Is volunteering with sea turtles in Mexico for teenagers right for me?
Eager to team up with people your age to protect the environment? Can you picture yourself carefully scooping up a turtle egg from the sand and moving it to a safe nest until it hatches? Do you want to release a newborn turtle and watch it scurry over the sand and into the ocean? If you answered yes, then this is the project for you.
You’ll work with a group of teenagers, and get involved in hands-on work at our Conservation Project. You’ll also learn directly from conservation experts. Together with your group, you’ll be getting your hands dirty digging in the sand for turtle eggs, counting the animals you spot in the lagoon, and more. It’s the perfect combination of conservation work and adventure!
This High School Special gives you plenty of experience, which can help you decide if a career in conservation is for you. This is also a great way to add practical experience to your CV, and it will give you interesting points to talk about in applications or interviews. You’ll also develop your personal skills, like teamwork, planning, and communication. These skills can be applied to any career you pursue.
You don’t need previous experience to join. You’ll be supervised by experts, and our staff are always available to provide guidance and advice. All you need to do is focus on working hard, learning, and having fun.
Your project will be divided into the following:
Search for and move turtle nests to a protected area
Coastal erosion is a big problem affecting turtles in Mexico. However, poachers have proven to be an even bigger problem. Once a turtle has laid eggs, poachers dig up the eggs to sell at local markets. To protect the nests, we do beach patrols everyday. When we find a nest, we move it to a safe location at the ecological centre we work with. This is a protected area, and the eggs will incubate in peace here. Once the eggs hatch, we release hatchlings into the ocean.
Care for turtles at the ecological centre
At the ecological centre, the government has given them permission to keep turtles, especially those who have been injured and cannot be released back into the wild. They need your help to look after all the turtles living here. Your group will help clean the tanks, and make sure turtles are fed and cared for. Each turtle is also weighed and measured once a month.
Community beach clean-ups
Reducing litter in our oceans is vital for keeping marine life safe. Rubbish, particularly non-biodegradable plastic, is hazardous. The sea turtles that nest here can get caught in the discarded plastic. Or, they may mistake it for food, which can hurt and even kill them.
Your group will work together to keep the beach as clean as possible. With this many hands involved, you’ll be able to remove a lot of rubbish from the environment.
Take Spanish lessons
As a Spanish-speaking country, Mexico is a great place for you to either start learning, or practise what you already know. You’ll receive two hours of Spanish lessons every day during the week. Classes are taught in small groups and are extremely interactive. Your lessons are adjusted depending on your level, so you don’t need to worry about not being able to keep up.
Work with crocodiles
You will visit La Colorada Crocodile Centre, in Cofradia de Morelos, once a week. Here, you’ll help to clean and maintain the pens and the centre’s facilities. You will also be involved in taking biometric data and marking the crocodiles in nearby lagoons.
Finally, this project is also an opportunity for you to travel, learn, and grow in a safe environment with a group of volunteers your age. On the weekend, we’ll take you on a trip to a local beach resort to experience more of Mexico. Make the most of the opportunity to have some fun in the sun with your new friends!
Where will I work in Mexico?
During your time in Mexico, you’ll be based in Cuyutlan. With its black sand beaches, gentle waves, and laid-back attitude, Cuyutlan feels a world away from everywhere.
You’ll spend most of your time working at El Tortugario Centro Ecológico de Cuyutlan, and working directly on the beach or in a nearby lagoon. You’ll also work at La Colorada Crocodile Centre once a week.
You'll stay in shared accommodation close to the beach. The accommodation has several single and shared same-sex bedrooms, as well as a communal kitchen and a swimming pool. Only volunteers of the same sex are permitted to share a room.
What are the aims for this project?
The aim of this project is to bring teenagers together to become part of our ongoing efforts to protect endangered sea turtles in Mexico. We are also working to preserve the ecological well-being of the surrounding area.
The endangered turtles we work with can only lay their eggs on the beach. Unfortunately, these nesting areas are disappearing rapidly. This is because of climate change and increased human development. This is why we are working to protect as many of these nests as possible. And we need the help of volunteers like you to do it.
By joining this High School Special, you’ll provide us with another pair of much-needed helping hands. You’ll help identify and relocate nests to safe, protected corrals. You’ll monitor the eggs, and help release the baby turtles into the ocean once they’ve hatched.
Join our Sea Turtle & Coastal Conservation with Spanish High School Special today, and become part of our long-term efforts to protect Mexico’s ecology.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Every year, thousands of High School Special volunteers and interns actively make a difference around the world. During their time abroad, they contribute towards achieving long-term goals and make a long-lasting positive impact on the communities where they work.
We produce an annual High School Specials Impact Report, which documents some of these achievements. Find out more about the impact of these projects, and read the latest report.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have all the extra support you need as a young person travelling abroad. Our Projects Abroad staff are there for you 24 hours a day during the week and over weekends to provide constant support and guidance. Our staff also make sure you feel comfortable and safe at your placement and accommodation. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in Mexico
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