Community-based Marine Turtle Conservation in Parismina
I first visited the Asociacion Salvemos las Tortugas de Parismina (ASTOP) in 2013 and learned that the project was initiated by youth in the village and not by an individual or agency from outside the community. Locals took the initiative to do something about illegal poaching on their beach and they developed a model that provides financial support to the community. The primary challenge for this project is consistent funding to support the locals who work on the project. Funding is provided by people who visit the village to assist with the project by patrolling the beach at night, assisting with hatchery duties during the day, and working on community improvement projects in the village.
Amphibian and Reptile Research at Tirimbina Biological Reserve
Tirimbina Biological Reserve (TBR) is a non-profit organization that combines ecotourism, educational programs and scientific research to achieve its mandate “to protect a resource of exceptional biodiversity through environmental education and scientific research that engenders conservation”. The TBR consists of approximately 345 ha (852.5 acres) of Atlantic mid-elevation (pre-montane) wet rainforest. It is situated within the rainforest and river environments of the Sarapiquí River seven kilometres from the village of La Virgen. An extensive 9km (5½ mi.) trail system provides access to a variety of eco-types within the reserve. Only one third of the forest is used for ecotourism and environmental education. The remainder of the protected area is left naturally intact. I first conducted surveys in 2010 but did not return again until 2016. During that second visit, I learned that no consistent monitoring of amphibian and reptile populations was being conducted. That lead me to develop a Tropical Field Herpetology course that would educate and train participants in the field of herpetology while providing consistent monitoring efforts for TBR.