A Typical Day

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Volunteers are asked to work 8 hours a day/night, with a minimum of one day off per week. A typical 24-hour period may proceed as follows (this is just an example and duties/activities will vary depending on a number of factors inherent to work in the field).

  • 6PM: Conduct a 6-hour beach patrol alongside a local project staff member. The monitoring is focused on encountering nesting turtles to gather biological information and to protect eggs. Nests are usually transported to the program hatchery for protection, although nests in certain areas are left in their natural state.
  • Return to the station house at 1AM via boat (time can vary substantially depending on factors such as number of volunteers, activities for following day, weather, etc.).
  • Fall into bed and sleep like a baby.
  • Wake up at 9AM and enjoy a hearty breakfast with fresh juice/coffee/tea.
  • Relax in a hammock and read a book for an hour.
  • Clean the backpacks and equipment used during the previous night’s turtle patrol and have the equipment prepared for the next shift.
  • Enjoy a delicious local lunch prepared by community members participating with the program.
  • Assist the coordinator in passing data from field books to data sheets.
  • Take a hatchery shift for several hours. Volunteers and local program staff rotate to maintain a presence in the hatcheries 24 hours a day. During the hatchery shifts volunteers will take temperature measurements and keep an eye on the nests. If nests are hatching, the hatchlings are released and nests subsequently investigated/data taken.
  • Return to the station house, have a brief work meeting (30 min before dinner) to discuss the night’s monitoring schedule.
  • Enjoy a dinner of chicken with rice and beans.
  • Go to bed, then wake up at 5am and conduct a sunrise survey by boat to count and recover nests not encountered during night patrols. During the trip, staff visit the sites where nesting occurs around the program area to ensure all events have been quantified.
  • Return from the morning survey, enjoy a nice breakfast and plan the events for the next 24 hours.
  • Note that we try to ensure that volunteers are not assigned a morning shift following a night shift, or that volunteer exclusively conduct night patrols; we alternate all activities. However, this also varies depending on how many volunteers we have and scheduling priorities.