Vincente Peña, biologist and manager of a sea turtle preservation camp in Mexico, explains why volunteering is more important than ever.
Volunteers have a primary role in the world of environmental preservation, which has sadly been affected by the travel restrictions put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Vincente Peña, 53 years old, a biologist in charge of a sea turtle preservation camp, says that while 176 volunteers helped run his project in the state of Nayarit, Mexico, in 2019, only four managed it in 2020.
His job and that of his colleagues has suddenly got much harder.
“The camp has been operating for 32 years and is run by people who take the cause of the sea turtles very seriously,” says the biologist. “We are keeping the camps operative even in the current situation, and will continue because this is our passion.”
Preserving the endangered species of sea turtles not only means making sure no one harms them when they come to the beach to build their nests, but cleaning kilometres of coastline and moving the eggs to a safe place until they hatch – along with many other tasks.
The turtle camp in Nayarit is still accepting volunteers, as well as many other camps all over the world. In fact, three out of the four participants this year were internationals from Greece, Russia and South Korea.
Vincente says it is important to have international volunteers throughout the year. “They provide a lot of help and make sure our message spreads across the world,” he says. “This is not a problem that affects only Mexico. The life of marine turtles is threatened by fishing all across the globe.”
With the possibility of foreign travel for residents of the UK from mid May, here are Floreo’s recommendations for environmental volunteering camps this summer.