Meet The Colleagues
When a river swollen by rainstorms threatened a newly established sea turtle hatchery on Carate Beach in Costa Rica, Alicia Ward and her crew took on the river. With sandbags, teenage volunteers, and plenty of direction from local men, they dredged a canal and stacked sandbags to divert the river back to its old course. After four days of apparently futile effort, the group gave up and started to move the fragile turtle eggs in hopes of saving a few hundred of the thousands.
Alicia, a graduate of Seattle University, served as a coordinator with the Osa Sea Turtle Conservation Program. She instructed volunteers from all over the world, speaking to tourists, working with the local population, and going out on all-night beach patrols to observe the sea turtles laying eggs and monitor nests. The work with turtles addresses the plight of an endangered animal and connects with larger ecological issues of environmental degradation and the effects of human presence.
Through flood of challenges, Alicia not only found hope in the baby turtles, but also in the groups of volunteers from all over the world. Despite different languages and national and political persuasions, groups bonded over the hard work, listened to one another, and found that they have much in common. Together they are able to bring positive change. The flooding river became just such a momentous occasion. When Alicia and her crew returned to the river to resume moving turtle nests, they discovered that over night the river had turned away. Their efforts to divert the river worked. They had saved thousands of turtle eggs.
With her KF Grant, Alicia attended the International Sea Turtle Symposium in February 2007. The symposium experience, along with completing a spotted-owl survey for the National Parks Service at Mount Rainier, preceded and strengthened her application to the Peace Corps Master's International Program. In the fall of 2008, Alicia began her master's studies, specializing in International Conservation and Development, with a focus on wildlife.
Alicia's Service Bio
I worked as a field technician and project coordinator to do sea turtle surveys on two nesting beaches in Costa Rica. I worked with other volunteers to patrol beaches, tag sea turtles, and monitor nests. I also gave "turtle talks" about sea turtle conservation to local school kids and tourists.
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