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Turtle Island Restoration Network

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Environment, Health, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Protection of Endangered Species, Public Health

Mission: Our mission is to take swift and decisive action to protect and restore marine species and their habitats and to inspire people in communities all over the world to join us as active and vocal marine species advocates. The Sea Turtle Restoration Project (STRP), founded in 1989, TIRN''s oldest and largest project, works to protect and restore endangered sea turtle populations worldwide in ways that meet the needs of the turtles and the needs of neighboring local communities using grassroots action, multimedia campaigns, hands-on conservation, environmental education, and litigation. STRP''s sponsoring nonprofit is Turtle Island Restoration Network or TIRN.

Results: Along with other environmental groups, TIRN prevented the reopening of drift gillnet fishing into protected areas off the California and Oregon coasts. Created a new wildlife refuge for leatherback and olive ridley sea turtles in Costa Rica. Took legal action leading to a federal court ruling that banned high seas longline fishing as a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Brought legal action to successfully close 2 million square miles of ocean to Hawaii-based longline fishers. Successfully pressured Japan to end its trade in sea turtles.

Target demographics: TIRN is an international nonprofit ocean advocacy and conservation organization based in West Marin County north of San Francisco. We currently have three main projects: Sea Turtle Restoration Project (STRP), Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), and Got Mercury Campaign.

Programs: Sea Turtle Restoration Project: Through our Sustainable Fisheries Solutions Program, we are working to save the critically endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle, which is facing imminent extinction from industrial longline hooks and gillnet fishing fleets. These unsustainable fishing techniques also threaten a host of additional marine species, including Hawaiian monk seals, false killer whales, black-footed albatross, white marlin, and sharks. In Costa Rica and Nicaragua, we are training local community members to protect nesting beaches and eggs, and we are working for enforcement of existing legal protections internationally through grassroots activism and strategic litigation. In Texas, we are educating teachers, students, and the general public about the need to protect sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico, and we are advocating for a permanent Marine Reserve to protect the endangered, but recovering, Kemp's ridley sea turtle. GotMercury.Org: Through our public health campaign, we are working to alert consumers about the threats from toxic mercury contamination in swordfish, tuna, shark, and other seafood. Through strategic litigation, we have required supermarkets in California to post warning signs at points of purchase, and we have convinced major supermarket chains to post advisories nationally. We are pressuring the federal government to take stronger measures to protect the public from mercury-contaminated seafood. Our online mercury-in-seafood calculator, www.GotMercury.org, allows individuals to assess their risk, based on their own personal habitats of seafood consumption. Salmon Protection and Watershed Network: In California, we are working to protect and restore endangered coho salmon and the critical creekside habitats on which we all depend. We are rescuing baby salmon that become stranded in drying pools, while at the same time, we are building rain gardens to replenish the water table. We are restoring native, riparian vegetation to decrease runoff, sedimentation, and pollution, and we are training volunteers to assist in scientific research needed to plan recovery efforts. Our citizen-based monitoring teams are also conducting water quality tests, spawning surveys, and habitat assessments. This campaign insures a local commitment to the future health of local watersheds, through the direct involvement of community volunteers.

Community Stories

43 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great and dedicated group of people who are organized, empathetic, welcoming, smart, and fun to work with. I have volunteered with the Turtle Island Restoration Network for two years in a row and it is an experience I would recommend to anyone who loves turtles and doesn't mind giving a few hours a week to a great cause.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for this organization for several years and I am so impressed with their professionalism and dedication to the turtles. I thoroughly enjoy the patrols on the beach and interacting with the civilians and educating them about the turtles and other marine life. All of this information has been taught to us by the staff and they are always there if we have any questions anytime. Kudos to all of them for their tireless work and dedication. Kathi Richardson

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chance to save endangered species and get in at the grass roots of the operation. Also a chance to take on some responsibility and do your bit while walking the beach and picking up trash - not the most glamorous activity but while doing the turtle patrols it gives you a chance to kill two birds with one stone.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Turtle Island Restoration Network did a fantastic job coordinating the turtle patrols in the Galveston area thus year. Joanie was tireless in her support for the program and Theresa was a cheerful voice every morning at patrol check-in and check-out. The program was a success due to their efforts. Well done, TIRN!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Turtle Island Restoration was an amazing, rewarding experience. Joanie & her staff are pasionately dedicated and communicate with volunteers like a finely run business. They are professional & supports us as we are on patrol. It was so rewarding, I will do every year!!

Carole A.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Turtle Island Restoration Network has earned a reputation of working hard to make the best use of every penny it received in donations. I have worked for them so I have been able to see how they do their best to develop strategies that will help sea turtles. The Executive Director is not afraid to tackle politicians who think he can be scared off. I have always admire that!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What an amazing group of people. The dedication they have is unreal. I only wish I could give 10 stars. I was honored to be part of the turtle patrol this last season and I am looking forward to next year and hopefully many many more.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a very dedicated group working hard to help restore the endangered Ridley's turtle by organizing daily beach walking and UTV riding to search for signs of endangered sea turtle nests on the upper Gulf coast. Once found, experts from the university are summoned to extract the eggs for incubation in a controlled environment to enhance the survival of the baby turtles, which are then released to the Gulf after hatching. The efforts of the volunteer group improves the survival of these at-risk species by at least 20%, allowing the numbers to increase more quickly over the past few decades. The dedicated leaders have rallied hundreds of volunteers every year to provide the search teams to patrol the beaches daily from April through mid-June. They are really making a difference!

Mark G.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

All individuals I dealt with by phone or in person were very helpful and knowledgeable about all aspects of sea life. I am new to the turtle patrol and had lots of questions about not just the turtles but if I saw something unusual that I had never seen before all I had to do is send a text message with a picture and Teresa answered my question. This is a very responsive and knowledgeable group and I will continue to be part of it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a first time volunteer, I found the training excellent. Throughout the season, the staff was in constant contact with the volunteers, supporting our efforts, encouraging us to help educate visitors to the beach, advocating for nature's beach life, and documenting anything that needed attention. The dedication of the staff to not just administrate, but be working participants was inspiring. We were so happy to be a part of this group and look forward to the coming seasons for as long as we are able.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer in the summer of 2017 to scout the beaches for endangered turtles, their nests or their hatchlings. This was not only amazing for the soul as I walked several miles at sunrise along the gulf, it was IMPORTANT as I was helping to save some of the most endangered creatures on earth!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Turtle Island uses their resources wisely and doesn't waste time or money.

Karen S.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Turtle Island Restoration is a wonderful organization.
I was privileged to start walking a turtle patrol this year on Galveston Island. What a blessing!
The team of trainers, coaches, turtle employees, etc. are amazing.
Training was enlightening and encouraging and the patrols enhanced my whole life.
Learning about the turtles and how to help them was the culmination of years of loving sea turtles. I went several times as a youth to the NOAA turtle rehab center in Galveston and was hooked on turtles since. Hearing about turtles returning that were reverse shell tagged was really neat as I saw those turtles as babies.
I got 2 friends from my church to walk as well (one was trained and one joined later with her paperwork). We enjoyed every walk even when it was raining or scorching hot.
Although all my "team" found was one half of a turtle that had washed up, we are excited to get started again next year. And we have recruited several more people to get trained and be part of patrols.
GO TURTLES!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have volunteered for two years with the Turtle Patrol. It is well organized and the training is good.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Joanie & Theresa are wonderful people to work with. They are both caring & compassionate ladies. I enjoyed this experience & the hard work they put into this program makes it even more enjoyable. It is very organized which makes all the difference! Kudos to them & all the hard work that they do!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Turtle Island Restoration Network is filled with folks who are passionate about saving turtles (and wildlife in general) and preserving our coast. It is a well-run organization that I am proud to be a part of.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The crew at Turtle Island Restoration Network is very accessible, and does a great job!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Turtle Island is always keeping me updated on important issues impacting sea turtles around the world. Through regulating shrimp fisheries to increasing international cites protections, Todd and the Turtle Island team have been critical ocean defenders for multiple decades. I can't wait until we end that dirty drift gill net fishery in San Diego, that will be one worth celebrating.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

No greater satisfaction than helping the wildlife threatened with extinction especially those found in the sea. The beauty, peace and tranquility of a sunrise over the gulf is without equal.

Tiffany Pixie D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Turtle Island Restoration Network is an amazing non-profit working in ocean and environmental conservation and advocacy. Most recently, they're working on a statewide swordfish boycott to stop the use of deadly driftnets in the swordfish fishery right off California's coast. Historically, they've brought light to so many critical environmental (and social, health, etc.) issues that go unnoticed but that warrant our public attention. The most notable would be the "Got Mercury?" campaign. They put their actions where their hearts are, and aren't afraid to take a stand for what's right.