Brad has worked in ocean wildlife conservation and ecotourism since 1999, working for organizations including Ocean Conservancy, Rare, and EcoTeach. He co-founded SEE Turtles in 2008 as a way to help turtle conservation projects benefit from ecotourism and volunteer programs.
What is your favorite travel memory?
My favorite travel memory is taking my young (at the time) daughter to visit a sea turtle conservation project in Baja and to meet the friendly gray whales.
She had the chance to touch a gray whale which became my favorite photo I have ever taken. She also had the chance to help take care of a sea turtle which was then named after her. That trip was an incredibly emotional experience for both of us and our memories from that trip will last forever.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Since I helped launch SEE Turtles, my professional capacity has grown exponentially. To manage this organization, I need to be a fundraiser, marketer, tour guide, bookkeeper, and customer service specialist at the same time.
The most rewarding part of the job has been visiting many impressive conservation programs around Latin America and getting to know the dedicated conservationists working hard to protect sea turtles and other wildlife.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
We get lots of fun stories from previous travelers but my favorite is from this past summer when a high school student who came with her mom on a research trip to Belize.
She was one of the most engaged travelers we have had on a trip and I learned shortly after the trip that she had decided to pursue a career in marine biology because of her experience. We look forward to working with her in the field in the future!
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why
I love all of the trips we run but I think the most impactful one is to work with hawksbill turtles in Nicaragua. This population of sea turtles was considered by some to be basically extinct less than a decade ago, but a previously unknown nesting area in the Padre Ramos Estuary was discovered a few years ago and our partners have now saved nearly every egg for the past several years.
This trip gives travelers the unique opportunity to see all three life stages of sea turtles (hatchlings, juveniles, and adults) while interacting with the local community and truly helping to study and protect these critically endangered turtles. And the area is gorgeous, great for swimming, hiking, or kayaking and is very safe and quiet.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
SEE Turtles started as the first non-profit effort to support sea turtle conservation through travel.
Every trip benefits local conservation and research efforts and offers travelers the opportunity to meet and interact with local conservationists.
Since our launch, we have generated nearly $1 million in benefits to turtle conservation programs and nearby communities, completed more than 4,000 work shifts, and saved more than 1 million endangered turtle hatchlings.