VOLUNTEERING IN THE PACIFIC
With the purpose of executing and implementing activities aimed at protecting, maintaining and promoting the growth of aquatic biodiversity, the sea turtle conservation volunteer program was created. In this sense, it seeks to sensitize the population near the beaches on the conservation and protection of endangered species.
The work done in the sea turtle conservation volunteer program, since its inception has been done with the help of students, residents and volunteers, promoting through this project, the proper management and conservation of natural resources.
All our actions are executed and strengthened thanks to projects with specific causes, donations, support from volunteers and visitors.
- The sea turtle conservation volunteer program in Panama seeks to improve and diminish the negative impact created by the lack of awareness of the care of this marine species and the environment that surrounds them.
- To encourage the social responsibility of the people with whom we have contact and work.
We invite you to learn the necessary details to be part of one of the most interesting sea turtle conservation volunteer programs in the Panamanian Pacific. Where you will have the opportunity to contribute to sea turtle conservation. Additionally, you will be able to enrich your knowledge about nesting beach monitoring, scientific data collection and turtle nesting habits.
WHAT WILL I DO AS A VOLUNTEER?
In the Panamanian Pacific, the largest nesting of sea turtles is observed from mid-June through February. With larger populations of olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), green or black turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Canal o tres filos (Dermochelys olivacea) also nest.
The coordinator or person in charge (biologist) will indicate you the activities or tasks that are being carried out, according to the existing needs and priorities as:
- Preparation of the sand for the creation of the nurseries.
- Night work such as: Patrolling the beach where the turtles nest.
- Protection of female turtles. When the tours are carried out and you see a turtle that is coming to the beach, the group that patrols should wait without making the minimum noise possible, that the sea turtle starts the process of laying the eggs and then proceed to take measurements, identify the type of turtle species and relocate the eggs in the nursery.
- Both volunteers and local staff must follow up and take care of the nests in the nursery.
- In case of hatching, the hatchlings are released on the beach.
- During the day, all volunteers as local personnel carry out activities and maintenance tasks of the beach areas, the town and various works within the area where the project is developed.
- Conducting talks in schools and the town about caring for the environment and the importance of sea turtles.
- Support classes in the village school. In case you indicate your interest.
During the day, environmental education and outreach activities are programmed in the school of the community where the project is located. In addition, activities are carried out with daily visitors to the beach where the volunteer must give their support to the team coordinating the project.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE A VOLUNTEER?
You must be of legal age and in good physical condition, as the routes are long distances and in places with loose sand. In addition to having the following qualities:
- Respect nature.
- Maintain adequate behavior during the volunteering period.
- To have good communication with the staff of the program and people of the community.
- Previous experience in handling sea turtles is not required, explanations will be given during the first day of activity and if necessary during the following days.
- Interest in getting involved in sea turtle protection and conservation activities.
- Do not ingest alcoholic beverages or substances in the project areas (including nesting beaches and trails). It is prohibited in all project areas.
- Smoking is prohibited on sea turtle nesting beaches and in all project areas.
- Do not throw trash or any contaminants on project areas and beaches.
- Respect wild animals in the area.
WHAT DAYS AND DATES CAN I VOLUNTEER?
- The sea turtle conservation project is open from the second week of June until the end of February.
- You must arrive on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, as it facilitates the integration to your project and the orientation of the place and activities to be carried out.
TIMETABLE AND PICK-UP POINT
- The pick-up point is Tocumen International Airport (PTY).
- The pick-up time is from 8:00 to 21:00. If you arrive outside this time the volunteer must pay the coordinator the plus of 30 €.
The day you arrive you will stay the first night in a hostel in the city, and the next morning you will be accompanied to the albrook bus station, where the bus leaves for the Santiago terminal where the project coordinator will be waiting to take you to the project.
WHERE WILL I BE AND WHAT WILL MY SCHEDULE BE DURING VOLUNTEERING?
- The sea turtle conservation volunteer project takes place on the Pacific beaches of Panama, six hours from Panama City, located in the province of Veraguas.
- It is within the Special Zone for Coastal Marine Management Zona Sur de Veraguas. In this beach nest 4 species of marine turtles, of the sevens that exist in the world.
- The temperature in general is very warm (between 25 and 34 degrees during the day), although at night it is usually cooler.
- Rains are frequent between May and December and between mid-December and March rains are very scarce and it is the ideal time to camp.
It works from Monday to Sunday. Night tours tend to start between 10:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m., depending on the tide.
During the day, around 9:00 a.m., there are maintenance activities, cleaning and talks in the community.
COORDINATION IN THE TURTLE PROJECT
During your program you will have a general coordinator to guide you in your daily activities, apart from the coordinators of each program, including the biologist. In the case of the sea turtle program in Panama, your main coordinator will be Jacinto.
Once you are part of the Adventure Volunteer team, Jacinto or Diego will give you an induction to the program and the activities to be carried out.
HOW ARE THE LODGING AND MEALS?
The spaces for volunteers are as follows:
- Basic bunk beds, where you share a room with other volunteers.
- Common areas.
- Washing area and kitchen.
- Common bathrooms.
- In the house there is Internet at specific times.
Accommodation includes three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), which does not include beverages.
There may be unexpected water and electricity cuts.
WHAT ARE THE RULES OF THE HOUSE AND THE PROJECT?
- The consumption of alcoholic beverages, illicit substances or hallucinogenic psychotropic substances is prohibited.
- Smoking is not allowed on the beach or in the project areas.
- It is forbidden to swim on the beach where the project is being developed.
- Do not throw garbage.
- Respect for local culture.
- To maintain the cleanliness of the common areas and the dormitories.
- To take care of the cleaning of the utensils used.
- Maintain a behavior of respect, tolerance and moderate vocabulary with staff, visitors, locals and other volunteers.
- If away from the project premises, inform those in charge.
WHAT CAN I BRING IN MY VOLUNTEER SUITCASE?
- Comfortable, light and dark colored clothes for night work.
- Suitable footwear (beach shoes, sandals or neoprene boots).
- Light flashlight (preferable to use on the head) with red and white light (not indispensable).
- Carry a raincoat (not indispensable).
- Bottle to load water.
- Insect repellent and sunscreen (do not use during monitoring).
- In case you need any special medication, you should bring it with you.
- Backpack, the access is not asphalt and the wheels of the suitcase are broken.
- Dress with long sleeves and pants, for activities at school or any other event while you are in the project.
- Adapter for electrical connection,
The price of the Pacific Sea Turtle Conservation Volunteer Program is divided into two parts. A deposit of 150€ must be paid to register for the program. One (1) month before the beginning of the program, the final payment of the program must be made.
Each additional week price 170€. The prices of the program are euros, so the currency exchange will have real effect. You can consult the currency exchange in the period of your trip in the following link
WHAT ARE YOU PAYING FOR?
- Welcome at the airport and transfer to the project
- Transport from Panama City to the project
- Accommodation during your volunteering
- 3 meals during the course of your volunteer program
- 24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team
- Monitoring and evaluation of the programme
- Orientation and induction to the program
- Certificate of weeks completed in your volunteering
- Accident insurance during your volunteering
- Civil liability for your activity
- Receipt from NGO about your program fee
- Guidance, advice and management in the choice of programme
- Volunteer T-Shirt
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED?
- Flight to the country
- Visa, if necessary
- Travel insurance (mandatory)
- Vaccines, if necessary
- Internal transportation or excursions
- Return to the airport on the last day
- Drinks, diets and special meals
- Trips inside or outside the country