Category Archives: Get Involved


Help STC Raise $50,000 on Giving Tuesday, December 3rd!

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 poaching. STC’s presence on this beach since 2013 has helped curb illegal poaching, 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:

  1. Online at www.conserveturtles.org/GivingTuesday
  2. Through STC’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/conserveturtles
  3. Calling the STC office at 352-373-6441
  4. 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 Dec. 3, 2019. Please make checks out to Sea Turtle Conservancy and mail to 4581 NW 6th Street, Suite A, Gainesville, FL 32609.

Funds raised during this campaign will be matched by STC’s Board of Directors, up to a maximum of $25,000! Help turn $25,000 into $50,000 for sea turtle research!

Can we count you in for #GivingTuesday? Be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter for LIVE fundraising updates on Giving Tuesday!

STC Earns 4-Star Charity Navigator Rating for 12th Year

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 12th 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 more than 88 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.

“STC’s coveted 4-star rating puts it in a very select group of high-performing charities,” said Michael Thatcher, President and CEO of Charity Navigator. “Out of the thousands of nonprofits Charity Navigator evaluates, only one out of four receives 4 stars – a rating that, now, with our new Accountability and Transparency metrics, demands even greater rigor, responsibility and commitment to openness. STC’s supporters should feel more confident that their hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly when it acquires such a high rating.”

STC’s rating and other information about charitable giving are available free of charge on Charity Navigator’s website here.

ACTION ALERT: Florida Bill to Prevent Straw Bans to be voted on next Monday (March 4)

ACTION ALERT: Florida Bill to Prevent Straw Bans to be voted on next Monday

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.

How You Can Help

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)
(850) 487-5007
hutson.travis@flsenate.gov

Senator Victor Torres
(850) 487-5015
torres.victor@flsenate.gov

Senator Joe Gruters
(850) 487-5023
gruters.joe@flsenate.gov

Senator Linda Stewart
(850) 487-5013
stewart.linda@flsenate.gov

Senator Tom Wright
(850) 487-5014
wright.tom@flsenate.gov

Join STC for our 5th Annual Sea Turtle Expedition to Cuba!

STC and Holbrook Travel are working together again to bring you another incredible Sea Turtle Expedition to Cuba! From July 6 – July 13, 2019 you can join experts from the Sea Turtle Conservancy and take part in sea turtle conservation efforts, all while experiencing the beautiful culture and landscape of Cuba.

Led by STC’s David Godfrey and Dr. Dan Evans, the expedition will take participants throughout the western coast of Cuba, stopping in Havana, the Guanahacabibes Peninsula and Viñales.  Participants will have the opportunity to witness the amazing nesting process of green or loggerhead sea turtles and work alongside biologists collecting data. Click here to see the full itinerary!

 Program Highlights

  • Travel with experts from the Sea Turtle Conservancy to observe the nesting process of sea turtles and collect data with biologists.
  • Snorkel the clear waters of the coral reef at María la Gorda (optional scuba diving available at an additional charge).
  • Meet with local conservationists and marine researchers.
  • Visit the picturesque Viñales Valley, known for its unusual limestone formations.
  • Stop at Ernest Hemingway’s home, Finca La Vigía.

In addition, participants will enjoy activities such as a walking tour of the historical city of Havana, birding in the ecologically-rich Guanahacabibes Natural Park, and a visit to a local cigar and guarabita rum factory in the picturesque town of Viñales. In between activities, participants will be able to enjoy leisure time and a variety of delicious cuisine.

Pricing: $3,645 – $4,065

What’s included:

All meals, accommodations, and activities as mentioned in the itinerary, in-country transportation, full-time guide, carbon offset, donation to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, departure tax, Cuban visa, and all tips and gratuities. Trip is based on a minimum of 8 participants.
*Price will be lowered if more participants register.*

*Does not include international airfare*

Information and Registration

Download the Flyer (pdf)

Link to more info: https://www.holbrooktravel.com/where-we-travel/americas/cuba/cuba-sea-turtle-expedition-sea-turtle-conservancy-2019

For questions or further information about reserving your spot, contact Lisa Palmese-Graubard from Holbrook Travel at 800-451-7111 x339 or lisa@holbrooktravel.com

 

 

 

 

Attend the Public Turtle Workshop at the Southeast Regional Sea Turtle Meeting in Myrtle Beach!

Turtle Ambassadors: How Citizens Can Aid in Sea Turtle Conservation

February 13, 2018 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes 

 

**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 rmott@inwater.org and check out the official SERSTM WORKSHOP FLYER.

We want to be able to give people the tools to participate in conservation in their daily lives.  The topics we will be tackling are:

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 rmott@inwater.org to RSVP!

 

 

Apply to be a Research Assistant with STC in Bocas del Toro, Panama

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).

Application Information for Research Assistant Positions

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 cristinao@conserveturtles.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.


2018 Program Research Assistant Position Information:

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

Project summary:
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.

Work description:
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 

2018 Panama RA Application (Word)

Help STC Raise $40,000 on Giving Tuesday, November 28th!

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?

Vintage Jewelry Fundraiser to Benefit STC’s Lisa Jo Randgaard Fund

View Vintage Jewelry at LoveIntoSustainedAction.com, now through Sept. 4. All donations benefit The Lisa Jo Randgaard Fund, an unrestricted endowment fund at STC.

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.