Project Bio Pic

Project Biodiversity


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.



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Yes, I recommend this program

Project Biodiversity : Island Conservation / Seabirds Volunteering

By saying that the initially planned 8 weeks working for the Project turned into 10 weeks, it is already clear that I loved it :)

My aim was to be able to work hands-on in the field of nature and environment conservation and this is exactly what I had the opportunity to do by volunteering for Project Biodiversity. During my time there, we were working on monitoring different species of seabirds and the amazing field technicians taught me all the manipulations for the ringing and the sampling of the birds. We were also working on the conservation of endangered endemic palm trees and the realisation of new paths, which should avoid people from destroying the dunes by driving everywhere. These works took place in many different areas of the island. I therefore had the opportunity to see so much more of Sal than any touristic island tour is offering, from hidden beaches to the top of Serra Negra and Monte Leão.
The work could sometimes be hard and tiring, but the final aim is giving great motivation.

After these 10 weeks, I came back home happy, with a lot of new knowledge and experience and also way more muscles :)
I am really grateful for all the wonderful moments and new friends that this adventure gave me. Thanks to all of you for everything !!

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Yes, I recommend this program

The BEST Summer of My Life

The most beautiful beaches I've ever seen, magnificent mama sea turtles every day, jaw-dropping sunrises, the calming sound of ocean waves, an incredibly vibrant and kind group of people, the best summer of my life. This experience was absolutely life changing, and has inspired me to pursue similar conservation jobs working with sea turtles around the world. Not only that, but this experience provided me with some of the best people, many of whom I still talk to on a weekly basis. While this experience is tough at some times, I entirely believe that it is 10000% worth it. I know that I will look back at this experience as one of the best for years to come.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I knew that I would be working with sea turtles, but I did not realize how close we were going to be to them so frequently! Walking down the beach in the dark and seeing a turtle track every 10 feet or so was just astounding. Also learning about the habits and intellectual intuition about the sea turtles was so amazing! They are truly beautiful creatures and I feel so lucky to have seen so many of them in just a few short weeks on Sal Island.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Gateway to a fabulous experience

Whether young or older this is a fabulous programme. If you want to mix with a lovely community, work alongside amazing people and experience the wonder of helping beautiful creatures then this is for you. Tough, rewarding and a forever memory. Just be prepared to get stuck in, work as a team and soak up every moment. I had the pleasure of working alongside fellow volunteers who I remain in contact with. We all share the desire to return to the island to meet again. Be prepared to meet people who will make you a better person :)

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I’d definitely have looked to try and spend longer on the programme.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Would recommend

Perfect place and opportunity to get hands on experience with turtles and turtle hatchlings. This programme does not give you a secondary or an assistant role when it comes to collecting data, you come face to face with hundreds of turtles and gather countless data.

Living together with everyone was an amazing experience because you really got to know people really well and be there for their best and worst moments, which created really solid friendships. And you get to work, swim and watch the sunrises together!

What was your funniest moment?
When me and my patrol buddy found a turtle without a butt and had to help her deliver her eggs while guarding her from other turtles who were trying to nest in the same place. We were so confused and had to improvise but it turned out to be a really funny experience
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Yes, I recommend this program

A very great experience

Being in Capo Verde with project biodiversity was a very very great experience. I learned a lot about turtles and share with others volunteers. Can release baby turtles at night and at sunshine was really unbelievable. The association take care of their volunteer, help us to plan our trip, to discover the city, to talk a better english :)
It's a really human and engaged association, if you like turtles, if you want to do something usefull AND really enjoy it, Project Biodiversity is the one to choose !!

What was your funniest moment?
My first night shift. It was dark and i had more than an hundred turtles to release, but with the city lights, all of them don't go immediatly to the ocean. Imagine, me, with my headlamp on the beach, running after dozen turtles to not forget any of them, and, VLAM, big wave on me, my shoes and my pants.
( finally, all of the turtles returned to the sea :)


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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.