Posted by Bailey Kaufman | 03.21.2023 | Sea Turtle Camp, Sea Turtle Camp News

A Day in the Life- STC Costa Rica

¡ Buenos Dias !

One of the most exciting aspects of camp is the chance to travel to new and interesting places. To learn more about our Costa Rica travel program, immerse yourself in a day-in-the-life experience with this blog post!

The rich smell of Costa Rican coffee brewing in the kitchen wakes you up from a well-rested sleep after last night’s turtle patrol. A delicious and colorful plate of Gallo pinto, queso fresco, fresh eggs, and fruit awaits you. The topic of last night’s patrol is discussed amongst the campers and volunteers as they fuel for the day. While on patrol last night, the volunteers came across a nesting leatherback sea turtle! Yesterday’s turtle talk and demonstration on relocating turtle nests to the safety of the hatchery had prepared you well for last night’s endeavor. 

After patiently waiting for the mother turtle to get comfortable and dig her nest, the group waited for her eggs to drop. This beautiful creature has finally returned to the beach where she was born. Using magnetic fields, sea turtles can return to their birthplace after years out at sea to mate and lay their eggs. Each generation of sea turtles will nest where their ancestors have nested for hundreds of years. 

Once the freshly laid eggs are moved safely to Laguna Urpiano’s sea turtle hatchery, they will incubate there for about 60 days under 24/7 volunteer supervision. The hatchery must be guarded to protect the eggs from predators like raccoons, dogs, ghost crabs, and poachers. 

After reminiscing on the unique experience from last night, you and the other campers get ready to do a large-scale beach cleanup. Large pieces of organic debris, like tree stumps, logs, sticks, and reeds, cover the entire beach. These large pieces can act as hurdles for a turtle to navigate at night, causing many to retreat to the water or lay their eggs too close to the waves, where they can be washed away. Removing all the organic debris can allow the turtles to have a large and clean beach to nest freely without any obstacles.

Following the beach cleanup, the group will all cool down and rest for the afternoon in preparation for this evening’s night patrol and hatchery shift. The counselors and Laguna Urpiano’s marine biologist will hold a lesson on sea turtle survivorship before dinner time. Working with marine biologists is an excellent opportunity to ask questions and see what it is like working in the field! 

Each night is a surprise with what the volunteers may come across or see. Maybe tonight you will see a nest of baby leatherback sea turtles hatch! 

Learn more and join in on the fun by clicking here! Hasta Luego!