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Bahamas Sea Turtle Research – March 2020 Photodocumentary Project & Fundraiser

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This March I’ll be doing a followup with Steve Connett & Barbara Crouchley, two volunteer sea turtle taggers who shoulder an enormous responsibility in the Bahamian islands.

I had the privilege of spending a couple of days with them in 2013 while I was sailing through the Bahamas. Their organization is called Family Island Research and Education (FIRE), and I can’t wait to see what they’re up to seven years later.

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Steve & Barbara in 2013

Purpose of this project

As with my other photodocumentary projects for NGOs and nonprofits, this project will provide much-needed high-quality media for important fundraising efforts, research, and public education. Most organizations like this can’t set aside a budget for photography & videography. But fundraising materials are largely consumed by the public visually; high-quality mixed media increases the chances of these organizations meeting their fundraising goals to continue operations.

‘Family Island Research and Education’ MISSION:

  • Document sea turtle demographics and health in the Out Islands and Abacos.
  • Send research and findings to the Archie Carr Sea Turtle Center at the University of Florida.
  • Work with the Bahamas National Trust to educate locals and visitors about the rich & valuable natural heritage of the Bahamas.
  • Visits to local Bahamian schools & community centers for presentations about marine conservation initiatives.
  • Provide intern opportunities for local students interested in marine research.

Objectives for thIS March 2020 visit:

  • Document all phases of FIRE, such as turtle research, school visits, and intern programs.
  • Provide photographs for fundraising efforts for FIRE, the Archie Carr Center, and the Bahamas National Trust.
  • Record the current state of green sea turtle demographics in the Bahamas, including changing habitat, poaching, and diseases like the increasing fibropapillomas.
  • Gather a variety of mixed media: still photography underwater, from the air, on the boat, on shore, video of the same, and thorough text documentation.

All major credit/debit cards accepted.

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Catching turtles for research in 2013.
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Taking measurements in 2013.
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Unsuspecting members of the public participate in research in Fernandez Bay, Cat Island.
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Releasing a sea turtle in Conception Island in 2013. The biodegradable red streamers on the fins ensure the turtle will be left alone during the rest of the current study.
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Barbara with an untagged turtle in 2013.

Purpose of fundraiser

This project will be self-funded and requires an upfront investment of an estimated $3,000 (roughly). Here’s the breakdown of the estimated upfront costs:

  • Air travel (approx. $800)
  • Boat travel (TBD if needed)
  • Shoreside accommodations (approx. $500)
  • Specialty equipment rental (approx. $800)
  • Bahamian Customs cash deposit for bringing Mavic 2 Pro drone (approx. $650, refundable)

Donor benefits

Asking for donations is tough, but I realize that some people do enjoy participating in things like this as long as they’re included in it. This model was very successful for my 2015 trip to Haiti and my 2019 trip to Uganda.

It’s for a good cause – measuring the health of sea turtle populations is a good indicator of the health of our oceans, and ultimately, the planet and the human race. I want to include you in this important project, and here’s how:

  • All donors: Receive daily email journal summarizing the day’s events and photos, as Internet connectivity allows.
  • $25: 8″x10″ paper print of your choice from the trip.
  • $100: 12″ x 18″ metal print of your choice from the trip.
  • $200: 16″ x 24″ metal print of your choice from the trip.

If you don’t want to donate to this project specifically but you’d still like to help the cause, you can make a tax-deductible donation to FIRE here.

Every little bit helps! Thank you from everyone involved!

All major credit/debit cards accepted.

Proposed itinerary

This is the planned itinerary as of now:

  • March 10-11, 2020: Travel from Lake Tahoe, California to Nassau, Bahamas.
  • March 11: Travel via air & boat to meet up with Steve & Barbara, location TBD.
  • March 12-19: Work with FIRE throughout the Bahamas Out Islands (Long Island, Cat Island, Conception Island, Berry Island).
  • March 20: Travel via air & boat to Nassau; fly back to Reno, Nevada.

Desired outcome

My primary end goal is to donate to FIRE, the Archie Carr Sea Turtle Center, and the Bahamas National Trust a library of media that they can use in years to come for fundraising, research, and awareness.

This is made possible by your generosity.

My secondary goal is to craft the images and text into an article that I’ll be pitching to a number of magazine editors. I’ll be working with Steve and Barbara to determine where they’d like to see something published and start with those major publications first.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read this. I look forward to working on this project and can’t wait to share it with you!

All major credit/debit cards accepted.

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