Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao

by Friends of Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao
Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao

Mid-december STCC held its last event of this year. After a presentation about STCC in general and the effects of climate change on sea turtles and their habitat, the board said goodbye to board member Denise Vijber and welcomed new president Saïtia Comenencia.

To make merry and nice the group ended the evening on the beach with drinks and laughter.

By way of this message the board of STCC would like to thank everyone who has contributed to STCC this past year. 2021 was a challenging year, and the enthusiasm, determination, hard work, encouragement, dedication and good vibes of our vollunteers AND the financial support of all of you around the globe have made it so much brighter. With much excitement we look forward to a new year and hope we can keep counting on your support!

Thank you very much and a Happy new year to all!!

Greetings Board STCC

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This quarter STCC got a great opportunity to collaborate with a Dutch TV program “Klaas kan Alles” (Klaas can do everything) to show the activities the organization undertakes to protect the sea turtles. Klaas kan Alles is a popular family program and is about technology, science and smart gadgets. In every episode Klaas gets a number of exciting assignments that he tries to succeed with the help of technology and science.

Plastic waste in our oceans is a big threat for sea turtles. In order to show Klaas how big of a threat, we organized a beach cleanup at Boca of San Pedro. At this particular inlet on the North coast of Curacao a lot of plastic debris washes up on shore. The TV presenter including the crew were astonished to see the situation. Everyone knows about the plastic soup problem, but it is until you see it with your own eyes and clean it up with your hands, then it really sinks in.  12 volunteers, including a couple of very enthusiastic children collected 130 kilograms of trash that day.

The second day of filming was on a very small uninhabited island near Curacao, Klein Curacao (Little Curacao). On the beaches of Klein Curacao, sea turtles come each year to lay their eggs. STCC monitors and cleans the beach regularly. Klaas had the assignment to spot a turtle and make a good picture of its head. The pattern on the head of a sea turtle is unique. It is a way to identify them.

Participating in this program gave STCC some exposure. The TV program airs every week in the Netherlands.  All of the assignments are uploaded to their Youtube channel, so people can look it up afterwards. This particular episode was viewed almost 11.000 times. After the episode aired, STCC was contacted by a firm and received a donation because of what they saw in this program.

It was two days of intense filming and explaining what STCC does. Everyone had a lot of fun working together. But most important of all, a lot more people are now aware of the plastic pollution, the threat to sea turtles and what STCC does to protect them.

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Trained and ready to go

Saturday, June 26th 2021, Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao (STCC) held its annual volunteer training. This year it was a little later than usual due to Covid-19 and the consequential lockdowns and mobility restrictions. The aim of the training was to (re)familiarize volunteers with the organization, (further) educate them about sea turtles, their lifecycle, behavior and habitat, to train nest monitoring procedures, to brainstorm about current challenges and to provide a space to meet and interact with each other.

A total of nine volunteers participated in the training. The training was facilitated by Sabine Berendse, founder and president of the board of STCC. The group started out in STCC’s education and information center, but due to noise disturbance the training was moved to the headquarters of Green Phenix, the plastic recycling facility to which STCC is closely linked. This gave the volunteers the opportunity to see where the plastic, they work so hard to recycle, is being processed.

Because both new and experienced volunteers partook in the training, the training was very broad. Starting with basic information about sea turtles, such as the different species and the most common ones in the waters around Curaçao, their life cycle and their value to the ecosystem. Continuing with information about STCC, focusing on the three main pillars (research, education and conservation) and the efforts of the new board to restructure the organization. Some time was made to discuss how to deal with persons illegally handling sea turtles, aggressive people, as well as interested onlookers during turtle rescues or monitoring activities.

The highlight of the training was the explanation of how to locate, read and register tracks of a nesting females and hatchlings. Even though this was pure theory, and the real lessons happen outside on the beach, the volunteers were excited. “With this training I am so much better equipped, I am ready to go and monitor the beaches” remarked a new volunteer.

By completing this training STCC’s volunteers are more knowledgeable and better prepared for the weekly beach monitoring rounds.


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Session 1
Session 1

With a new nesting season coming up and a global pandamic still heavily affecting the world, our organisation is facing difficult times. We decided it is a great time to do a Theory of Change process. In this process a group of core STCC members determine what impact our organisation wants to make and how we aim to create it. 

This insightful process also includes follow up meetings with other stakeholder groups and it's a dynamic process, which will eventually lead to a visual pathway of change, which will make it very clear for everybody what STCC aims to do and how.

So far 2 workshop sessions took place. In the first one we talked about our vision and we created a vision statement: Curacao is a safe haven for sea turtles, caried by an involved community which is inspiring the world.

Our mission statement still hold: Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao aims to protect sea turtles and their habitat through research, conservation and education. 

We also discussed long term outcomes that need to be accomplished before the vision can become a reality. This basically breaks the vision statement down into seperate components: 

1. Curacao is a safe haven for sea turtles

2. The community is involved

3. Our program is an example for the world

In the second workshop we discussed the output that is needed and the programs STCC could create to contribute to the long term goals. Indicators were discussed as well as assumptions. 

The following weeks we'll be working on visualising these primary results into a concept pathway of change and once this is done we'll start planning stakeholder sessions, with volunteers, ministries, companies and other NGO's. So far the process has been extremely valuable and it will be the basis for further strategic planning, budgeting and a strong continuation of what was build in previous years.

It might be the harderst time we've faced since STCC was founded, but in the core there are some really driven people that want to do whatever is in their power to keep on protecting sea turtles and their habitat as best as we possibly can. We're confident this 'Theory of Change" will lead to a road on how we can survive this horrible pandamic that has affected us all. 

Group session 1
Group session 1
Session 2
Session 2
theory of change session 2
theory of change session 2

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Release 1
Release 1

Last 3 turtles that fell victim to sargassum are now released back to the sea


Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao (STCC), together with employees of the Seaquarium, brought 3 sea turtles back to sea on Saturday morning, 7 November. The turtles were the last 3 to recover at Curaçao Sea Aquarium after liberation from sargassum seaweed.

In the period from March to June, Curaçao had to deal with a large influx of sargassum. The North side in particular was hit hard. Sargassum is a brown algae that forms floating seaweed mats. In the open ocean, these floating mats act as hatcheries for various animals, including sea turtles. Sometimes a piece of the mat breaks off and then floats with the current towards the Caribbean. Here it ends on the coast of the islands. Once the sargassum hits the shore, it accumulates and then sinks and rot. During the decay process all oxygen is used up and hydrogen sulphide is formed, which can suffocate marine animals.

Several beaches on the north side are nesting or foraging areas for turtles. The accumulation of sargassum in these areas has had a negative impact on the turtle population, for example turtles became entangled in it, which can cause drowning, dehydration or suffocation. Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao, a volunteer organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of sea turtles, has been able to rescue a number of turtles that became trapped in the Sargassum. The turtles were all seriously weakened and were admitted by the Curaçao Sea Aquarium after possible medical treatment. Here they could recover under professional care.

After months of rehabilitation, the sea turtles were declared healthy and returned to their native habitat. Under the watchful eye of the caretakers of the Curaçao Sea Aquarium, the animals were weighed and measured one last time and they went in a caravan of cars towards the North Coast.

Under public interest, employees of Curaçao Sea Aquarium volunteers from STCC released the three turtles into the sea. This brought an end to the aftercare that was needed after the sargassum rescues.

Release 2
Release 2
release 3
release 3

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Organization Information

Friends of Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao

Location: Willemstad, Curacao - Curaçao
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Sabine Berendse
Willemstad, Curacao Curaçao
$22,770 raised of $75,000 goal
 
448 donations
$52,230 to go
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