About our Deep Ecology and Sea Turtle Conservation Programme
This is a brand-new programme and there is so much to do, so you’ve chosen a great time to get involved. Join the team on their journey to create a sustainable living space fit for the 21st Century, as they build on a decade’s experience running volunteer programmes and conservation projects to offer you the most dynamic and rewarding experiences.
Meet the team
Rebe (Costa Rica) and Rob (UK) are the founders of the ecological community, and they live permanently on-site and run the volunteer programme.
Rebe is a psychology graduate, yoga instructor and vegan chef, and has years of experience in hotel management and HR. Rob has a PhD in biochemistry and has 10 years’ experience running conservation and regenerative agriculture projects. A Jack-of-all-trades, he learnt most of his construction skills and crafts while living in Costa Rica and has a wealth of knowledge regarding travelling and volunteering in Central America.
We are currently focusing on three areas of work and volunteers will be able to get involved with all three, depending on what time of year you come to work:
The agro-ecological farm is at the heart of the community, and there is lots of varied work to do as we create sustainable farming systems and experiment with regenerative agriculture, permaculture and ecological construction. Activities include collecting and germinating seeds, transplanting, weeding, composting, capturing microorganisms, producing fertilisers and repellents, harvesting and processing (and eating) organic food, and constructing and maintaining infrastructure.
Sea Turtle Conservation (July to December)
We work with a community-based sea turtle conservation project where volunteers conduct activities such as night patrols, beach cleaning, relocating nests and releasing baby turtles. We also manage the data and reporting for the project and provide free training courses and talks to local staff, volunteers and tourists.
Forest Protection and Re-Wilding
We support the Ministry for the Environment (MINAE) by protecting the Punta Ganadito forest reserve, maintaining trails and signage, planting native trees, and monitoring the abundant biodiversity on our doorstep.
When is the best time to come?
Volunteers are needed all year round for the regenerative farming, forest protection and re-wilding work, whereas the sea turtle conservation work only takes place from July to December. It’s possible to see adult turtles nesting from July to October, and baby turtles from September to December.
The weather on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica is generally dry and sunny from December to April, with mixed weather (sunshine and rain) from May to September, and the peak rainy season in October and November. Many tour operators and hotels close during the months of October and November and conditions can be tough, but it’s also when there is most work to do with the turtle project.
Sea Turtle Season Month-by-Month
July and August
July and August are all about preparing the sea turtle hatchery and starting night patrols. In July, work is mostly during the day and activities include construction, beach cleaning, placement of reference posts, repairing equipment, and organising the camp. There is also daytime work available with the regenerative farming and biodiversity monitoring projects. Morning patrols (track censuses) take place every day until nests are found, after which night patrols begin in mid-July. The weather is hot, humid and sunny with frequent but short downpours.
September and October
The peak of the Olive Ridley nesting season is also the peak of the rainy season, so be prepared for lots of turtles but also some extreme weather! Heavy rain affects everything, but the challenge is all part of the fun. It is not for everyone though and volunteers need to have patience and take the rough with the smooth – Pura Vida! Work is mostly during the night so there is lots of downtime in the day, although morning patrols continue and there is daytime work with the regenerative farming and biodiversity monitoring projects.
November and December
As the number of females nesting slowly comes down, the number of babies hatching increases. There is much more work to do in the hatchery and less work to do on the beach, and night patrols normally finish by the end of November. As the rainy season passes its peak the weather slowly gets better too. November can still be wet an rainy but by the end of December the days are generally dry and sunny again. December is the peak tourist season in Drake Bay and the annual sea turtle festival normally takes place the first weekend.