Words by Smiley Team
Imagine taking a tour, going out on an adventure, and at the same time, you’re helping support conservation. It sounds like a dream come true, but with SEE Turtles that’s a reality.
“We started SEE Turtles as a way to help community-based sea turtle organizations fund their work through volunteer travel,” SEE Turtles President, Brad Nahill, tells Smiley News. “Our goal was to bring income to the conservation work and local communities and provide some volunteer support.”
SEE Turtles found its start back in 2008 when it was still an Ocean Conservancy project until it became its own independent organization in 2016.
“My colleague Dr. Wallace J. Nichols was the one to have the idea for SEE Turtles as he was working with fishermen in Mexico who were interested in becoming more involved in tourism and reducing the fishing they did,” Nahill tells Smiley News.
Since its start, SEE Turtles has helped an estimated 6 million turtle hatchlings.
“We’re now protecting well more than a million a year and are hoping to reach 3 million this year,” said Nahill.
SEE Turtles isn’t solely focused on programs for conservation tours. Since they went independent in 2016 they’ve expanded into providing funding for nesting beaches, doing work on ending the tortoiseshell trade, and helping fund projects to get plastic out of turtle habitats. Overall they’ve raised over $1 million for sea turtle conservation.
They even won the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Changemakers Award in 2019.
“(The award) really gave our organization a lot of credibility in the conservation and tourism worlds,” adds Nahill.
Their most recent endeavor is a recently released app, called SEE Shell, that uses machine learning to “differentiate real and faux tortoiseshell products.”
DONATE: You can support the organization by donating to save sea turtles across the US.
JOIN: You can also join in a sea turtle conservation tour to help endangered sea turtles yourself.