Testimonial from

GVI Jalova base camp is in the middle of nowhere and was my home for two months. I loved it! I decided to join the wildlife expedition in Costa Rica volunteer programme to get some experience in field research before going to University to study Ecology and Wildlife Conservation. It was everything and more I thought it would be. The staff were all enthusiastic and knowledgeable in their field of work. The variety of different cultures and backgrounds among the staff and volunteers made life on base very interesting and enjoyable, with different people bringing different stories to the very full tables. I definitely made some friends for life in the two months I was volunteering with GVI and gained some valuable experience. My most amazing moment has to be when I saw and got to work a Leatherback turtle. While the rest of base camp was getting ready for bed, I and four others were heading out for the first turtle night walk of the season. Walking out onto the beach, the moon was almost full so not being able to use lights wasn‘t a problem. We made it to mile 14 our furthest point and were half way back to base without seeing a single turtle. Yet just as I was giving up hope there she was on the bank digging her body-pit. Her carapace was 175cm long, and she made me feel very small compared to her. After we worked her we stayed with her for over two hours just watching her disguise her nest and head back to sea. Once the first wave hit her the whole group felt her relief - she was safe now and back into her natural habitat. This experience made me very interested in turtles and inspired me to do a talk on turtles and geomagnetic imprinting for all the staff and volunteers that were interested. This experience has strengthened my decision to work with endangered animals in the future. Just by doing something as small as patrolling the beach for a few hours, we deterred poachers and Jaguars which probably saved a few turtles lives. I have now decided that after completing my degree at university I would like to do a GVI internship and work on community wildlife projects in the future. Doing the Wildlife Expedition in Costa Rica opened my eyes to possibilities that I had never thought of before. I undertook the leadership award during my stay at Jalova and had a wonderful time planning and executing a treasure hunt and task day. It was a very successful day with GPS’s, clues and face-paint. I would love to be part of another GVI project in the future, possibly even as a staff member.

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