Nicodemus Wilderness Project
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Nicodemus Wilderness Project


NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Costa Rica

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Costa Rica
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Registered: February 2019
City/Town/Province: Bakersfield
Posts: 1
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Instead of the usual class schedule, taking notes, a Smithsonian Student Adventures representative came into our AP Environmental Science class. He introduced us to the idea of doing Ecological Community Service internationally. The furthest I had traveled from home was a seven-hour car drive. I was ready to try something new. I signed up for the turtle conservation program, through The Smithsonian, that took place in Costa Rica. As soon as I set my mind into signing up, I got a job in order to pay the $4,000 cost of the two weeks abroad.

The main purpose of the project was to protect the declining population of sea turtles, due to poachers and natural predators. While in Costa Rica, we were able to preserve 12 nests, 10 leatherbacks, and 2 green turtles. Sea turtles are important to the environment because they keep jellyfish and sponge populations at bay. They also transport nutrients and support other marine life.

Going into the trip was nerve-wracking, I didn't know anyone else on the trip or what I would have to do during the trip. The tasks of the project were physically and mentally draining as sleep was not a given. Volunteers had to do "night patrols", which could range from 10:00 pm until 4:00 am, and hatchery shifts, which were given in a 24-hour schedule. However, as soon as I saw the very first hatchlings emerge from the sand and then suddenly erupt in a sea of flippers, I realized the uniqueness of the experience. I explored a new culture, obtained three amazing friends that I still talk to, and learned to take more risks. Stepping out of my comfort zone and taking the risk provided me with the reassurance to keep trying new things.
Date: February 5, 2019 Views: 4968 File size: 15.2kb, 917.7kb : 1620 x 1080
Hours Volunteered: 525
Volunteers: 15
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 14 to 18
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