘Experience Conservation’.
- Adult: 18 and above
- Teen: 15 to 17 years
- Minimum age of 15 years
- Passion for nature and learning
- Ability and willingness to take initiative, solve problems and multi-task effectively and with a good attitude
- Willingness to work both independently and cooperatively
- Willingness to work long hours, split shifts and untraditional work weeks
- Willingness to work outdoors under adverse conditions for up to 8 hours (humidity, rain, and heat)
Duration: 12 Days
MENTORS AND ADVISORS
- Dr. Scott A. Eckert
- Dr. Mike James
- Kyle Mitchell
- Arrival: Sundays
- Departure: Thursdays
- Lodging in the beautiful village of Matura
- Three meals a day, cooked by a lovely and personable certified food handler
- Air-conditioned personal space
- Work experience
- Scientific data collection
- Conservation educational skills
- Hands on interaction with the endangered Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) species
- Long lasting friendships
CSTN Trinidad Field Trip
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