Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is hoping all of its supporters will participate in this year’s Giving Tuesday Campaign, which seeks to raise funds for the critical in-water work we are doing studying juvenile green turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. Though not as well-known as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, which occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (December 1 this year), is one day when everyone can join together to make a huge difference.
For Giving Tuesday last year, STC supporters raised $50,000 for STC’s research and conservation programs in Panama. STC has set its sights even higher this year, and we are confident we can reach our goal of $54,000 thanks to generous pledges from STC’s Board of Directors to match up to $27,000 for every dollar donated.
Work on STC’s In-Water Research Project in Florida forged ahead over the last eight months despite unexpected delays and changes in protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, led by STC Biologist Rick Herren in collaboration with Dr. Ray Carthy at University of Florida’s (UF) USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, recently surpassed 100 green turtle captures in the Big Bend region of Florida. The overall goals are to understand the distribution, health, threats and demographic trends of the sea turtles found in this important foraging habitat and to promote their conservation in the Gulf of Mexico.
With STC’s research vessel (R/V) Lavinia, crewed by a small number of STC staff and UF undergraduate students, the team has been capturing juvenile green sea turtles in a handful of “hotspots” along the Big Bend coastline and studying their movement patterns. Blood samples have been collected from green turtles to determine their sex through hormone analysis and determine their nesting beach origin through genetics. While the results still are coming in, the data provide an important baseline because the sex ratios of turtles found in this area may become skewed toward females as our climate continues to warm. Additionally, the nesting beach origin of juveniles observed along Florida’s Gulf coast might be subject to change as nesting rookeries increase or decrease in abundance. Through turtle captures, we observed that 60% to 70% of the juvenile green turtles in this region show signs of the tumor-causing disease fibropapillomatosis (FP). Through this research, we are documenting important population characteristics of juvenile turtles decades before they are expected to reach maturity and begin nesting.
STC is also using satellite telemetry to track the seasonal movements of juvenile green turtles in the Big Bend thanks in part to funding from the Sea Turtle Grants Program (funded by sales of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate). Last fall, we conducted a pilot study and placed transmitters on six juvenile green turtles at two study sites. Five of the six turtles transmitted locational data into the spring, which provided strong evidence of overwintering behavior. This fall the team is putting out another 17 transmitters, including 10 GPS transmitters, which have a much higher accuracy to better define their home range and overwintering locations. The STC/UF In-water team has been on the water for just over two years now and remains excited about the work we are doing in this important developmental habitat.
STC is deeply appreciative of all the support received from various corporate and private donors for the project. Our current project needs include a dedicated project truck for towing our boat to and from various research sites, which will have the added benefit of allowing STC to respond quickly to turtle stranding events, such as cold stuns. We are hopeful that STC’s members will support the program this Giving Tuesday, when all donations will be matched 1:1 by the STC Board of Directors. With your support, STC will continue filling gaps in our knowledge about the sea turtle populations found in this important region, and we will apply that knowledge to effective conservation action.
Help support STC’s In-Water Project by donating to the cause in one of four ways:
1. Online at conserveturtles.org/GivingTuesday or facebook.com/conserveturtles
2. Call 352-373-6441 with your credit card info
3. Mail a check with “Giving Tuesday” in the subject line. All checks received with “Giving Tuesday” in the subject line will count towards the campaign, even if received after December 1.
Can we count you in for Giving Tuesday?
Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) recently kicked off its 13th annual Tour de Turtles migration marathon! The Tour de Turtles is a fun, educational journey that follows the migration of sea turtles from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds. Through the use of satellite telemetry, STC will track 15 sea turtles, including leatherbacks, loggerheads, greens and one hybrid green/hawksbill, to determine how far they swim. The one to swim the furthest distance by October 31 “wins.”
Each turtle is also swimming to raise awareness about the threats sea turtles face. These threats include light pollution, beach erosion, marine debris, oil spills, commercial fisheries, illegal hunting, invasive species predation, climate change and more. The data collected during the Tour de Turtles helps researchers, conservationists and governing agencies make more informed decisions about sea turtle conservation methods and policies. Since the launch of the Tour de Turtles in 2008, STC has tracked more than 200 turtles.
This year’s Tour de Turtles is special for several reasons… For the first time ever, it is comprised entirely of turtles from Florida. This is also the first time STC has tracked leatherbacks from Florida, thanks to a partnership with Florida Leatherbacks, Inc. Typically the organization travels to Panama, Costa Rica, Cuba, Nevis and other international sites to satellite tag turtles but was limited to Florida due to COVID-19.
You can support the turtles by “adopting” them or sharing on social media to help raise awareness! Learn more about the turtles and follow their migrations at www.tourdeturtles.org. You can also purchase a Tour de Turtles 2020 t-shirt by clicking here or below!
Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is proud to announce another top rating from Charity Navigator, the leading evaluator of non-profit groups in the United States. STC received 4 out of 4 stars for the 13th year, indicating that our organization adheres to good governance and other practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes our mission in a fiscally responsible way.
“The Board and staff of Sea Turtle Conservancy take great pride in our consistent high ratings from Charity Navigator,” said David Godfrey, STC Executive Director, “and it gives our donors confidence that their contributions are being managed wisely to the maximum benefit of sea turtles.”
According to Charity Navigator, a 4 star rating is an ‘exceptional’ designation, and differentiates Sea Turtle Conservancy from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust. STC spends almost 90 cents of every dollar donated directly on research, conservation and education programs. STC’s commitment to transparency, good governance and fiscal responsibility ensures that donations are used in an efficient manner to support conservation programs.
“We are proud to announce Sea Turtle Conservancy has earned our fourth consecutive 4-star rating,” says Michael Thatcher, President and CEO of Charity Navigator. “This is our highest possible rating and indicates that your organization adheres to sector best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way. Attaining a 4-star rating verifies that Sea Turtle Conservancy exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in your area of work. Only 20% of the charities we evaluate have received at least 4 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Sea Turtle Conservancy outperforms most other charities in America. This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets Sea Turtle Conservancy apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness.”
STC’s rating and other information about charitable giving are available free of charge on Charity Navigator’s website here.
Station Manager of the Tortuguero Biological Field Station (Costa Rica) for Sea Turtle Conservancy
Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) announces an opening for Station Manager of its Biological Field Station at Tortuguero, Costa Rica. STC’s Tortuguero Biological Field Station is home of the longest-continuous sea turtle research and protection program in the world. Spanning 55 years, the program at Tortuguero is monitoring and protecting one of the largest green turtle rookeries in the world; providing intense field research training to young biologists; and is a global model for volunteer eco-tourism. For information and images of the station and the work taking place there, see https://conserveturtles.org/////tortuguero-sea-turtle-experiences-slideshow/ or visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy Tortuguero Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/conserveturtlestortuguero/
The Station Manager will oversee the year-round operation and maintenance of this remote research station. The Station Manager will supervise a staff of 6-8 permanent employees who carry out activities ranging from physical maintenance, boat operations, cooking, security, grounds keeping and Visitor Center operations, and custodial services. It is the Station Manager’s responsibility to ensure that the Station, grounds and equipment are maintained in good working order and that all scheduled repairs, cleaning and upkeep are carried out. The Station Manager also will be one of STC’s chief liaisons with the community of Tortuguero, Tortuguero National Park staff, government officials, visiting scientists, volunteers and local businesses. This position will not specifically include scientific responsibilities, though the Station Manager is encouraged to assist with research, education and community outreach projects when feasible.
The Station Manager will be provided full room and board at the STC station, along with a modest salary enabling one to live comfortably in the unique and beautiful setting of Tortuguero, Costa Rica. This is a permanent, full-time position, and STC is looking for someone ready to make a long-term commitment to running its Biological Field Station.
PAY AND HIRING TIMELINE:
Applications are being accepted now, with the goal of filling the position by the end of February 2020 in order to overlap with the departing Station Manager. This full-time position to be based in Tortuguero includes a compensation package consisting of free lodging, full meals while at the station and a starting salary of $20,000 US.
HOW TO APPLY:
Submit cover letter, resume, and references via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Prefer to receive in English.
This job description is available in English and Spanish. Click here for Spanish version.
Visitor Center Coordinator at the Tortuguero Biological Field Station (Costa Rica) for Sea Turtle Conservancy
Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) announces an opening for Visitor Center Coordinator at its Biological Field Station at Tortuguero, Costa Rica. STC’s Tortuguero Biological Field Station is home of the longest-continuous sea turtle research and protection program in the world. Spanning 55 years, the program at Tortuguero is monitoring and protecting one of the largest green turtle rookeries in the world; providing intense field research training to young biologists; and is a global model for volunteer eco-tourism.
STC’s Visitor Center (VC) is open daily to provide interpretive exhibits, video presentations and one-on-one information sharing about STC’s work with visiting tourists and local residents. The VC also includes a small store that sells sea turtle and conservation-themed merchandise to support STC’s work.
The VC Coordinator will staff and oversee the daily operation of the VC and associated store. The Coordinator is an important public liaison for STC in Tortuguero – often hosting as many as several hundred visitors per day. The job requires an outgoing, bi-lingual individual who is both knowledgeable and passionate about STC’s work in Tortuguero. Through the operation of the store and management of entrance fees, the VC Coordinator will be required to manage and track money, complete retail sales, manage inventory, run video presentations, answer questions from the public and generally present a positive face for STC in Tortuguero. This position will not specifically include scientific responsibilities, though the VC Coordinator is encouraged to occasionally participate in nightly sea turtle research and community outreach projects when feasible.
The VC Coordinator will be provided full room and board at the STC station, along with a modest salary enabling one to live comfortably in the unique and beautiful setting of Tortuguero, Costa Rica. This is a permanent, full-time position.
PAY AND HIRING TIMELINE:
Applications are being accepted now, with the goal of filling the position by the end of January 2020 to overlap with the current Visitor Center Coordinator. This full-time position to be based in Tortuguero includes a compensation package consisting of free lodging, full meals while at the station and starting pay of $900 per month.
HOW TO APPLY:
Submit cover letter, resume, and references via e-mail to: email@example.com. Prefer to receive in English.
On December 3, Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is participating in our 7th annual Giving Tuesday to raise $50,000 for our Research Station in Soropta Beach, Panama! STC is hoping all of its members and supporters will participate in this year’s Giving Tuesday Campaign, which seeks to raise matching funds for the critical work we are doing at Soropta Beach to protect and recover leatherback sea turtles. Giving Tuesday, which occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is to remind people to take a moment to contribute to non-profit organizations in their communities and around the world.
For Giving Tuesday last year, STC supporters helped generate over $40,000 to support STC’s in-water research program benefiting juvenile turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. The year before (2017), our supporters raised nearly $20,000 for the Tour de Turtles education program. STC has set its sights even higher this year, and we are confident we can reach the goal of $50,000 thanks to generous pledges from STC’s Board of Directors to match up to $25,000 for every dollar donated by STC’s members and supporters.
STC asks for your help to support one of our most urgent conservation programs. Every bit of the funding raised during the 2019 Giving Tuesday Campaign will support leatherback monitoring and protection efforts at a critical nesting site for this species at Soropta Beach, Panama. Soropta is a remote, 8 km black-sand beach that sees between 500 and 800 leatherback nests each season – making it an important part of the 4th largest nesting colony for this species in the world. Unfortunately, the area’s remoteness makes Soropta highly vulnerable to illegal hunting. STC’s presence on this beach since 2013 has helped curb illegal harvesting, but it’s still an ongoing problem.
By raising up to $50K to support this project, STC will be able to secure additional beach monitors and also make needed improvements to the station used by STC’s staff and volunteers. Our modest dormitories, kitchen and dining hall need repairs, as nature has taken its toll on the old wooden station inherited by STC. In addition, a small dock leading from the river behind our station (the only way to travel to and from Soropta), is in disrepair and must be extended to higher elevation so it’s not underwater during the rainy season.
STC’s Soropta station houses staff and volunteer Research Assistants, who stay during nesting season to monitor and protect the turtles and their nests. Starting last year, STC also began accepting paying eco-volunteers who participate in one- or two-week programs, revenues from which help support STC’s work in Soropta. In order to sustain our presence at Soropta and provide a safe and secure base for staff and volunteers, we need to invest in station maintenance and upgrades. By raising $50K for Giving Tuesday, STC can make all the necessary repairs and also provide needed funds for research supplies, food and fuel for the program.
Help STC support our leatherback research and conservation program in Panama by donating to the cause in one of four ways:
Single-use plastics pose a threat to all marine life, but especially to sea turtles. Researchers from the University of Exeter recently found single use plastics and fibers in the gut of all 102 sea turtles they sampled in 2018. Without a major global effort to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
After a video of a sea turtle with a straw in its nose went viral in 2015, a global plastic-free movement has been gaining momentum. Corporations such as Starbucks, McDonald’s, Delta Airlines, and Marriott recently announced changes to their plastic policies to protect marine life. In Florida, Sea Turtle Conservancy works with coastal restaurants to change their straw policies and to empower their guests to make conservation-minded decisions. Local governments in Florida are also introducing restrictions on plastic bags and single-use cutlery.
This effort may be in jeopardy. Florida Senator Hutson filed a bill in January, Senate Bill 588, which seeks to stop local governments from passing laws to reduce plastic consumption in their communities. In particular, the bill will invalidate all existing straw bans in Florida and will prevent local governments from banning straws in the future. This bill, disguised as an effort to reduce plastic consumption, will freeze the efforts of local governments to make decisions about their own neighborhoods. You can read the bill in full by clicking here. Check out this recent article from the Tampa Bay Times for more on the issue.
Sea Turtle Conservancy does NOT support SB-588 because we SUPPORT bans of plastic bags, cutlery, Styrofoam and straws to reduce potential harm of sea turtles by marine debris. Sea Turtle Conservancy does support House Bill 6033, filed by Representative Grieco and co-sponsored by Representative Eskamani, which proposes to restore the ability for local governments to ban plastic bags.
We need your help! On Monday, March 4 at 1 p.m., members of the Florida Senate’s Commerce and Tourism committee will vote on Senate Bill 588. Please let committee members know your feelings about this bill by emailing or calling them using the contact information below.
Personalized comments are the most effective, especially if any of these committee members are in your district in Florida. Here is a short example of what you can say:
“My name is _____ and I ask that you vote “No” on Senate Bill 588. I oppose Senate Bill 588 because plastic debris kills wildlife every year, including endangered sea turtles. Straw bans are an effective way to reduce plastic consumption and protect marine life from possible plastic ingestion. There is a global movement to reduce plastic use at the local, state and federal level. Senate Bill 588 will freeze that progress and prevent local governments from making decisions that impact their own communities.”
Senator Travis Hutson (bill sponsor)
Senator Victor Torres
Senator Joe Gruters
Senator Linda Stewart
Senator Tom Wright
**This workshop is not open to SERSTM registrants, only members of the general public.**
Join us for a special free workshop that’s open solely to the general public! It will engage citizens and share with them ideas on how they can become active participants in sea turtle conservation. They will listen to speakers from several organizations and learn ways to lend a hand and have a voice. Participants will be provided educational materials and swag bags. This workshop will be run from 9 am – 12 noon on Tuesday, February 13, 2018. For more information or to RSVP for this free workshop, please contact Rebecca Mott at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out the official SERSTM WORKSHOP FLYER.
Marine Debris (Ocean Conservancy)- how to track trash on the mobile app
Turtle-friendly Lighting (Sea Turtle Conservancy)- how to create turtle-friendly lighting for your home
Local Nesting Work (Myrtle Beach State Park)- what nesting looks like on your local beach and how you can help
Sustainable Seafood (SC Aquarium)- how to choose wisely what goes on your plate
You can also get more information on the official Southeast Regional Sea Turtle Meeting (SERSTM) website www.serstm.org. Don’t forget to contact Rebecca Mott at email@example.com to RSVP!
Since 2003, Sea Turtle Conservancy has worked at important Panamanian sea turtle nesting beaches in the Bocas del Toro Province and the Comarca Ngäbe Buglé, from the Changuinola river to the Chiriquí river. Four sea turtle species are found in the waters of Bocas del Toro and the Comarca; Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Green (Chelonia mydas) and Loggerhead (Caretta caretta).
Research Assistantship (RA) positions are voluntary and selected RAs are expected to plan and finance their own travel to and from Bocas del Toro. Selected RAs will receive board and lodging at the STC Field Station for the duration of their time working for STC in Bocas del Toro and the Comarca.
Good knowledge of Spanish and English, education in biology or related fields, previous fieldwork experience in the tropics, experience working/living in multicultural environments, experience working/living in isolated locations for extended periods, previous experience in environmental education and availability for the entire period of the program greatly improve the chance of being selected for a position.
STC Alumni RAs have gone on to work for conservation organizations, universities and government agencies worldwide.
Applications for RA positions must include the following materials:
1. Application Form (download below);
2. A cover letter explaining why you are interested in the Research Assistant position, details of any relevant experiences and a statement of your level of proficiency in English and Spanish (either a formal qualification or an indication of your written/oral comprehension);
3. A CV or resume with pertinent information; and
4. Name and email contact of three professional references.
Completed materials should be emailed to Cristina Ordoñez at firstname.lastname@example.org
All application materials must be received at our office before or on the deadline listed for each program. Short-listed candidates will be contacted within four weeks of the application deadline. Please do not phone or e-mail to inquire about the status of your application.
Applicants that do not supply all requested materials will not be considered.
Project description: Conservation and monitoring of sea turtles
Location: Bocas del Toro Province and Comarca Näbe Buglé, Panama
Dates: Group 1: March 20 – June 20, 2018
Group 2: June 20 – September 20, 2018
Application Deadline: Group 1: January 20, 2018
Group 2: April 20, 2018
Since 2003, STC (Sea Turtle Conservancy) has worked at important Panamanian sea turtle nesting beaches in the Bocas del Toro Province and the Comarca Ngäbe Buglé, from the Changuinola river to the Chiriquí river. Four sea turtle species are found in the waters of Bocas del Toro and the Comarca; Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Green (Chelonia mydas) and Loggerhead (Caretta caretta). Within this region STC has standardized monitoring, research and protection efforts in collaboration with members of communities close to the nesting beaches. In addition, education and awareness programs have been developed to highlight the importance of protecting and conserving sea turtles and other natural resources. This program has had very positive results. In the last 12 years there has been a reduction in the illegal killing of turtles on the majority of nesting beaches in the area, and an increasing nesting trend for both Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles. Despite these advances, numerous threats remain for the region’s sea turtles, including predation of nests by domestic dogs, increasing pressure on coastal and marine habitats through unregulated tourism development, and the continued hunting of turtles for personal consumption and commercial purposes.
A maximum of 12 research assistants (RAs) will be trained in sea turtle monitoring techniques by, and work under the supervision of, the STC’s coordinators. The season is divided into two time periods, March – June and June – September, with six RAs in each time period. The Leatherback season goes from March – August, and the hawksbill season May – October. The RA team will be made up of individuals from several countries from around the world, with an emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean. The primary responsibilities of the RAs will include tagging nesting turtles, collecting biometric data from females during nightly patrols, recording nesting activity during morning track surveys, nest monitoring and excavation, and other pertinent data collection.
RAs can expect to work very long hours, throughout the day and night, often with little sleep. Beach patrols require walking between 6 to 12 kilometers in soft sand and in extreme weather conditions. The patrols take from 4 to 6 hours; therefore an excellent physical condition is a requirement for the RA positions.
The work will be developed in three different beaches in Bocas del Toro Province: Soropta, Long Beach and Chiriquí Beach. RAs will rotate among the three beaches while participating in the sea turtle program.
The RAs will work with the STC Education and Outreach Coordinator to develop and participate in various environmental awareness and educational activities with members of the Bocas del Toro community.
2018 Panama RA Application (Word)
On November 28th, Sea Turtle Conservancy is participating in our 5th annual Giving Tuesday! Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, is a day of charitable giving around the world. This special holiday was created as a day where everyone is encouraged to contribute to non-profit organizations in their communities and around the world. #GivingTuesday provides one day to make a HUGE difference. For the past four years, STC has been very fortunate to receive incredible support from our friends and donors. Last #GivingTuesday, STC supporters raised over $40,000 in one day to support STC’s Florida InWater Project! In 2015, you helped raise nearly $30,000 for the Barrier Island Center’s education and community outreach programs.
STC asks for your help this year to support something close to our hearts, the Tour de Turtles. Started in 2008 by STC, the Tour de Turtles is a fun, educational journey through the science, research and geography of sea turtle migration using satellite telemetry. With help from sponsors and partners, this event follows the marathon migration of sea turtles, representing different species, from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds. Each year, sea turtles are tracked for approximately three months as they leave their respective nesting beaches and race to complete a turtle marathon. The Tour de Turtles competitors will swim with the goal of being the turtle to swim the furthest distance during the migration marathon. This fun, family-friendly event kicks off every July at the Barrier Island Center in Melbourne Beach, FL, with the live release of two satellite tagged sea turtles!
Help STC reach its goal of $40,000 to support Tour de Turtles educational events and sea turtle outreach by donating to the cause in one of four ways: online at www.conserveturtles.org/ GivingTuesday, by calling 352-373-6441 mailing a check with “Giving Tuesday” in the subject line, or through our Facebook campaign. Facebook is matching all Giving Tuesday gifts up to $50,000 per nonprofit! All checks received with Giving Tuesday in the subject line, will count towards the campaign, even after November 28th, 2017. Funds raised will be matched one to one up to $20,000 by STC’s Board of Directors. Can we count you in for #GivingTuesday?
On May 2, 2012, Lisa Jo Randgaard passed away suddenly from a rare and chronic congenital heart condition. She was 43 years old. Heartbroken when their youngest child died, the family turned to fundraising for endangered sea turtles to channel grief into positive action. Lisa was dedicated to the cause, in part through the education she received from Sea Turtle Conservancy; she admired the animals’ great strength, yet related personally to their vulnerability. The family honored her passion and established The Lisa Jo Randgaard Fund, STC’s first member-initiated endowment fund. They were committed to make donations of their own and to cover all costs of their fundraising projects to ensure that 100% of ALL MONEY RAISED goes to Lisa’s Fund.
Jenny, Diane, and Linda – Lisa’s Mom and two older sisters – began by hand sewing “Lisa’s Fundanas,” raising over $10,000, shipping 334 of these sea turtle bandanas across the country, and to Puerto Rico, Canada and Europe! The overwhelming support led Diane to learn cold-process soapmaking, and the family launched “Flippery When Wet” natural soap bars, with pure essential oils. Available only on their website, LoveIntoSustainedAction.com, over 1,000 bars have shipped, to date. In addition to Lisa’s unrestricted endowment fund, the family directed personal funds to dedicate in July 2016 the eco-friendly Lisa Jo Randgaard Building for staff housing and offices at STC’s research site in Tortuguero, Costa Rica. In four years, the Randgaards have raised $90,000, with a renewed commitment moving forward.
In October 2016, Jenny passed away, and the torch is now in the hands of Linda and Diane. They have created an online Pop-Up Vintage Jewelry Fundraiser that runs until Sept. 4. As Linda explains, “These special pieces belong to our family and this is another way to ensure that Lisa’s legacy shines bright. We know Mom approves, and we remain forever ‘Three Sisters United’ in our quest to protect endangered sea turtles.”
Visit LoveIntoSustainedAction.com to view jewelry.