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Community Based Organization

Organization Location: 
Fundacion Yepez
  • Nautla, Mexico
Spanish, English
Organization Description
Fundación Yepéz A. C. is a non-profit organization dedicated to sea turtle conservation as well as other community conservation projects through sustainable methods. We also manage other environmental projects such as reforestation, beach cleaning campaigns, recycling programs, environmental education etc. Our main goal is to help protect sea turtles in our area by patrolling the beach which is a vital nesting habitat.

The founders of this project started to protect and save sea turtles in 1967 at our sanctuary in Veracruz, Mexico. Thanks to them and their hard work, we still have the opportunity to continue this critically important battle, to help save the turtles from extinction.

Between March and October we patrol the beach ( at different time depending on the season and species nesting). Our volunteers help patrol parts of the beach by foot both to protect the adult sea turtles and if a nesting turtle is found, with her nest in a risk zone, the eggs will be collected and relocated into a hatchery.

The local staff and volunteers carry out the important work of locating the nest, its relocation and the making of a new artificial nest. Other nests are marked on site by the volunteers to be able to identify their location later and hatched nests are checked to make sure all hatchlings have made it to the sea. Managing the hatchery is a large part of the job to make sure any hatched turtles are collected to be released into the ocean.

At the center volunteers help caring for the nests and hatchlings as well as maintaining the facilities. Additionally, volunteers are involved in the daily operations to keep the running of the project smoothly (this could involve cleaning, gardening, kitchen work, painting, maintaining, beach cleaning etc., depending on season and needs).

Night Patrols
A group of volunteers, led by an experienced patrol leader, walk or sometimes patrol by quadbike different sectors of the beach searching for nesting females. An average night patrol will take from 2 to 4 hours but can last longer in case of sea turtle encounters. Once a turtle is encountered on a night patrol, the volunteers are able to witness the magic of the nest laying of course without disturbing the nesting female and collect the eggs when necessary and help the patrol leader collect the data needed. The number of eggs, nest location and turtle identification information (tag number when found) are then recorded by the hatchery attendant for further data analysis.

What other jobs will you do?
There are plenty of day to day tasks to be done at the sanctuary ranging from cleaning and maintenance to administration, arts and crafts both for the little souvenir shop and keeping both indoor and outdoor spaces clean and tidy. The projects vary from season to season and past volunteers have built greenhouses, planted trees and painted buildings, built “palapas” as well as participated in various environmental events. If you have any special environmental skills or tricks we would love for you to share them with us.

We run many different environmental projects from the sea turtle conservation to reforestation and from recycling to beach clean ups. Environmental education is also one of our main objectives and we have thousands of visitors each year, so you will probably take part in receiving groups of school children or students, depending on the activities we have scheduled at that time. You may participate in a large beach cleanup campaign or simply clean the beach with your group, you may help collect mangrove seeds from the beach to plant later or you may plant the seeds that were collected by a group before you. There may be schools visiting and you might help us receive them, the options are many and it really depends on the activities that have been scheduled for the time you arrive, seeing as we do not organize our work around the volunteers but the volunteers help according to the needs at the time.

Our infrastructure is fairly basic but comfortable, our volunteers stay in shared rooms or in tents, depending on their own preference. Some rooms have private bathrooms and other have shared bathrooms and beach showers with an ocean view. We have kitchen staff who prepare the food although volunteers are also welcome to help out. There is a large dining room as well as plenty of outdoor space to enjoy the delicious Mexican food and hammocks to chill in after dinner. Our centre is 50m from the beach so you will probably want to jump into the ocean at some point every day!
Education, Environment
Skills Needed
independence, auto motivation, Spanish, team work
Accommodation Provided - Minimum Stay: 2 weeks
Average Cost per Week ($USD)
$385 per week
Estimate only - contact this Organization for actual costs to Volunteer
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • 3 Meals per Day
  • Airport Pickup and Drop Off
  • Internet

Costs do not include Flights, Visas, Vaccinations, Insurance, Spending Money, 2-Meals-per-Day, 1-Meal-per-Day, Volunteer-Hostel, Homestay, Local-Transport
Peppi Stünkel


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