On the Expedition
Help scientists save the world's largest turtle from extinction, working side-by-side with a local conservation group, Nature Seekers.
Each night under swaying palms and bright tropical stars, your team will patrol sections of the beach with the staff and volunteers of Nature Seekers. In peak season, you may find as many as 150 sea turtles nesting each night. At every encounter, you’ll tag, measure, and weigh these turtles—which can grow as long as 2 meters/6.5 feet and weigh up to 900 kilograms/2000 lbs!--and collect other data crucial for local and worldwide conservation efforts. Since green and hawskbill turtles also nest in the area, you may record some data on them, as well.
After sleeping late in each morning, you can spend your afternoon visiting the howler monkeys in a nearby forest, swimming in the river, hiking the local trails, or bird watching. You will also enjoy getting to know the people of this friendly Caribbean island.
Earthwatch Team Facilitator
An Earthwatch Teen Team Facilitator will join your team to provide additional guidance, supervision, and activity organization for the expedition. Your facilitator will be there to help from the time you step off the plane for the team rendezvous to the end of the expedition. He or she will encourage team spirit by planning events such as team building exercises, presentations, and recreational and cultural activities. If you have any questions or problems during your expedition, such as issues with another student volunteer, homesickness, or an emergency back at home, you should feel comfortable talking to your facilitator. You should also follow the advice and expectations set by your facilitator regarding safety and personal conduct. All Teen Team Facilitators have experience teaching and leading groups of teenagers and are familiar with the team dynamics necessary to make each expedition a success. Remember, your facilitator is there for you! (Teen: Facilitator ratio: ~6:1)
Meals and Accommodations
You’ll share double rooms and enjoy the modern conveniences of flush toilets and showers in a large and comfortable guesthouse next to the Nature Seekers office. Hearty home-cooked meals of traditional fare, including Trinidadian chicken and beans in brown sauce, are bountiful and delicious. The guesthouse is a 20-minute ride through the Matura forest from the field site, so keep your eyes open each day to spot owls, fireflies, frogs, and a whole range of jungle wildlife!
About the Research Area
Trinidad is the southernmost island in a chain of islands stretching from Florida to Venezuela. The island is separated from Venezuela by the Gulf of Paria, one of the finest natural harbors in the world. The Gulf of Paria is entered from the north by the Boca del Dragon (Dragon’s Mouth) and from the south by the Boca de la Sierpe (Serpent’s Mouth).
Matura is a rural village located in the east-northeast of Trinidad. The area has a thick forest with sandy, gravelly soil. Several rivers and a fishing spot can be found nearby. Matura Beach, a protected area, is 3 miles/4.8 kilometers from the village. It has an array of wildlife, both plants and animal, and a tropical climate. As a small village, Matura is a friendly place and people can wander about freely.
The area has a wealth of intrinsic natural resources and attractions that rank high among the destination sites in Trinidad and Tobago. The beautiful Rio Seco Waterfall is at the end of an amazing two-hour hike through a pristine forest featuring pawi, toucans, orange-winged parrots, red howler monkeys, otters, and many other species. But by far the most popular environmental resource in the area is the nesting activity of the endangered leatherback turtles.