Paperback: 144 pages, 1.3 lbs
Publisher: Edgemark Press;
First edition (December 6, 2013)
10.1 x 6.9 x 0.5 inches
Media & Wholesale Contact: email@example.com
The book begins in the second year of the green-turtle-tagging program at
Tortuguero, Costa Rica—the world’s first sea turtle research station. Dr. Archie
Carr sent Larry Ogren a University of Florida sophomore to Tortuguero to tag and
study sea turtles. There were no roads leading to the isolated village. Nor were
there motorized vehicles, electricity, or running water. Turning Turtles follows
Larry, the station, and the village from 1955 to the present.
The station today is part of the Sea Turtle Conservancy, STC (formerly know as the
Caribbean Conservation Corporation), an international sea turtle research and
conservation organization. The STC today has several full-time staff members on
the ground in Tortuguero plus staff in San Jose, Costa Rica; Panama; and Florida.
During turtle season numerous research assistants and volunteers from around
the world assist with tagging and record keeping. Tortuguero laid the foundations
for sea turtle research and conservation biology long before the endangered
species act was passed in 1973.
Larry Ogren continued his association with STC’s John H. Phipps Biological
Research Station throughout his career and is a board member emeritus of the
STC. Larry learned to make-do and do without. He moved in with Leo Martinez and
the two men built the village’s first outhouse. Leo had a good well—just a few
mosquito larva and bits of vegetation, but no dead rats. Larry and the villagers
ate well on tepescuintle, peccary, manatee, and yes—sea turtle. Later in his
career, Larry donned scuba gear to follow shrimp trawls in Florida to document
their affect on turtles and was instrumental in passing the law requiring turtle
excluder devices on trawl nets.
Under the guidance of Archie Carr and his biologists, the villagers of Tortuguero
learned they could profit from not eating the turtles and reinvented the village as
an ecotourism destination. Today it is a thriving community with lights, plumbing,
and running water. There are many motorboats, but still no roads lead to
Tortuguero nor are there motorized land vehicles. Several lodges have sprung up
in the jungle, and tourists from Europe, Asia and the United States stroll the one
street of Tortuguero, sip chilled coconut water out of the shell, and buy polymer
sea turtles strung on macramé necklaces.