Focus: Conservation and Marine biology.
In the spring of 1992 the founding members of the Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C. (the Group) organized and built the first marine nursery in San Francisco, Nayarit. By June of that year protection of Olive Ridley and Leatherback turtle eggs had begun.
Millions of years before humans arrived in North America, the marine turtle had well established its nesting habitat along the coastal waters of Mexico. The oldest inhabitants of San Francisco, Nayarit, or "San Pancho" as it is commonly called today, can still recall the nights when hundreds of nesting turtles climbed the moonlit beaches to renew the custom of perpetuating their species.
The palm-laden playas were free of development and offered an idyllic location for nesting. Occasionally, the coastal Indians would gather food from the generous supply of eggs and turtles.
The growing human population, coupled with the changing demographics of the coastal region in the past one hundred years, has dramatically altered the habitat, and thus, the reproductive cycle of the turtles. By 1988, pressures from coastal development, poaching, shrimp fishing, and tourism reduced a population of tens of thousands to less than 200 nesting turtles per year.
The first conservation effort to protect the marine turtle began in the late eighties. It was then that members of the community became concerned that the local marine turtle population may soon face extinction.
In the spring of 1992, the founding members of the Group built the first marine nursery. By June, a large scale protection of Olive Ridley and Leatherback turtle eggs had begun. In 20 years the population has increased from 200 to 1,170 nests.
Costs & Benefits
Our marine turtle program begins at the onset of the Olive Ridley nesting season, generally around June 1st, and ends around November 15th.
To be accepted volunteers must stay with the program for at least two months and pay their entire expense.
Our marine nursery is one of the few in Mexico that remains open the year round to protect the Olive Ridley, the Eastern Pacific Green, and the Leatherback.
Collect nests from six different beaches and relocate to the nursery between the hours of 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 am.
Monitor and regulate nursery temperatures, the hatching and releasing of hatchlings, and the cleaning of nest boxes.
Keep the greenhouse nursery good condition around the clock.
Maintain computer records on nests collected, temperatures, and the cleaning of nests.
Maintain and operate an all-terrain-vehicle, (sometimes during periods of heavy rain and very poor road conditions).
Conduct slide shows, lectures and tours on our marine turtle program.
Conducting children environmental classes.
Volunteers receive no salary and will be responsible for their entire expenses including food for about $120 to $170, and lodging at $300 dollars per month per person. The Group will find volunteers housing for families that fits their needs well before they arrive. In most cases volunteers will share a house. Volunteers with young children can hire house keepers, cooks, and baby sitters for $10 to $15 a day.
No special skills or education is necessary, only the willingness to work in adverse weather conditions during the night. Minimum age of volunteers is 18 years old.
Grupo Ecologico de La Costa Verde, A.C.
America Latina #102
San Francisco, Nayarit, México, CP 63732
Tel: (311) 258-4100
Average cost per day:$10-15
Focus: Conservation and Marine biology
Skills needed: Volunteers must be at least 18 years old