Paperback: 144 pages, 1.3 lbs

Publisher: Edgemark Press;

First edition (December 6, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-13: 978-0991125302

Product Dimensions:

10.1 x 6.9 x 0.5 inches


Media & Wholesale Contact:

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.