Project Bio Pic

Project Biodiversity

About

Projeto Biodiversidade is a young Cabo Verdean non-profit association that aims to implement a wide range of environmental programmes that will contribute to the preservation and restoration of the natural habitats of Sal Island, to increasing the opportunities for sustainable exploitation of its natural resources, and contributing to the scientific knowledge of the natural resources of the island.

As marine turtles are one of the most emblematic and threatened species in Cabo Verde, one of the key programmes of the association is the Turtle Conservation Program. Projeto Biodiversiade assumes the responsability of protecting marine turtles while encouraging community involvement and building the local economy in an environmentally sustainable way.

Founded
2015

Reviews

Default avatar
Matteo
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

If you want to work with baby turtles, this is the mission for you!

The hatching season represents a unique opportunity to work with baby turtles.

During this mission, I had to carry out night and morning patrols as well as excavations in the afternoon.

The best part of the mission was the nights when I was able to release hundreds of baby turtles into the sea and the magic of seeing them return to the sea in groups and helping those that had some difficulties.

During my 5 weeks of volunteering during the hatching season, I never got tired of seeing the birth of baby turtles, seeing them come out of the nest together was always a great moment and I think the images will stay with me for a long time!

As a volunteer, we are staying in a flat with several other volunteers and we have time to explore the different parts of the island and discover the local culture. Great moments shared.

I recommend the programme, the experience is really amazing and unique!

Pros
  • Uniqueness of experience
  • Working with baby turtles
  • Volunteering experiences
Default avatar
Matteo
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A unique and valuable experience

The nesting season is a unique opportunity to work with adult turtles and help protect their nesting period to ensure their survival and development.

During this volunteering I had the opportunity to carry out many tasks such as:
- The recovery of GPS coordinates of the turtles
- Searching for identification tags
- Measuring the turtles
- Relocation of endangered nests

During this volunteering, I had the opportunity to learn a lot about turtles and the different threats they face in the future.

What I remember at the end of the experience is all the information I got about the turtles and the good time I had with the volunteers.

I would recommend this programme to anyone looking for a unique experience that they will not soon forget!

Pros
  • Turtle knowledge
  • Sharing with volunteers
  • Experience
Default avatar
Timone
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly recommend going here! :)

As a veterinary medicine student I'm really interested in wildlife. I found the project via Google and came here for 2 weeks. I did 1 week of the nesting program and 1 week of the hatching program. I'm very glad that I did this because you are able to witness all the aspects of both worlds!

With the nesting program you stay in a tent at a camp at the beach. It's basic (no shower, sand everywhere) but I think that was really part of the experience as well! every night you will go on patrol on the beaches to look for nesting turtles. The feeling when you see one crawling up to the beach in the moonlight is really magical! You witness the entire nesting cycle of how they make the nest and lay the eggs. I learned a lot and everyone is very helpful and friendly! I liked the variety at the nesting camp, in the morning you are able to do nest relocations of the nest that were layed in the night before (that had to be moved because of the light pollutions for example). It was great to learn how to do a nest relocation and everything was a really special experience!

At the nesting program it's really magical as well to see the baby turtles hatch every night. One night we had more then 260 babys which is amazing! Watching all the little ones crawl to the water is something you will never forget!

Beforehand I was a bit worried how I would cope with the lack of sleep but it was fine! Durnig the day you can rest a lot so at night you are able to go on patrol again! :)

In conclusion I had an amazing experience and learned a lot about turtle conservation and the culture on the island of Sal!

Pros
  • Learning a lot about turtle conservation
  • Meeting amazing people
  • Have the time of your life
Cons
  • You have to be able to handle the lack of sleep but it's managable!
Default avatar
Emma
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

4 week volunteering experience

Got to learn a lot about the plants and animals on the island that the project was trying to protect such as sea birds, turtles, palm trees. Activities included a bird census checking nests in protected areas and putting rings on chicks and checking on turtle nests in the hatchery and releasing any babies that had been born in the night.
Provided with a modern apartment in the town centre for duration of stay and easy process for applying and making arrangments to come. Definitely made me consider doing something similar in the future!

Default avatar
Hannah
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with loggerhead turtles

This is definitely a once in a lifetime experience! The living conditions at camp are very basic and you work only during the night which means you never get enough “good” sleep, BUT if you prepare yourself mentally for these conditions this will be one of the most fullfilling things you’ll ever do! I had no experience with turtles prior to this, so it was even more stunning to see these gentle giants so closely. The people at camp were all very friendly and welcoming, but after months of doing nightshifts they had already been very exhausted and slept most of the day. The other volunteers and I tried to busy ourselves with playing volleyball, cleaning the beach, going for a swim or playing cards but all in all the possibilities at camp are very limited so you may get bored after a few weeks.
All in all I would encourage everyone who likes to work with sea turtles and can endure basic living conditions to join the programm. (duration of my stay: 3 weeks).

Pros
  • good for self-development
  • learn how to cope with basic living conditions
  • make new friends and working with turtles
Cons
  • lack of sleep
  • same meals for the whole stay (rice&pasta)
  • not enough activities during the day, getting bored easily

Programs

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Berta Renom

Job Title
Executive Director
Graduating as a marine biologist in Barcelona, she started her career as a conservationist in Costa Rica. After that, she arrived in Cape Verde as a volunteer for a marine turtle conservation NGO, and she didn't leave the country. Berta is one of the founders of Project Biodiversity, and she's been its director for 7 years.
Berta Renom volunteering on the beach

What is your favorite travel memory?

Traveling always brings you unforgettable experiences that crystalize as unique memories, but I guess that the ones that impress the most come from the first big trips that one takes.

One of my favorites is my volunteering experience with the Olive Ridley turtle in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica. At first, it was truly hard to get used to the night shifts, the long walks carrying bags of eggs, the sand fleas, and the Gallo-pinto; but at the same time the landscape and the people who we were with at the station were, and the feeling of contributing to something bigger was so incredible, that I had to pinch myself constantly to make sure I was not dreaming.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Professionally, I've discovered that I have many skills that wouldn't know or wouldn't be developed if I wouldn't in this position. We started Project Biodiversity from scratch, with no resources and barely any funds, and the need for survival, together with a strong belief in our vision, pushed us to navigate unknown venues, in which I have been able to grow my natural organizational and mediatory skills.

Learning from my mistakes, from listening to others, and from successes, has given me a solid foundation for carrying on my job.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

One of our favorite stories, which is really inspiring, is Caroline's story: she joined the marine turtle protection campaign for two weeks in 2019. Despite a relatively short stay, the experience she had was so impactful that she decided to change the course of her professional career on her return.

After several years in the management of QHSE (Quality, Hygiene, Safety, Environment) risks in the industry, she decided to deepen into the Environmental side and specialized in sustainable & ecological habitats. She's currently fully dedicated to actively promoting sustainable development!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I am going to get involved soon in the Marine Monitoring Programme, which is starting in mid-2022. Performing the director role has kept me away from the field for long years, despite that, I always tried to squeeze some time for it when I could. As a marine biologist, I've been missing the more direct contact with the ocean.

I always like to join activities in as many programs as possible, as I like to be involved from within (it helps to know your organization better), but I must admit that I have a weakness for the Marine Turtle Conservation Programme, as turtles were the reason that brought me to Sal in the first instance, and the reason to create Project Biodiversity.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

It is unquestionable that one of the bigger strengths of Project Biodiversity is our resilience and an extremely strong commitment to our mission. We all share this innate spirit that pushes us to go beyond what could be considered "enough"; we only know to stop when the objectives are achieved, helping each other to achieve them.

I've felt my dreams become true on many occasions along these years, and it has always been possible thanks to teamwork. Even at this point in which the organization has wrong to have more than 15 permanent staff, we still feel that we're like a family.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe that what makes Project Biodiversity unique -our strong commitment, is also the key factor for its success.

We have a broad and inclusive vision: in our context, we do not understand conservation as an isolated concept, or as an oppositional action. Instead, we intend to make conservation part of everyone's lives, encouraging the involvement of all spheres of society, from governmental institutions to the private sector, to the local community, and to the international community and volunteers.

We understand that conservation is not only a conservationist's thing but everyone's responsibility for a better world.