In Situ Research and Conservation Programme
The TCP initiated a new turtle conservation project in Kosgoda (Southwest coast) & Rekawa (South Coast) of Sri Lanka. You will work in conjunction with the local community members to encourage a safe nesting beach for the 5 species that nest there. Research assistants are required to work demanding shifts, night or day, on the beach. In addition you will be expected to be involved in the standard research and data collection as well as any new research endeavors that we wish to initiate. Previous marine turtle experience is preferable though not essential as volunteers will be provided training by a qualified professional where required.
Mangrove Growth and Replenishment Programme
The Community Environmental Education Trainers (CEET’s) trained by TCP, have established mangrove nurseris in Rekawa, Kosgoda and Kalpitiya. The main goal of this program is to reforest the locally degraded mangrove through seedlings generated in the nurseries. The second goal is to develop sustainable methods of mangrove utilization for local people. The nurseries currently houses approximately 10000 young plants of species Rhizophora mucronata. Once the young plants take root and are strong enough (after approx. 3 months) they are replanted in a number of selected sites in which the existing mangroves have been destroyed principally by human interference.
Model Medicinal Gardens
The CEET’s have also established model medicinal gardens in the Rekawa School and in the Principal’s garden. The aim of establishing these gardens was for dual purposes: promoting increased awareness of the medicinal uses of local plants and secondly, the exploration and development of the possibilities for income generation through the sale of fruit and medicinal plants themselves or the products they produce.
Volunteers interested in workingwithin this realm of the TCP will be encouraged to assist with the growth, distribution and educational potential of the plants grown within the garden as well as exploring income development opportunities. A third garden is currently being established at Panadura Temple. Volunteers are in the process of transplanting seedlings and established plants to the garden, and monitoring their growth.
Turtle Night Watch Programme
The Turtle Nest Protectors at the Rekawa Rookery rely heavily on tourist donations to make up their salaries. Eco-tourism provides both vital income as well as promoting conservation awareness. Volunteers who have previous marketing experience would be valued in developing this area further (experience preferred but not essential).
Volunteers are required to work on Eco-Tourism at the new site, Kosgoda. Here the volunteers have to support the program from the beginning and will involve aspects of leaflet and advertising design, liaising with local hotels and guesthouses and conducting presentations and talks to tourists at these hotels. Volunteers may also be involved in the English classes and “turtle work” if they desire.
The TCP has been offering English classes to Rekawa villagers since January of 1994 and there continues to be a great demand for it, especially from the community members who are employed by the TCP within research and conservation activities. These classes also serve to help improve employment prospects of other participating community members in non-resource dependant jobs and therefore reduce community dependency on environmental exploitation. Classes are also an important means to further conservation awareness. Basic communications skills and every day conversational English is the focus.
Volunteers may also participate in English classes at Panadura Temple, if they are working at the Panadura site. Here we offer free, after-school English lessons to schoolchildren. This is simply a community-based project rather than Turtle orientated.
Should any students (at any educational level) wish to take the opportunity to undertake their own research for school/university modules, we at TCP provide all the opportunity and as much help and advice as possible. All that we ask is that you use any spare time you may have to help on any our projects. We request that any data or information collected as part of the individual research be made available for our records, to help in further research we may undertake. We also ask to be sent a copy of any reports produced to keep among our records. None of our voluntary programs are rigid; volunteers can choose an individual program or participate in different ones to gain maximum experience.
The Eco Team would prefer volunteers who would like to volunteer for at least 6 months, although shorter and longer terms are also available. We believes that volunteers should stay no less than 3 months, which we believe is the minimal amount of time needed to enable the volunteer gain sufficient experience and for TCP and to gain the best help for its programs.