There are many ways you can get involved with helping us protect turtles.
Volunteer with us – Each year we encourage volunteers to help us with nesting surveys, hatchling protection and education programs. Positions vary based on experience and interest. Some volunteers help by walking on a soft-sand beach for hours overnight looking for turtles, while others help protect emerging hatchlings during the early evening hours. Please email us at seaturtlecensus @ gmail.com to express your interest and to get on the list for volunteer meeting notifications. We usually hold a volunteer information meeting during late March or early April each year to get us all ready for the season. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the date and location.
Get a great T-shirt! A great way to show your support of our project is to wear one of our project t-shirts! We have many colors and sizes to choose from, and all proceeds support our volunteer team (and are partially tax deductible). These shirts are a big hit with family members and with our own team! T-shirts ($20 donation) can be mailed to you for a $6 flat rate (for as many shirts as you’d like). Order online!
Sponsor a GPS tracked turtle! In 2020 we launched our GPS tracking program for leatherbacks in St. Croix! We can follow Barb and Leona Nicole as they make their migration north to foraging grounds after a successful nesting season.
To sponsor Barb or Leona, simply make any donation amount at this link and mention in the comments which turtle you’d like to sponsor! We will add your name to the sponsorship list for your turtle! Sponsorships will help pay for satellite time for data collection so we can understand more about the nesting site choices made by our turtles.
Below is Barb’s second nesting loop!
Name a nesting turtle – Each season we see dozens of individual female turtles and while they have flipper tags, we like to give them names to remember them better as the season goes on. For example, SPP056 is one of our special turtles. She nested twice in 2016 and one of our team members, Dana, named her Rapunzel. After her second nest though, she was attacked by a shark as she got back in the water and we didn’t see her again that season. We thought we may have lost her. But to our surprise (because it’s unusual for leatherbacks), she nested again in 2017 and was one of our champion nesters! No lasting impacts from the shark attack.
For a $100 donation to the St. Croix Leatherback Project, you can name a nesting turtle. You’ll receive a leatherback project T-shirt, a sticker, recognition on our website, a notification each time your turtle nests and a summary at the end of the season with her stats (# of nests, dates seen, etc.). To name a turtle, go to the following link, enter your information, and in the Comments box, add the name you’d like along with who you are naming it for. Name your turtle for 2020!
Adopt a nest – Starting in May, our team begins protecting the leatherback nests that are starting to hatch. Since our first nesting females arrive in March, and incubation takes 60 days or so, the first hatchlings are coming up around mid-May. Our team protects each emerging nest from predators and makes sure that all hatchlings make it safely to the water.
For a $50 donation, you can adopt a nest. You’ll receive a leatherback sticker, recognition on our website, and the stats about your nest at the end of the season (date laid, nesting mom, how many hatchlings emerged, etc.). To adopt a nest, go to the following link and enter your information. In the Comment box, please mention that you are adopting a nest. Adopt a nest here for 2020!
Your donations for naming turtles or adopting nests ultimately support our volunteer team, who spend their summers dedicated to protecting turtles. Donations are fully tax-deductible (you will receive an email and tax letter instantly upon donating) and are so much appreciated! Thank you for your support!
The St. Croix Leatherback Project is supported by the Sea Turtle Census Initiative, which is sponsored by The Ocean Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) organization, based in Washington, D.C., but working globally to protect our oceans.
All photos on this website were taken under appropriate Endangered Species Permits during the course of approved research. No photos may be reproduced, or copied and used without permission. Thank you.