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
Headquarters

Mercado Municipal, Local nº22
4111 Santa Maria
Sal
Cape Verde

Reviews

Neil
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The hours are long, the tents are sandy and the turtles don't even say thank you.

However, the hard work is ultimately rewarding, with the knowledge that this work plays a very important practical role in the conservation of an endangered species.

There is also something to be said for how closely you will actually work with the turtles, providing a very rare opportunity to interact with such amazing animals up close. From measuring and tagging the adults, to releasing hatchlings to the sea.

Camp life itself is a great lesson in recycling and sustainability, with nothing going to waste and fewer home comforts than many are used to.

Days off offer a great opportunity to go diving, snorkelling, sample the night life and perhaps drink a beer or two in the sun.

Definitely worth it.

What would you improve about this program?
The only real improvement I can think of would be communication. Sometimes decisions were made or schedules changed without much advance warning. While this is understandable in some circumstances, it's always nice to have a solid idea of what you need to be doing.
Silvia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered with the project for two months during Summer 2018 and it truly was an amazing experience. It was my first time as a volunteer and I can honestly say I’d do it all again. Not only the project is very well managed but most importantly, it truly makes a difference in taking care of the environment and protecting sea turtles.
When I applied I was looking for a way to use my time to do something good and meaningful and I found it: during my time with the project I learned a lot about sea turtles, but also about Cape Verte and about myself. I had the chance to meet great people, to work with both nesting turtles and hatchlings and to explore the island and its most beautiful beaches, to snorkel in my time off and to work under a sky full of so many stars it always took my breath away other than providing with enough light to spot nesting turtles coming out of the water from a distance.
Living on the beach was one of my favourite parts of the whole experience, it was impossible to get bored with so many people around but at the same time I got a lot of time to think and make important decisions.
Working with sea turtles is fascinating, never boring, and can also be a lot of fun! It is physically demanding and requests a lot of walking but it’s definitely worth it. So if you’re looking for an adventure, for a way to make a difference and to learn don’t hesitate and join the project!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Just embrace the experience. Embrace everything with a positive an open attitude, take every chance to learn, to explore, to help. Embrace the sand that will end up in your shoes, clothes (yes even in your hair). Be open to get in contact with people from all over the world, speaking different languages and having different cultures and backgrounds, it is one of the best parts of the experience!
On a more practical side, make sure to have really warm clothes for patrols, the wind can get really cold during the night, especially when sitting with a nesting turtle: there is a lot of walking but also a lot of time spent working with these beautiful animals!
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Grégoire
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was volunteering with Project Biodiversity during the summer 2018, and for one month and a half. I had an amazing time there, I learnt a lot about loggerhead turtles, but also about people, and about myself.
By joining the Project I was looking for meaningful time abroad protecting our planet and I am more than happy that I have been a part of this project.
I would recommend anyone to go there and see by himself. Working with turtles was amazing. You will have plenty of time to learn a lot, discuss with people, get time for yourself during the day.
So if you are in good physical condition, if you are not afraid by walking nights, and if you want to have the unique chance to be useful to wildlife, evolve with great people and learn a lot, do not hesitate, join the project.
You can find plenty of volunteers that could tell you more about the project and the experience, and I am one of those who enjoyed the time there. If I had the opportunity to join the project again, I would not hesitate! :)

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing I saw was the number of turtle path on one of the beach we patrol on. You will see this on the next photos but at one point in the season you will have the chance to see a huge amount of nesting turtles.
Small insight : The morning turtle are the best !
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Andres
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I have been fortunate enough to join resident sea turtle biologist for nesting seasons around the world and this season, experience, was by far my favorite. I came as an experienced sea turtle biologist, with particular interest because I had not work with this species. Carreta Carreta or loggerhead. Even as a semi experienced sea turtle biologist I learned ALOT. it was a great and valuable experience for my future as a conservation biologist. The living situation, I do not want to say was hard but it depends on your type of personality. It was rustic. We slept in tents on the beach but we lucky enough to share a space with a Kite Boarding school. This gave us access to a kitchen and sitting area where during the day we could relax sit and the table, read, play games ect. Since we were on the beach and of course conservationist we tried to preserved resources as much as possible. We were allowed limited amount of bucket fresh water showers and limited access to fresh water to do laundry. Once a week we had a day off and the program was nice enough to rent us an apartment in town . There you could take a fresh water shower, enjoy restaurant food, the town and lay by the pool. For me , a fresh water shower once a week with ocean showers in-between was plenty. Others opted to take some fresh water bucket showers in-between. The season was incredible but prepare to work hard. We are all there for a passion for these animals and conservation and they need our help. There were sleepless night, arduous nights but with the support of my fellow field assistants and staff of the program it was one of the most rewarding expiernces of my life. I will never forget my time in Sal and with Project Biodiversidade.

What would you improve about this program?
There are certain people in higher position that I don't agree should be there. I believe in general teachers and good forms of teaching is under appreciated and some of the teaching staff should not be teachers. In addition I think after proving responsibility we should have more freedom to go into town. Connect with family and loved ones. We did nothing during the day most days and I never understood why it was such a "favor" to go into town outside of our one day off.
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Victor
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went to Project Biodiversity Hatchling season as a volunteer during 3 month and it was one of the best experiences of my live!

Volunteering it's always a great and richful experience but if you do that with a good NGO that knows how to do that and takes care of you, you'll enjoy it more. Thant's what Project Biodiversity is doing!

Hatchling season is amazing because brings you the opportunity to see, work/protect and help baby turtles!!
Work on this season is a little bit more relaxed than during the nesting season but anyway there's a lot to do. Morning patrols, hatchery nights taking care of the hatchlings, afteroon nest excavations are one of the jobs to be done.

In my opinion everything was quite good organized, so that helped a lot on our day by day. People involved in (staff, volunteers, etc...) were super nice and friendly which was also very grateful because work was so much easier and the free time sooo much funnier!

Definitely, an impressive and unforgettable experience with turtles that I recommend to everyone!

Programs

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