Sea Turtle Conservation in Sri Lanka
Availability: All year round
Project Start Date:Saturdays
Project Work Days:Monday to Fridays (weekends are free)
Support:Program Manager gives training on arrival, our project coordinator goes with the volunteers daily and the turtle hatchery staff are also actively involved in providing guidance and direction during the time you spend there.
Minimum Project Duration: 1 weeks
Maximum Project Duration: 12 weeks
Conservation volunteering is a great way of gaining knowledge and learning, discovering a new country, and getting to know a new culture, whilst doing your bit to save the environment at the same time. Sri Lanka has several nesting beaches for sea turtles and unfortunately poaching from humans, predators and dogs can be a common occurance if unsupervised. In addition with increased tourism and fishing activities turtles also get caught in fishing nets and get injured. To safeguard against this and to provide care for the well-being of sea turtles, the Sri Lankan government have authorised several turtle hatcheries along the country’s western and southern coastline.
The main purpose of the hatchery is to provide for the overall well-being of the sea turtles and increase their numbers through conservation efforts. This includes monitoring the mother turtles when they show up to hatch, preserving the eggs once laid from predators and poachers, providing a safe haven for hatchings to occur, caring for the baby turtles and releasing the healthy ones into the ocean and caring for sick and injured turtles by providing them with a clean environment and feeding them every day. While these hatcheries engage in conservation efforts to support the sea turtles ecosystem, it is important to note that they also rely on contributions from tourists (who visit these hatcheries to learn about sea turtles) to earn a living as they receive little to no funding fromt the government to maintain their operations.
Having volunteers support these hatcheries through their efforts is very valuable for their sustainability and also goes a long way in helping them financially as fees are given to these hatcheries as a placement fee for each volunteer.
On this program, as a volunteers you will perform a range of activities that are essential for the smooth running of the sea turtle hatchery. These include, but are not limited to, depositing/burying the eggs safely in the egg farm, filling up tanks with fresh ocean water on a regular basis, cleaning the tanks and feeding the turtles perioidcally. You also do beach cleaning once every two weeks or so, which involves a thorough cleaning of the part of the beach where the mother turtles nest their eggs, in order to provide them with a safe and clean nesting space. Volunteers also get to release baby and young turtles into the ocean before leaving.
Additionally, we also do special community awareness projects in rural schools and communities to educate the general public about coastal and marine life. During nesting season which is December to April usually, night camps are organised where the entire group camps out in tents on the beach to watch the turtles lay eggs.
Volunteers on the sea turtle conservation program work Monday to Friday either early morning or late afternoon shifts which last for 2-3 hours a day. On the weekends you can explore the beautiful country of Sri Lanka and visit the beaches for Surf lessons or go diving. This program is suitable for families, solo travellers, students, friends and marine conservation enthusiasts.
All The Details
Galle, Sri Lanka
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All our rates are in USD $ per person
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- Airport transfers : Pick-up and drop*
- Accommodation in our volunteer house**
- Experienced bilingual local staff team
- All Meals
- Location orientation on arrival
- Project training on arrival
*Only Saturday Airport Drop and Pick up is included. If you arrive on any other day there is an additional charge of $70 for the airport transfer to Galle or to the airport.
**During busy months we may accommodate you in alternative housing near our volunteer villa
Whats Not Included in your program fee :
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Local excursions
Rishad is a part of our core operations team in Sri Lanka. Young, energetic and extremely driven, Rishad is central to handling volunteer projects and he will be doing your on arrival training. He is also key in program development and has led some fantastic community drives including recently creating a classroom for after school club in our local school. Rishad is a real gem of a person and you will love his caring and calm nature.
Falik is one of a kind and has one of the most pleasing personalities you will meet in Sri Lanka. With a background of living and working in the UK and then moving back to Sri Lanka, Falik is ideal to help our volunteers feel at home quickly. Falik will not only help you on the projects but will immerse you in the culture and local activities. He loves the outdoors and often takes our volunteers night fishing, cricket or other for bbqs! We can assure you Falik will become your best friend in Sri Lanka very soon!
- The nearest airport for this program is Colombo International Airport (CMB) and you need to arrive on a Saturday. If you arrive on any other day there is an additional charge of $70 for the airport transfer to Galle.
- We recommend you apply for E-Visas Tourist Visa before you arrive but you can also get this on arrival.
- Travel Insurance is compulsory on this program.
What Happens When I Arrive?
Living Arrangements for Volunteers in Sri Lanka:
You will be living in our 9-bedroom volunteer villa in shared rooms (4 to 6 in a room), with a separate kitchen, dining room, recreation area, front lawn and private terrace. The house is located in a laid-back neighbourhood of Galle, surrounded by lush greenery and tropical beauty. It is only 8-10 minutes from historic Galle Fort and the beach is just a 10 min walk from our house. Our office is located on the ground floor and our local team consisting of a program manager, an operations manager, various project coordinators, in-house chef that cooks 3 fresh meals a day, cleaning staff, van and driver.
Meals are in house and prepared with fresh ingredients available locally and seasonal. Breakfast is usually pancakes or eggs or at times Sri Lankan milk rice with fruits. Lunch and Dinner is traditional Sri Lankan curry with rice or hoppers or bread. Meals are served with salad and fruits to ensure you are getting a healthy meal.
Our local staff organize several weekend excursion trips to nearby beaches, elephant safaris in Uduwalawa, whale watching in Mirissa, rainforest hiking in Sinharaja, specialized local cooking classes and paddy field bike tours.
It is hard to find a more scenic and strategically better located town in Sri Lanka than Galle(where your going to be living), which lies in close proximity to some of the most gorgeous beaches in Asia such as Mirissa, Tangalle, Ahangama, Bentota, Weligama. Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, etc. Most beaches are for surfing and swimming.
Why Our Volunteers Love Us!
‘My experience in India was absolutely fantastic. Having never done anything like this before, Volunteering Journeys made sure I settled in well and supported me throughout my time. Being placed with an amazing family gave me the chance to experience Indian culture first hand. I was part of the Disabled Childcare Programs for two weeks. Although short, I felt the time I spent was so valuable for the children. If this is something that you are interested in I would 100% recommend it. The memories, friendships and experiences you will develop will be ones that you will never forget.’
‘The teaching experience was second to none. I was overwhelmed by the respect and politeness all the children have, which made it some much easier to work with them, even with the language barrier. The amazing thing about the schools I visited was that all the children are like little sponges, they absorb everything you say, teach and do! It’s quite outstanding how much they gain from just a small conversation in the playground or in the class room.
So in general if you are questioning whether you want to volunteer and you don’t know what company to go with, it has the be Volunteering Journeys. You will be well looked after, gain an immense experience and make friends for life!!!’
‘I took a short sabbatical from work in November 2013 and decided to come to India. I was helping at a small school in Fort Kochi, teaching English, Maths, Science and the odd nursery rhyme. The school where I volunteered had amazing teachers and the kids were great. Ridhi and the team organised everything brilliantly – from cycling tours to the backwaters, to hosting me with a family that made my stay feel like home. If you’re going to volunteer in India then I highly recommend Volunteering Journeys’
“J’ai passé deux mois formidables à Kochi en travaillant comme volontaire avec Volunteering Journeys. Deux mois de ma vie que je n’oublierais jamais. J’ai rencontré des gens incroyables et participé à des projets qui me tenaient vraiment à coeur. J’ai pu voir l’aboutissement de mes efforts et le sourire sur le visage des enfants. Une expérience magique que je recommande à tous. Merci Rainbow”
‘I spent 3 wonderful weeks with the Volunteering Journeys team in Kerala, it marked the beginning of almost 2 months adventuring through India, and I can say without a doubt it was one of my favourite experiences of my time spent in incredible India! From the moment my plane landed and I was greeted by a friendly face and whisked away to a wonderful home, the local staff were incredibly welcoming, helpful, supportive and great fun to be around!
I spent my time volunteering in 2 local schools, assisting with English studies. The enthusiasm and joy with which the children approach their days will ensure you never want to leave!I cannot recommend Volunteering Journeys highly enough, it was such a joyful introduction to India – it’s culture, people and crazy beautiful way of life. You will leave with some fond memories and firm friendships’
‘I volunteered by teaching English both at a school and at an all girls’ orphanage for two months. It has been the best experience of my life so far. I really got to know the children I was teaching and seeing the children’s English improve over my time was an incredible feeling. From being introduced to yoga to tasting delicious flavoursome Indian cuisine and living in “God’s own country”, has left me eager to return. I have made friends across the World who made my time spent in Kerala unforgettable. I highly recommend volunteering with Volunteering Journeys; Kerala is beautiful and you will gain fun memories.’
‘I spent two weeks running an art workshop which was absolutely fantastic. The children were so enthusiastic and bustled about with paste and paint, putting together the most amazing creations. They were not used to producing collaborative work and were thrilled when their individual efforts achieved a glorious whole. Their personalities really shone through and I became very fond of them in the short time I was with them. Thank you to Volunteering Journeys for enabling me to have such a wonderful experience!’
‘There is some kind of magic that happens when you’re in India. The climate, the people, the warm welcome, the happiness in every person, the culture, it’s simply inspiring. On top of that having a group of friendly, thoughtful organizers guiding me through the program made my time volunteering with Volunteering Journeys one of the most memorable moments in my life.
If anyone reading this is considering becoming a volunteer, don’t hesitate, become a volunteer. It will be the most rewarding experience and adventure of your life. I assure you that you will have a vital impact on the community, the place and the children. I would recommend Volunteering Journeys without hesitation. Well organized and hassle free adventure. You get help and guidance with everything you need. Kerala was my destination. Safe, beautiful and very friendly. Just do it and have an adventure of your life!’
“Volunteering at the schools was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Once again the friendships you create are irreplaceable. Admittedly, the first few days were scary, in the sense that my partner and I were only 18 & 20 yrs old and we were teaching women and children a language that was not their first. However the persistence and willingness of Indians is not to be tested. Each of our students put in 100% and naturally we became very personal with everyone and these women and children taught us much more. We came out of this experience with more than we had ever anticipated. It can’t be put into words just how much we learnt from volunteering. Ever aspect of our lives and mindset has changed.”
‘I think it was quite an eye opening experience to kind of see how people live and enjoy their lives very differently to what we do probably in UK. Even though comparatively they didn’t have as much, the children still came to school with a smile on their face and they were really keen to learn. They were ever so happy and always had a smile on their face regardless of the circumstances that they are living in, and I think that was an amazing experience for us to take back. We have comparatively much more wealth in the UK and we have much more available at our fingertips. Yet we were quite not so happy’
‘We decided to volunteer as part of our family vacation. It was the perfect balance: making a contribution but not being asked to do too much, with Volunteering Journeys staff with us every step of the way to help, support, clarify, etc. I was also impressed that they didn’t feed us a line about how we were changing the world in a week; I knew going in that *we* would be the ones most changed, and the staff’s perspective’s was the same: we were making an impact by showing we cared and sharing experiences, which hopefully meant something to a lot of people.’