Costa Rica Teen Sea Turtle Adventure

April 1st, 2016

Join Sea Turtle Camp for our 14-day Costa Rica Teen Sea Turtle travel adventure! Experience the awe-inspiring sites and awesome adventures this country has to offer. Sea turtles abound in Costa Rica! With 5 of the world’s 7 species found here,the beaches and waters are full of turtle observing opportunities!Costa Rica Teen Sea Turtle Adventure Campers at a Waterfall

Travel to the Caribbean Coast during one to the most active green sea turtle nesting aggregations in world and assist a long-term research project with nightly beach patrols. As one of the safest and easiest international travel destinations in the world, Costa Rica is a sustainable country, that focuses on creating greater equality of wealth among citizens and protecting their natural resources. Over a quarter of the country is set aside for conservation!

During this Costa Rica teen sea turtle adventure, you’ll learn about the local language, culture and Costa Rica teen sea turtle campers performing community service.ecology as you journey throughout the country with teens, ages 14-17, who are passionate about sea turtle conservation! Fly into the San Jose airport and begin your camp session staying at the University of Georgia’s facility in Monteverde. Sleep in cool eco-lodges, while you immerse yourself in the local culture and learn about the natural environment in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Then, you’re off on an eco-travel adventure! Zip-line through the rainforest, hike to a waterfall and then grab your PFD and paddle to raft down the Pacuare River.

Hands-on Experience: Costa Rica Teen Sea Turtle Adventure!

Next, you’ll travel to the Caribbean coast to volunteer hands-on with sea turtles at La Tortuga Feliz. Arrive during leatherback and green sea turtle nesting season to work hands-on with sea turtles. Costa Rica Sea Turtle campers ready to raft!Throughout this unique opportunity for teens, you’ll work at a sea turtle hatchery, conduct morning and evening sea turtle patrols on the local beach, spend time with recuperating sea turtles at a turtle rehabilitation center and learn Spanish from native speakers.

Please click here to learn more about the program or to enroll!

For any questions about Sea Turtle Camp’s Costa Rica teen sea turtle program for teens, please contact us. We look forward to exploring Costa Rica with you this summer!

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SCUBA Camp + Marine Biology

March 11th, 2016

Sea Turtle Camp’s Open Water SCUBA Camp gives teens the chance to explore the beautiful world below the warm, clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean! Are you a teen passionate about marine biology?scuba camp campers learning marine biology If so, join other teens as you discover what lies below the ocean’s surface. Get certified and dive feet first into adventure this summer, during Sea Turtle Camp’s 12-day scuba camp session!

When not discovering the undersea world, campers explore North Carolina’s coastal environment, through hands-on, feet-wet marine science activities.  SCUBA campers visit The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. At the sea turtle hospital, teens get a first-hand look at what it takes to care for and rehabilitate injured sea turtles.

Sea Turtle campers also get the chance to go behind the scenes at the North Carolina Aquarium and participate in a surf lesson or stand-up paddleboarding eco-tour!

SCUBA Camp: Prepare for College & Career!

Are you thinking about a college degree in marine biology? If so, scuba diving is an essential skill for any future marine biologist. SCUBA camp campers diving to a shipwreck Taking a deeper dive into the world of marine biology through our Open Water SCUBA Camp program is the perfect beginning!

Sea Turtle Camp campers are trained by PADI certified dive instructors. These instructors are some of the best divers on the East Coast! After completing their certification course, campers participate in several open water dives in the area, explore sunken shipwrecks and more! In the future, perhaps you’ll enjoy one of the many perks of this career field – diving on the job!  While many others are in an office all day – marine scientists are enjoying the ocean on dives!  As a PADI diver, career opportunities abound.

Interested in learning more? Please click here to learn more about the program or to enroll! For any questions about Sea Turtle Camp’s Open Water SCUBA program for teens, please contact us. We look forward to exploring the unique world of sea turtles with you!

SCUBA camp campers practicing their skills

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Black Sea Turtle: A Unique Marine Turtle

March 2nd, 2016

Black sea turtles are unique members of the sea turtle world. While currently classified as the same species as the green sea turtle, the pacific black sea turtle has several features that make it one of a kind! Green-Sea-turtle-and-black-300x300

The black sea turtle can be found in the eastern tropical Pacific and are not commonly observed in the open ocean. Adult black sea turtles tend to inhabit bays and protected shorelines from Baja, California all the way down to Chile!

Differences

Officially known as the East Pacific green sea turtle, the black sea turtle is smaller and darker in color than the green sea turtle. Black sea turtles also have a teardrop shaped carapace, making its shape different than the oval shaped green sea turtle. Black sea turtles’ heads are even smaller than the heads of green sea turtles!

Black sea turtles tend to be smaller than green turtles, but can still weigh up to 300 pounds and reach 4 feet in length! Also, black sea turtles are the only sea turtle known to nest in the Galapagos Islands – most of their nesting occurs in Central America, Mexico and the Galapagos. Black sea turtles also even be found basking in the sun along the Hawaiian Islands, which is a characteristic not commonly found in other sea turtle species.

Black turtle Nesting

Similarities

The black turtle has a similar diet to that of the green sea turtle. As grazers, both types of sea turtle eat algae, sea grasses and mangrove shoots. Additionally, they will both occasionally eat small fish, jellyfish and other invertebrates.

 

Current Research

Current DNA research indicates a close genetic relationship between the two types of sea turtle. Based on this evidence, they are classified as the same species. However, due to their differences, some experts consider the black sea turtle to be a sub-species of the green sea turtle, while other experts consider the black sea turtle to be its own species – so this question has yet to be answered.black turtle

Historically, colonies of black sea turtles thrived in Mexico and Central America. The fishing industry and illegal harvest of eggs and sea turtles for meat has decimated these populations. Today, they are still caught illegally for food and accidentally in many types of fishing nets.

Many conservationists consider a separate species designation as important to saving the black sea turtle, as it would certainly gain additional protection status – since the black sea turtle is more threatened than the green sea turtle.

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Sea Turtle Camp – Meet our Program Coordinator

February 11th, 2016

Liz Shirley: Environmental Education + Summer Camp

Our program coordinator, Liz Shirley describes what she does for work and play. Read on to learn more about Liz’s career as a camp professional, as well as her passion for environmental education.

We’re you into camping growing up?

I grew up going to summer camp as a Girl Scout. I started at age 5 and continue to be involved with scouting to this day, as an Adult volunteer. As a child my family also went on camping trips occasionally in Oklahoma and Arkansas, though my passion for the experience began as a teenager.

Any favorite memories?

There are a lot that come to mind, but certainly the most impactful was the road trip my Girl Scout troop took from Tulsa, OK to Minnesota, to go canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). We planned the whole trip, stopping along the way at museums and historical sites. Our guides led us through the wilderness for 5 days and I fell in love with the backcountry.  Sea-Turtle-Camp-Program-Coordinator
I also met these amazing college students, our guides, who had such a cool summer job! That trip changed my life. A few years later, after spending a summer as a camp counselor, I would return there to work as a guide, leading youth on the same routes I had explored as a teen.

A day in the life?

On-the-go! I love to travel, whether for business or pleasure, and am always looking for that next great adventure! I like to start my days with a healthy breakfast, then if I am up early enough, I like to spend some time reading. Weekdays, after a strong cup of coffee, I head to work at Sea Turtle Camp. Once there, my days in the off-season are filled with dreaming of next summer, as we dive into camp planning! At lunch time, I try to sneak in a quick hike or trail run.

What were you doing before joining Sea Turtle Camp?

I have 11 years of experience as a camp professional. Most recently, I was a Camp Director for the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast. I supervised the day-to-day operations of their residential and day camp summer programs. My days included giving advice to the admin team on program design, making sure the camp schedule ran smoothly, and speSea-Turtle-Camp-Program-Coordinator-singing-at-campfireaking with parents about their child’s experience. I also always made time to get outside and interact with staff on a one-on-one basis. Oh, and I never missed an opportunity to lead a song at campfire.

Prior to that experience, I worked for two years as the Assistant Director for the AnBryce Foundation, a youth development organization based in the DC Metro area.   During the summers, I supervised staff, aquatics and the backpacking program at Camp Dogwood Summer Academy – their residential, academic enrichment summer camp. Year-round I coordinated their Mentor Program and assisted with their Saturday academic enrichment program. Prior to those experiences, I taught environmental education for four years; spending my summers as a backcountry canoe, kayak and backpacking guide and working at residential summer camps across the country.

What do you like about Sea Turtle Camp?

I really like that Sea Turtle Camp combines my love for the outdoors and passion for inspiring others to change the world, through hands-on experiential education. As program coordinator, I get the opportunity to work with an amazing staff team to create a positive, caring environment where campers can learn, grow and experience the transformative nature of summer camp. I hope our campers and staff are empowered to use their Sea Turtle Camp experiences wherever they go.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love the outdoors, so I spend a lot of my free time outside. I like to head out, to spend time with family and friends hiking, camping, kayaking, biking and exploring new places. If at home, I like to relax by reading, knitting and cooking a big made-from-scratch meal! It’s a bonus if I have time to bake fresh, hot from the oven bread.

What is your favorite camp activity?

Wow, that is a hard question! I love being at camp and there are always so many great activities going on! If I have to pick, probably campfire is my favorite – I love the opportunity to pause and reflect on the camp experience. I also really enjoy the fun, hands-on activities!

One fun fact most people don’t know about you:

A goal of mine is to live in Antarctica at some point in my life, for at least few months, to get the full Antarctic experience! I love winter and Ann Bancroft, part of the first female team to cross Antarctica, is one of my role models. During my time in Minnesota, I had the opportunity to meet with her and get advice for the winter trips I was guiding that season for Wilderness Inquiry – the same trips she had led for them earlier in her career.

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Marine Biology Camp: Conservation + Sea Turtles

January 27th, 2016

Join us for a summer adventure at Sea Turtle Camp! Teens enjoy a hands-on, feet-wet marine biology adventures. While at camp, our teen participants learn about marine science, the ocean, and the sea turtles that call it home! 11700813_10153437822101411_5016078302218749382_o

Campers learn how to conserve this precious resource, through our experiential marine biology program. Activities include a wide range of topics, covering marine mammals, conservation, and of course sea turtles!

Our campers also visit the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

At the sea turtle hospital, they care for ill and injured sea turtles, helping the turtles make their way to recovery. Over 98% of the sea turtles cared for at the hospital eventually return to the sea! These experiences at Sea Turtle Camp influence campers to protect sea turtles and the environment.Marine-Biology-Leatherback-Hatchling

About Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are large, air breathing reptiles that live in sub-tropical and tropical waters around the world. Leatherback sea turtles also migrate through sub-arctic waters.

They belong to the class Reptilia which also encompasses snakes, lizards, crocodiles and dinosaurs – their ancient relatives!

Millions of years ago, reptiles were one of the first animals to live outside of the water, on land. These reptiles, like whales and dolphins, later returned to the sea. Therefore, many turtle characteristics result from these animals being adapted to life on land.
marine-biology-sea-turtle-at-hospital

The sea turtle’s Reptilian characteristics include:

– Vertebral or spinal column: Reptiles are vertebrates, just like birds and mammals. They must have a spinal column to support their body weight.

– Scales: Aid in armoring the body and preventing water loss. Leatherback sea turtles are the exception.

– Air Breathers: Sea turtles do not have gills. All reptiles, like humans need to breathe air in order to survive.

– Ectothermic: Reptiles can’t control their body temperature internally, so the external environment largely determines their body temperature.

– Internal Fertilization: Sperm fertilize the egg inside the female. Many reptiles lay eggs, including all species of sea turtle.

Many of our campers strive to become future marine biologists. Campers are encouraged to keep learning about sea turtles through research and volunteer opportunities. There is a lot out there for us to do!

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