Caribbean Conservation Corporation & Volvo Ocean Adventure Sponsor Sea Turtle Research Program in Costa Rica for Twelve U.S. Teachers and Students

Date: August 24, 2001
Contact: David Godfrey
Phone: (325) 373-6441

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA — Two U.S. high school teachers and ten students will travel to Tortuguero, Costa Rica, in September to help save endangered sea turtles. Stacy Gwartney, of Jacksonville, Texas, High School, and Maribel Toledo of Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami, Florida, won a competition sponsored by Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC), the world’s oldest sea turtle research and conservation organization, and Volvo Ocean Adventure (VOA), the educational component of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Ms. Gwartney, Ms. Toledo and ten students will travel to Tortuguero where they will help CCC researchers monitor sea turtle nesting and participate in the tagging and release of a sea turtle fitted with a satellite transmitter. The black sand beach of Tortuguero, located in northeast Costa Rica, is the largest remaining rookery in the world for endangered Caribbean green turtles. The transmitter-tagged turtle will be part of an online education Program that uses wildlife satellite tracking technology and a comprehensive website to teach people about sea turtles.

“My students are being given the opportunity to see that science is all around them. Science is full of creative individuals who are constantly thinking and wondering ‘what if’,” Ms. Gwartney said. “I want my students to feel this passion.”

Ms. Toledo said she is planning on using the experience to launch a sea turtle awareness campaign at her school.

The satellite tracked turtle release is part of a CCC and VOA partnership that is providing online interactive education tools to help children, students and adults learn more about the environment during the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race. The VOA is the educational outreach component of the Volvo Ocean Race, a grueling 9-month round-the-world yacht race, which begins in September and is sponsored by Volvo Car Corporation. CCC is part of the marine aspect of the VOA educational Program. During the trans-global Volvo Ocean Race, CCC will provide information about the marine habitats visited by the racing fleet.

“We are thrilled to be sponsoring this Program with Volvo,” said David Godfrey, CCC’s Executive Director. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the students joining us in Costa Rica, and the ongoing tracking Program promises to capture the interest of school kids around the world.”

CCC has been studying and protecting the sea turtles of Tortuguero, Costa Rica, for more than 40 years. Through its Sea Turtle Migration-Tracking Education Program, CCC has reached hundreds of thousands of people with information about sea turtles and the threats to their survival.

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The Sea Turtle Conservancy, formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization based in Florida with offices and projects in several other locations. The Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest and most accomplished sea turtle organization in the world. Since its founding in 1959, the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s work has greatly improved the survival outlook for several species of sea turtles. The Sea Turtle Conservancy has as its mission the protection of sea turtles and the habitats upon which they depend. To achieve its mission, the Sea Turtle Conservancy uses research, habitat protection, public education, community outreach, networking and advocacy as its basic tools. These tools are applied in both international and domestic programs focusing on geographic areas that are globally important to sea turtle survival. For more information, visit the STC website or call (800) 678-7853.