Trinidad’s beaches are globally important nesting sites for critically endangered leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea); as part of our tourism and conservation initiative, Nature Seekers annually cleans the Matura Beach.
During the rainy season large quantities of debris and drift wood flow down the rivers and gather along the shoreline. Recognizing that the nesting process is hampered by debris on the beach, sometimes resulting in the turtles returning to sea without depositing their eggs, Nature Seekers has been championing the clean-up of a portion of the beach used as a nesting habitat, to eliminate this problem. This project involves the collection and removal of glass, plastic, metal and degradable materials from the 8 km shoreline, to facilitate successful nesting.
It also provides a safe environment for the seasonal turtle viewing program while supporting a sustainable community enterprise of repurposing litter into crafts. The waste glass collected on the beach will be converted into crafts by community members.
For over 20 years Nature Seekers Annual Beach Cleanup has created an opportunity for citizens of Trinidad & Tobago to assist in conservation efforts, to protect endangered sea turtles. Over the years the number of participating volunteers has increased, as more corporate groups, organizations, community groups and families become more aware of the importance of turtle conservation.
On the day of the event, volunteers are divided into teams led by Nature Seekers’ staff members. Debris and litter are collected and sorted: glass for repurposing, wood for burning, and everything else for disposal. With support from the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation the garbage is usually removed by the next day.
At the end of the clean-up we close off with the popular Sand Turtle Competition where groups with more than 10 volunteers registered in their teams. The sand turtle building activity is done in 20 minutes at which time volunteers will be ask to make a leatherback turtle in the sand. The competition is full of fun and excitement but most importantly it is done to raise awareness of our endangered species – the leatherback turtles. Trophies and prizes are given to deserving groups (largest/earliest/most kids) and winners of the competition
There will be food and crafts on sale.