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Global Vision International and local partners work together to help promote conservation for the turtle festival
This month the Global Vision International (GVI) team from Pez Maya took part in the Quintana Roo Marine Turtle Festival based in Tulum. The Turtle Festival was created by local non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) and private enterprises using Government aid to raise awareness with the local people on the importance of marine conservation of turtles, their habitats and how we, as the humans are affecting them.
Fig. 1 Global Vision International teamed up with the Amigos de Sian Ka’an for the turtle festival
Fig. 2 Volunteers, staff and children played a wide variety of games together with conservation theme based around turtles.
GVI as a team participated at the Turtle Festival over the course of three days, from Friday to Sunday, organising a wide variety of activities and games aimed at children of all ages, although that didn’t stop adults getting involved as well! On the Friday, the GVI team went to the Casa De La Cultura, Tulum, where they began by teaching kids about the threats that marine turtles face from day to day by incorporating them into fun games for the children to play. The team taught the children about anthropogenic threats, such as rubbish and pollution of the water and also the natural threats that occur on the reef, such as predation and competition for food and space. To make the day even more fun the team did lots of face painting with the children, painting their faces as different marine animals found on the reef which was a huge success. There was laughter all round at some of the creatures on show, from the children themselves and also from all the people around to see it.
On the Saturday the team arrived at Playa Pescadores, Tulum and started the day off with a ‘rally’ -or as you probably know it, a treasure hunt- organised by the volunteers and the GVI staff. The rally consisted of a series of questions and challenges that drew on the learning of the day before to solve. The children would need to answer questions concerning the conservation of turtles and answer them correctly to proceed with the challenge and find the next question. The final challenge of the day for the children was to remember a phrase (about conservation) and then pass on that phrase to someone who wasn’t involved in the rally. Also on Saturday there was a sand sculpture competition for children and adults of who could sculpt the best turtle or marine related animal out of sand; sadly the GVI team was disqualified for having too many adults in the group, although we like to think that this was deliberate…we had to give the other competitors a chance somehow! Later, there was a kite making and flying competition for the kids organised by another group at the festival to boost the level of enjoyment and highlight the many uses recycled materials can be put. On the Sunday the team met at CEA, Akumal, where we took part in the closing ceremony of the Turtle Festival. Our participation was once again playing the educational games with the children, giving away raffle tickets as prizes and also plenty more face painting for the kids too. There was plenty of activity in the area with live pre-Hispanic music, the raffle, food and drinks and the fantastic Mayan ceremony to signify the end of the turtle nesting season. All in all everyone had a wonderful few days and learned a lot, not only the kids that discovered how they could help the turtles of Quintana Roo but the volunteers that learned they could face paint like the pro’s! The event itself is hugely important for the area, providing education to younger children to pass on to their parents, friends and relatives. Next year, we are pleased to announce –building on the success of this yearGlobal Vision International will lead the turtle festival alongside its other partners. If you would like you read more about the project that we are running of which this was just a small part, please visit http://www.gvi.co.uk/programs/marine-conservation-expedition-mexico .