PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — In September, Nature Foundation representatives gave a presentation to the staff members of Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Coral Beach Club, Beach Cleaning Foundation and Windward Roads about sea turtles, their nesting habitats, and how to protect them. During the presentation, the participants learned about sea turtle behaviour, nesting, conservation, and protection.
“We are very thankful to both Mr. Ricardo Perez and Ms. Ingrid Rosengren for facilitating this training for their staff and our community. One of the most important aspects of the work we do is educating the public so that there is a better understanding of the importance of protecting and preserving St. Maarten’s natural environment,” stated the Nature Foundation.
The presentation started off by a short introduction about the Nature Foundation and its staff members. After this, more detailed information was given on different aspects of sea turtle species, their nesting and hatching behaviour, and how to protect them. The staff was taught how to detect sea turtle tracks, by being shown different pictures of tracks, false crawls, and actual nesting.
Everyone was very shocked by the fact that only 1 out of a 1000 sea turtles make it to adulthood. To visualize this, the group played a short game, comparable to a lottery. All participants were given 10 tickets, which resulted in a total lottery of more than 100 tickets. Every round, 10 tickets were randomly drawn, symbolizing 10 turtle deaths after a certain event. For example, the first 10 sea turtles died by a truck driving over the nest and crushing the eggs. The second unfortunate event that happened was someone sticking a beach umbrella in the sand, and thereby stabbing 10 sea turtle eggs to their death. The game continued, until eventually only one sea turtle/lottery ticket made it safely to adulthood. Note that this game was played with only 100 sea turtles/tickets, and that the number of surviving sea turtles is even lower.
The surviving sea turtle received a prize, and opportunity was given for the participants to discuss St. Maarten’s sea turtles and how they must be protected. It was a very enlightening afternoon, and we thank Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Coral Beach Club, Beach Cleaning Foundation and Windward Roads staff members for their active engagement.
We want to encourage other resorts on Sint-Maarten to educate their staff on sea turtle nesting and hatching behaviour, as this will greatly improve their nesting success. Ricardo Perez, President of the Beach Cleaning Foundation stated “We are very thankful for the great work Nature Foundation does for St. Maarten and for the orientation given to our staff so we can do our part in assisting conserving our environment”