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    Loop Abroad: Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation and Research

    Loop Abroad: Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation and Research

    Details

    • Listing Type: Summer Programs
    • Destination: Costa Rica
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Session Start: May, June, July
    • Session Length: One Week, Two Weeks
    • Entering Grade: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
    • Gender: Coed
    • Category: STEM
    • Sub-Categories: Veterinary Medicine, Animals/Nature, Wildlife Conservation
    • Selective: No
    • Ages: 16, 17, 18
    • Minimum Cost: $1,500 - $2,999
    • Career Clusters: Health Science
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    Overview

    Learn all about sea turtles and sea turtle conservation in your time volunteering on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. When you're not working on important conservation projects, you'll have the chance to explore nature through kayaking, hiking, and soaking in the sun on the beautiful beaches.

    Spend 1 or 2 weeks working with LAST, Latin American Sea Turtles, learning all about sea turtles and sea turtle conservation through various projects on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica!

    As part of the Osa In Water project, you will help with projects including:

    • In-water monitoring of sea turtles
    • Rescue and rehabilitation center
    • Mangrove reforestation program
    • Sea grass monitoring

    Highlights:

    • Live on the beach in the beautiful Osa Peninsula in Western Costa Rica
    • Enjoy exploring nature from kayaking adventures to national park hikes
    • Participate in a dog and cat spay-neuter campaign
    • Observe sea turtles in the wild
    • Help to monitor wild sea turtles from the boat, in the sea, and on land
    • Get practical training in data collection to prepare yourself for your career or studies working with wildlife
    • Learn about sea turtles from staff biologists at this respected conservation effort
    • Learn and practice some Spanish! (no Spanish language skills required)

    The Sea Turtles at LAST:

    This project does not have captive sea turtles or tanks – the sea turtles you will be researching, looking for, and working with are wild animals. As such, you will learn the proper way to capture, assess, and release sea turtles for their monitoring, health, and safety.

    The dynamics of the local sea turtle populations is poorly understood, and while some information on females has been gathered from nesting beaches, little is known about population structure, genetic origin and in-water habitat use.

    Sea turtles spend only 1% of their lives on the nesting beaches and due to this behavioral pattern, mainly only adult females are studied. Very little information is available about juvenile populations and sex ratios of adult populations.

    Therefore, more in-water work is needed to increase knowledge about habitats used by sea turtles in different life stages in order to assess the types of threats they are exposed to.

    On the Osa Peninsula, LAST is working mainly with the Hawksbill sea turtle and the Pacific Green sea turtle, also known as the Black sea turtle. Both species are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Pacific Green sea turtle is ranked as “Endangered” and the Hawksbill sea turtle as “Critically endangered”, which means if we don’t take serious measures, it is very likely that they will become extinct. For that reason, every helping hand is welcome!

    This project is hard work. You will be out in the water and on the beach at all times of day helping with different aspects of sea turtle conservation. It’s not for everyone, but for those who are willing to put in the work, the experience will be extremely rewarding.

    Hours and Credit:

    You will receive a certificate for 40 service hours per program week upon completion.

    Most of your classroom and fieldwork time on this program is spent participating in research. Students can calculate their own record of research hours for their VMCAS or other applications.

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