ECOLOGY PROJECT INTERNATIONAL Overview
Target demographics: High school students, ages 14-18, with special emphasis on youth from Costa Rica, Galapagos Islands, Baja California Sur, Mexico, and Montana.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,500
Someone who had 3 hours of volunteer time could: Help with an event, prepare student and course materials, office support (help with mailings, copies, data entry, and filing).
Geographic areas served: Costa Rica, Galapagos Islands, Mexico, Montana
Programs: This program site is situated near one of the world’s most important andactive nesting sites for Leatherback sea turtles. This location putsyouth at the nexus of conservation and local culture, where they will beface-to-face with the environmental, scientific and cultural forcesthat shape the region. Each night during the Leatherback nestingseason, participants accompany instructors and researchers in search ofturtles and their nests to study population trends and protect thenests from tides, poachers and other threats.
During their time in the field, participants volunteer withLatin American conservation institutions conducting vital,difference-making research. Without the work of these groups,Leatherback sea turtles might already be extinct. Students conceive,develop, analyze and present a field-based research project and attendbiology, tropical ecology, art and journaling classes. Scientists willuse this work to help improve conservation efforts for turtles.
More than half of our program participants are Costa Rican. Youth from different countries share perspectives and ideas, learn howturtles fit into Costa Rica's culture, and discover why turtles were valuedhistorically and how that’s evolving. This cultural interaction isoften among the most memorable student experiences.