St. Kitts, one of two islands in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, is home to 34,930 people. Several populations of sea turtles–among the world’s most endangered species–use the island’s sandy beaches for nesting. Preserving these nesting beaches is vitally important, because female turtles typically return to the beach of their birth to lay their eggs. The St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network (SKSTMN) works to protect sea turtles and their habitats, including nesting beaches. It focuses on critically endangered leatherback and hawksbill turtles and the endangered green turtle.
SKSTMN has several conservation efforts underway, including an annual Sea Turtle Camp for youth, ecotourism programs, and regular beach cleanups. It also started a “bottle beads” program, which trains local entrepreneurs to make jewelry from glass collected on nesting beaches. Proceeds are used to further sea turtle conservation. Seacology partnered with SKSTMN in the bottle beads program.
Seacology is again joining with SKSTMN to establish a conservation information center at Keys Beach. The center will give both visitors and locals valuable information about sea turtles, the coastal ecosystem, and the importance of conservation. The center will also be a resource for teachers and school groups, provide shelter for researchers and tour guides, and serve as a showcase for the bottle beads merchandise. Seacology is funding construction of the center, which will use low-impact building materials and methods.