San Pancho, Turtle News and Volunteers Needed at Costa Verde Ecological Group
Frank D. Smith - Ecological Group of Costa Verde

March 4, 2017

Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Readers ~

The last nesting season came to a sudden end on January 14th, when the last box nest hatched, with only one nest found on the beach in late January. Over the coming months there should be no natural hatching on the beach.

Oh, man, do we need volunteers!!! The chart below shows the dates that the program is in critical need of volunteers, especially in the early part of the season.

For many years, I have been asked to attend an annual gathering of volunteers and professionals dedicated to the protection of the marine turtle. However, not being able to speak Spanish that well, I held off until this years 19th Annual Reunion.

After seven hours of traveling in a private bus, twenty-seven of us arrived at the DIF conference center in Mazatlan joining hundreds of others. They came from points as far south as Zihuatanejo, México, up the Pacific Coast to the top of the Sea of Cortez, and down around the entire Coast of Baja California up to San Diego. Well over thirty marine turtle protection organizations and many nurseries were in attendance.

I observed many things that were surprising; most all the beaches in the above area were being protected. I was also amazed by the amount of in-depth detailed information we received over the three-day event. These unpaid volunteers were not amateurs but, rather, experts in their field. They know what they are doing and they are doing it well.

The event was well organized. Our hotel rooms were very comfortable and the food was outstanding. I also felt more than welcome during the entire event. On the evening of the second day, we were bused to a large buffet restaurant where a party was held including speakers.

At one point during the dinner, the young lady sitting beside me tapped me on the shoulder, “They’re talking about you.” I looked up and indeed they were. I was asked to come to the podium where I was presented with an award. I received one of two trophies given out each year. The award was for over twenty-five years of committed work in protecting the marine turtles, releasing over a million hatchlings and educating the community on the need to protect endangered wildlife.

As I returned to the dining table, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols. PhD, the world’s leading authority on the marine turtle biology and its protection, spoke to us in English. He told several stories of being one of our volunteers in 1995 and 1996, at which time he was a student of Marine biology at the Tucson State University. I was pleased and honored that our work was noticed by such a noteworthy person.

So, here we are again. It’s time to raise funds for another season. Aside from the selling of t-shirts, we depend heavily on the sale of our Homeowners Directory for funding. Unfortunately, over the past four years we’ve lost over 53 of our sponsors. By the end of this year, about 17 others may be dropped from the sponsor’s pages because they have either moved or no longer interested in donating.    

The ideal plan would be to enlist more sponsors/donors but, in the past, this approach has caused serious problems. I’ve learned the hard way. You can’t talk someone into becoming a sponsor/donor if they are not interested and in many cases that’s just what I had been doing over the past years. As a result, I found myself with 17 sponsors that give less than 115 pesos each year (minus the cost of publishing).

There are several solutions to this problem and several ways that you can help us. One, if you know of a new homeowner, friend, etc. that truly appreciates our work and would like to help us by contributing, let us know. Two, if you would like a directory and have not received one yet, come to my house and we’ll help you, or call and I will deliver. Three, if you are not interested in donating just tell me, I’ll understand.

Weather-wise: Daytime temperatures were mostly in the mid 70°s to mid 80°s, night time temps were at times down to 57°, but mostly between the low to high 60°s. The river at the town bridge has stopped flowing, just a little earlier than normal. The lagoon is still closed off to the sea, although unusually large and filling with water plants. On the early morning of the 19th, we received 1.01 inches of rain, also the total for the year.

Town and Country wise: As compared to the last decade, tourism this year is at its maximum. The peso by the end of the month has stabilized somewhat around the mid-19 pesos per dollar; regular gasoline in San Pancho was 16.6 pesos per liter. The resort at the old Costa Azul site is about finished and is exceptionally beautiful.            

Frank D. Smith, Director
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.
Project Tortuga
Tel. 311-258-4100

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