How SEE Turtles Protects SEA Turtles

We support community-based turtle conservation organizations working at key turtle sites around the world to help protect important nesting beaches, promote responsible tourism, end the tortoiseshell trade, get plastic out of turtle habitats, and educate people about these species. Since our launch, we have generated more than $1 million for conservation and local communities. This support is a combination of donations, small grants, fees, indirect spending, in-kind donations, and funds raised through Billion Baby Turtles.

Billion Baby Turtles

Launched in 2013, Billion Baby Turtles raises funds to save hatchlings at important turtle nesting beaches around Latin America. See all of our grants here.

Successes include:

  • Since 2013, we have helped save more than 8 million hatchlings at 50+ nesting beaches around the world. We have given more than 150 grants totaling over $900,000 to more than 40 organizations in 20 countries protecting 5 species of sea turtles.

  • We have provided more than $100,000 for hawksbill conservation through our partners with the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative. This is helping to save more than 150,000 hatchlings of one of the world's most endangered sea turtle populations.

Turtle Conservation Tours & Volunteer Programs

Our conservation tours help local organizations sustain their work and bring alternative sources of income to communities where turtles are threatened.

Our successes include:

  • We have supported 15 sea turtle conservation research and conservation programs in 9 countries through our unique volunteer trips.

  • More than 1,400 people have visited our partners so far, ranging from long-term volunteers to travelers visiting a nesting beach for an evening.

  • We have connected more than 500 volunteers with turtle projects who have completed more than 5,000 work shifts patrolling nesting beaches, guarding hatcheries, and other important activities.

  • For these efforts, we were awarded the prestigious World Travel & Tourism Council Changemakers Award and the Skal Sustainable Tourism Award for our work protecting wildlife through tourism.



Turtleshell products are still frequently sold in the tropics around the world. Our Too Rare To Wear campaign aims to end the demand for these products from travelers. 

Successes include:

  • We launched the SEE Shell App, the first mobile app that addresses the illegal wildlife trade by using artificial intelligence to recognize these products with photos.

  • Our collaboration with Fundacion Tortugas del Mar in Colombia has helped to reduce the trade in Cartagena by more than 80% (one of the top sites for sales in the region in our 2017 report). We have provide funding, resources, and technical support for their work since 2017 and have helped them expand their program to other communities including Tolu, Coveñas, and Santa Marta, and funded workshops for government officials and teachers.

  • We have 150 tour operators, conservation organizations, and others in our coalition, working to educate travelers about this issue.

  • In 2020, we published the Global Tortoiseshell Report, the first report on the worldwide tortoiseshell trade in more than 3 decades, detailing this trade in 40 countries around the world.

  • Our 2017 report Endangered Souvenirs found more than 10,000 products for sale in more than 200 shops across 8 countries in Latin America.

  • We provide financial and technical support to local efforts to end the sale of turtleshell in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, Grenada, Belize, Haiti, Indonesia, and Honduras.

  • We have reached more than 10 million people through videos, news articles, and social media outreach.

Sea Turtles & Plastic

Plastic is a growing threat to sea turtles around the world. We launched the Sea Turtles & Plastic program in 2021 to help turtle organizations get plastic out of sea turtle habitats and upcycle the waste they collect into products that are sold to support local communities and raise funds for conservation efforts.

  • We have provided $35,000 in funding for 7 projects that recycle plastic into products that support community residents in Costa Rica, Curacao, Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, and Uruguay.

  • In partnership with Turtle Island Restoration Network, we provided funding for the Environment Society of Oman to clean derelict fishing gear (also known as “ghost gear”) washed up on the beaches Masirah Island, one of the most important beaches in the world for loggerhead turtle nesting. The effort removed approximately 90 tons of waste, primarily fishing gear.

  • Our educational presentations for schools and the public include the threat of plastic pollution and ways people can help reduce this threat. We also have a lesson for schools on sea turtles and plastic as part of our school program and many student groups have conducted recycling fundraisers. We also hosted a webinar on sea turtles and plastic that you can watch here.

  • SEE Turtles was the first Gold Sponsor of Travelers Against Plastic. We’re now co-managing the campaign to reduce plastic use in the travel industry.

Sea Turtle Education

We promote educational programs in the US and Latin America, including class presentations, bilingual lesson plans, teacher training workshops, and scholarships for students to visit conservation projects.

Successes include:

  • Our class presentations reached over 10,000 students in the US and Canada.

  • We have funded more than 2,000 students in Latin America to visit nearby turtle projects since 2013.

  • Our turtle educational workshops have trained more than 100 teachers and community leaders at 10 important turtle projects in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Nicaragua.

  • More than 1,200 students at 30 schools across the US have raised more than $15,000 to help save turtle hatchlings through our School Fundraisers.

Sea Turtle Inclusivity Fund

Launched in 2021, our Inclusivity Fund provides scholarships for diverse students to work with sea turtle field projects. To date, we have provided six scholarships to young conservationists from Costa Rica, Venezuela, Indonesia, Panama, and Brazil to do field work in sea turtle research.


Banner Image: Spencer Stoner/EcoViva; other images: Neil Ever Osborne, Brad Nahill/SEE Turtles