CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Volunteers are needed for the Caretta Research Project to help with loggerhead sea turtle research and nesting and hatching during the sea turtle season of mid-May through August on Wassaw Island.
Throughout the summer, volunteers from all over the world will gather for one-week sessions at a time to patrol six miles of beaches on the lookout for female turtles that have emerged from the ocean to lay their eggs. Each turtle is measured and tagged. At-risk nests are relocated to a safer place in the sand dunes, and all nests are covered with screens to protect them from raccoon and hod predation. Because turtles lay their eggs at night, daytime is when the team sleeps and has free time to explore the island or relax.
From late-July through late-August, volunteers monitor the protected nests for signs of hatching and collect data. Three days after the hatchlings emerge, nests are carefully excavated and the unhatched eggs are counted. Hatching success is determined for each nest. The work varies with turtle activity, weather, and crew experience.
Accommodations are provided in rustic one-room cabins that sleep up to six people who share an indoor bathroom and an outdoor shower. The cabins do not have electricity. Meals are provided in a common cottage that does have electricity.
Volunteers must be at least 15 years old, in good health, with a positive attitude to put up with bugs, humidity, and group living accommodations. The cost is $825 per person per week, which includes boat transport to and from Wassaw Island, board, and conservation training.
To learn more, visit Caretta Research Project online.