Sea Turtles Forever (STF) is an Oregon based 501c(3) non-profit charitable, marine turtle conservation organization. STF has four main goals:
1. Sea Turtle Rescue
2. Poaching Prevention
4. Habitat Protection
STF was founded by Marc and Rachel Ward in 2001 to protect sea turtles from extinction. It is based in both Seaside, Oregon and Lagartillo Reef, Costa Rica.
In Costa Rica we protect four endangered marine turtle species including the Eastern Pacific Green & Black, Hawksbill, Leatherbacks and Olive Ridleys. With In-Situ and translocation techniques we protect marine turtle nests from poachers and hatch thousands of marine turtles every year.
Before sunrise, our patrolmen cover up turtle tracks so that poachers cannot locate sea turtle nests. But who better to work as patrolmen than poachers themselves? We hire poachers, train them, and bring them into our community. We provide them with a weekly stipend of 60 to 75 dollars plus an additional 20 dollars for every nest they locate. Now, ex-poachers have a job they can be proud of. Instead of illegally harvesting eggs, they protect a vital marine species from extinction.
The key to our success is education. We teach school children about the importance of marine turtle conservation to the preservation of our marine ecosystem and work with local communities on all aspects of conservation in order to change the imbedded cultural practice of sea turtle egg consumption.
But, poaching isn’t the only issue. One of the largest threats to sea turtle survival is marine plastic debris. Currently, there is 315 billion pounds of plastic in our oceans, which breaks down into tiny fragments. Sea turtles frequently ingest these fragments while foraging. The effects are deadly. The plastic causes blockages in the intestinal tract. Feces becomes trapped, leading to infection and death. In order to combat this issue, STF has created a marine plastic debris clean up system in Seaside, Oregon. By filtering the sand, STF volunteers can remove micro-plastics from beaches. We have teamed up with Engineers for a Sustainable World team at Northwestern University to develop a solution to this devastating problem.
Our hard work has paid off. Every year we move closer toward our goal of re-establishing the population of endangered marine turtles that nest on Punta Pargos. With your help, we can continue to preserve the sea turtle species.
What We Need & What You Get
Sea Turtles Forever runs on an annual budget of $20,000, which generally comes from grants, donations, fundraising events, and Marc and Rachel Ward's own salaries. But, this year it isn't enough. We need help. So we are asking you to get us half way to our annual budget: $10,000.
In exchange for your generosity you will get super special sea turtle perks. Check them out on the right!
Over the past 11 years Sea Turtles Forever has successfully implemented a turtle distress system and decreased the number of poaching incidents in Lagartillo Reef, Costa Rica by 90%. We have also established a marine plastic debris clean up system that will allow sea turtles to thrive in their current foraging and nesting grounds. Help us continue our work to save sea turtles from extinction!
Other Ways You Can Help
Spread the word! We understand if you can't spare a few bucks. But, please tell your friends about our campaign and our mission!
For more information: www.seaturtlesforever.org