Save the sea turtles, save the world! This post was contributed by Brad Nahill, Co-Founder of SEE Turtles and SEEtheWILD. I met Brad during last year’s Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC). Brad started SEE Turtles with Dr. Wallace J. Nichols in 2007 to build the market for sea turtle conservation tourism.
Since its launch in 2008, the project has generated more than $200,000 in support for turtle conservation and nearby communities, educated millions about turtle conservation travel, and our volunteers have filled more than 1,000 shifts at turtle nesting beaches. Brad co-founded SEEtheWILD in 2011 to offer travel experiences that support wildlife conservation efforts.
Below is Brad’s Top 10 List for why sea turtle watching is a great family eco-activity:
10. Sea turtles don’t bite (and if they try, they are easy to get away from).
9. They are easy to spot since we know when and where they are nesting in places like Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Southeastern United States.
8. Sea turtles are endangered and visiting their nesting beaches can help to protect them by providing income to conservation groups local communities.
7. Watching turtle hatchlings scurry to the water is better than any cartoon, video game, or nature show.
6. The beach where turtles lay their eggs are warm and most have great waves for body surfing and nearby places to snorkel.
5. Giant leatherback turtles are Earth’s last living dinosaur more than 6 feet long and up to 1,000 pounds or more!
4. A few turtle nesting beaches in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, and India have “arribadas” where thousands of olive ridley turtles nest at one time. Imagine that photo!
3. For older kids (16+), some turtle projects offer families the opportunity to play marine biologist and volunteer for several nights helping collect information and protect the eggs.
2. In places where turtles are well protected like Hawaii, you can swim near green turtles and watch how graceful they are in the water. (Remember not to touch them!)
1. Your kids can watch a turtle laying its eggs at night (without lights) without bothering the turtle (they go into a trance while laying).
All photos by Neil Osborne