All sea turtles are endangered and deserve our respect and protection.

About the Author: Claire O'Neill ➔

Claire is a co-founder of Earthwise Aware (EwA), an environmental nonprofit that brings biodiversity knowledge and science, ecological ethics, and environmental leadership to the heart of communities. She is the director of EwA's Biodiversity & Climate Participatory Science program– an initiative that connects the public with its immediate natural systems and empowers communities. EwA focuses on place-based urban wildlife and natural history, and the conservation of species interactions. Its program runs regular continuous biodiversity and phenology studies in 8 cities. The program fosters a deeper understanding of ecological systems and provides tools to the public to make evidence-based environmental decisions. Locally, Claire is a co-organizer of the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge for the Greater Boston Area. She also serves as a board member of the Friends of the Fells, and is an advisor for the Green & Open Somerville group. [More...]

Claire strongly believes that individually and altogether we can be ethically & ecologically engaged–whoever we are, whatever we do, and wherever we are. Ethical Nature conservation is not circumstantial, it is a mindset that you acquire which then turns into a way of life. Once on that path, a great many rewards for us becomes obvious. And the satisfaction out of practicing good ethics is almost addictive. There is no looking back...

Her favorite motto: “Nature Conservation as A Way of Life”

Tracking Green sea turtles in Mexico

Tracking Green sea turtles in Mexico

This was the morning after we caught her off Pelican island somewhere in a lost lagoon in Baja California Sur. We caught a few so that we could measure, sample, tag them before releasing them into the lagoon fitted with a little GPS device so that we could track their route in the lagoon. The other volunteers had picked ‘their turtle’ and I got the remaining one. They all picked the big ones, she was the smallest of the batch (a little bigger than a large pizza).

Well, that was love at first sight! I gave her a name for the purpose of identifying her in our records. Her name is Yarrow, which is the English version of my nickname: Akilee (Achillée in French).

I got a treat from this little sea turtle. After taking data of different kinds and installing a little GPS, it was time to release them. Back to the Great Blue and Freedom! The 3 other volunteers as I mentioned had chosen the big ones. It then took several people to weigh them, move them, and of course, they had to be 2 at least to move them from land to water. When the sea turtles see the water, these creatures who are so slow on land get excited. The only thing they want to do it is to get away from you and go back to their Kingdom… They touch the water, they flap hard and they’re gone… It goes so fast!

yarrowYarrow and I were the last to go…

First I could carry Yarrow on my own! No need for help: that was just her and I. I approached the water. I lowered her down delicately, and… she did not move! I got scared: ‘Is she dead?!’ I said with great worry. Nobody was saying a thing… I touched her, and she started to flap away slowly, quietly, with no urgency. I followed her moves and then she slowly disappeared. The tortuguero said to me ‘It never happened before! Maybe she did not want to leave you’ and I chose to believe so…

A day or 2 later, we went tracking Yarrow. We found her tracking device on the beach at the edge of the lagoon, close to the mouth of it at the edge of the roaring Pacific ocean. She had broken free easily of her device…

Yarrow the Green Sea Turtle is somewhere free and big now – I just know it!…

Claireby Claire O’Neill 

Find out more about our wild encounters browsing our Notes from the Field

Print Friendly, PDF & Email