Blogger: Lili Kumar, Community Fundraising Assistant

Stephanie Miles, our Date with Nature Assistant from Sumburgh Head, Shetland, shares her experiences in support for Together for Trees our latest rainforest campaign.  Here Stephanie tells us about volunteering with sea turtles in Costa Rica which began her life in conservation.

I was awoken before my alarm at 4.45am. It was already too hot to sleep in the tin-roofed shack I was calling home for three weeks in July, in a nature reserve, 50km from the coastal town of Limon in Costa Rica.  Outside, the sun was about to rise and although I had been up until after midnight the night before patrolling the beach for nesting and hatching sea turtles, I was about to go out again for the morning shift.  Leaving the shack, I walked through the clearing in the rainforest to the beach to join the rest of the volunteers and the research assistant for our survey of green turtles.  Green turtles, unlike other the other species we surveyed for at night, hatch out around dawn making a quick dash to the sea before the temperature gets too high.  The adult females lay their eggs further up the beach than other species, actually within the rainforest itself, under the first line or two of trees, that here were a mixture of palms and flowering hibiscus, their flame-coloured blooms dull now in the pre dawn light.  As we conducted our 5km survey along the over grown track, we had to watch out for the many vipers and other beasties that called the rainforest home, especially the bushman, a snake said by locals to pursue and bite any unwary human that comes too close.  The sun rose, shining glorious orange light through purple clouds and lighting up the beach with its rays, already hot enough to burn my fair skin.  We hadn’t seen any green turtle hatchlings this time, but the fabulous foliage of the rainforest and the morning light more than made up for it and we looked forward to the night survey.



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