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SEE Turtles was launched in 2008 as the world's first effort to protect these species through ecotourism by conservationists Dr. Wallace J. Nichols and Brad Nahill. Originally begun as an Ocean Conservancy project, SEE Turtles was later fiscally-sponsored by the Ocean Foundation and most recently Oceanic Society.
The funds raised from the SEE Turtles project will be disbursed equally between the following 4 projects:
1. Osa Conservation: the Osa Conservation Sea Turtle program monitors and protects two important nesting beaches stretching 6.5 km in the Southern Pacific of Costa Rica. The organization conducts regular beach clean ups and works with the local community to find uses for this waste. To date, they have provided 10 light guardians made from recycled plastic to hotels on the Osa Peninsula to reduce light pollution on these beaches (which can impact nesting) and donate materials to a women’s group to make recycled jewelry products for sale.
· A Precious Plastic machine which will greatly increase the amount of plastic they can process, which includes a shredder and extruder
· Molds to create new products.
2. Tortugas de Osa: working on the next step in the development of a plastic recycling project. Overall, the goal is to develop a community recycling center to remunerate material drop-offs from local people and hire more employees to manage and process plastic waste.
· Fund the cost of two local employees to manage the recycling center
· Hold 3 educational workshops for local communities
· Purchase a sheet making machine that will allow the organization to create useful items to sell including chairs, table tops, and other durable products.
3. Wildlife Conservation Association: local recycling pick-up is carried out by Nosara Recycles, a community-based initiative funded by small private donations. The organization currently employs two local people and is struggling to keep afloat. The aim is to create new sources of income for organizations, supporting their long-term operation and the creation of more jobs. By giving a percentage of sales to the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, they will further support sea turtle conservation by providing additional resources to carry out and enforce conservation in the area.
· Purchase a plastic shredder and extruder, which will allow the organization to recycle products on site instead of sending them to the city at high costs to the organization. These machines will be used to create new products that will be sold to support the organization’s turtle conservation programs.
4. Centro de Rescate de Especies Marinas Amenazadas (CREMA): Since 2019 CREMA has collaborated with a community initiative led by Aníbal Cortés García, a community leader that is responsible for collecting, classifying, and sending waste to collection centers from 14 coastal communities. They have managed to carry out more than 100 beach clean ups, collecting and transporting to collection centers more than 7 tons of waste.
· Organized beach clean ups with 20 volunteers each, collecting an estimated 1,000 kilos of plastic waste and transporting it to be recycled. Funds will cover volunteer costs including transportation and two meals during the clean up day, along with equipment, transport rental, and fuel.