Target: SEE Turtles Director and Co-founder Brad Nahill
Goal: Commend efforts to educate children about sea turtle conservation
Children’s educational programs have been a strategy in sea turtle conservation for decades. Yet, while large conservation groups have the resources to put on full-scale programs, smaller, understaffed groups might be able to visit local schools only a few times per nesting season. In nations like El Salvador, where consumption of turtle eggs has been illegal only since 2009, education is crucial to maintaining conservation efforts. By partnering with local Salvadorian conservation groups, SEE Turtles seeks to make year-long educational programs in local schools a reality.
SEE Turtles focused their first programs in Jiquilisco Bay, El Salvador’s largest wetland and home to 3 species of sea turtles (hawksbills, green turtles, and olive ridleys). The bay is also inhabited by what is arguably the world’s most threatened sea turtle population, that of the East Pacific hawksbill. The programs sought to expand teachers’ knowledge of conservation as well as students’ with dynamic, interactive workshops. Combining lectures with field trips and activities, SEE Turtles also left teachers with basic, ecologically-themed games to bring to life animal behavior in the mangrove ecosystem. One game, crabs and hatchlings, had the children reenact the struggle of newly hatched baby sea turtles dodging crabs and sea birds wishing to snatch them up on their perilous journey to the waves.
According to Nahill’s post in National Geographic’s Explorer’s Journal, sea turtles are found in over 100 countries. Depending on where they live, the animals face numerous threats like demand for their shells in handicrafts, entanglement in fishing gear, and coastal development. But when local people lack the opportunity to witness research and conservation groups’ efforts, it’s hard to learn about the animals and appreciate their importance. In this light, SEE Turtles support of smaller, local conservation groups coupled with their connecting children with endangered wildlife becomes truly invaluable.
By signing the petition below, you can commend the organization’s innovative work to protect endangered sea turtles and inspire a new generation to lead in their conservation.
Dear SEE Turtles Co-founder Brad Nahill,
I want to thank you for your support of local conservation groups and empowerment of children through education on sea turtle conservation. Perceiving a disparity, you helped smaller, understaffed conservation groups’ capability conduct year-long conservation education programs in El Salvador’s local schools. You and the local organizations you partner with, ICAPO, EcoViva, and Associación Mangle, are ensuring that the efforts of research and conservation groups from around the world are made accessible for local people, especially children, to learn about and appreciate.
I would like to commend you further for your dynamic, interactive workshops. By reaching out to teachers as well as students, you are developing role models and mentors, setting the stage for greater conservation efforts in the future. I hope your strategy of combining lectures with field trips and activities becomes a model for conservation education programs the world over. Thank you for protecting endangered sea turtles and for helping build communities of conservation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: innerpeach.blogspot.com