Two months of nothing to do. Nothing except sit on the sofa, drink tea and be totally and utterly bored. This is what I had to look forward to for my long Christmas holiday, but instead of accepting this I decided that I needed a project. This is where Watamu Turtle Watch comes in!
Towards the end of 2013 I spent 7 weeks volunteering at Turtle Watch and absolutely fell in love with the turtles and people I got to work with whilst I was there (it had such an impact that I changed my degree from physics and chemistry to zoology!). Free time and turtles… How can I combine the two? And then it hit me! I always thought more people should know about Turtle Watch and with all this free time, I could tell people about it on a big scale! I put a presentation together and with the support of Turtle Watch I contacted a few schools around Nairobi and asked if I could talk to the students about marine and turtle conservation for a few minutes during assembly time. The positive response was amazing! I gave 6 presentations and did two workshops where the children wrote a ‘Captain’s Log’ as if they were Watamu’s very own three-flippered Captain Hook which they then acted out. After the talks both students and teachers would come up to me and share their turtle stories; it was amazing how many people were as excited as me about turtles and yet so few knew about projects like this one. In just two weeks I had spoken to approximately 1,480 people!
Somehow, an old teacher of mine heard about these talks and asked if I would talk to some of his students… in Manila, Philippines! We set up a video call and I got to talk to 60 7 year olds on the other side of the world for half an hour about how they can help our turtles; to say the experience was magical is an understatement. This brought the grand total up to 1,540 people!
I would have been happy with just this but some of the schools took it one step further. Braeburn School on Gitanga Road decided to hold a poster competition (there were 20 winners as there were so many incredible posters and, let’s face it, I’m a bit of a softy when it comes to judging) as well as making WTW their charity for the term; Braeburn Garden Estate has raised money for the project by holding a bake sale; and I have had multiple inquiries about helping out in Watamu. It’s inspiring to see how many people are passionate about marine conservation and turtles whether they are 5 or 50 years old! I found over 1000 people in just two weeks, imagine what could happen if we all spent two weeks talking about turtles! Let’s do it!