Sea Turtles 911

Sea Turtles are Endangered: Help!
   Volunteer Programs Abroad in China

Interns giving IV fluid therapy to a sea turtle Interns tubefeeding sea turtle Sea turtle hospital Volunteer and Staff at our sea turtle facility Staff and Volunteers with baby sea turtles Staff and Volunteer inspecting sea turtles for injuries Staff and interns on fishing boat giving tour of fishing village Ecotourism: Interns with Hotel Staff Intern scrubbing turtle with children Staff and interns give tour of sea turtle hospital Staff and Volunteers with sea turtle on Sanya Beach Intern inspecting plastron of sea turtle Interns giving presentation to students Interns tubefeeding sea turtle Interns scrubbing barnacles off sea turtle Interns injecting sea turtle Volunteer and Veterinarian rescue sea turtle Volunteers releasing rehabilitated sea turtle Intern with rescued sea turtle Interns with hatchling sea turtles Interns cheering with sea turtle

Volunteer Program

Sea Turtles 911 offers a Volunteer Program for those who are interested in doing volunteer work with sea turtles on Hainan Island, China. Volunteers in our program get hands-on experience working with one of the most ancient and amazing creatures alive today ?sea turtles. Since it is our immediate goal to revive populations on and near Hainan, raising and rehabilitating sea turtles in preparation for release is important to us. Volunteers in our program will conduct all aspects of sea turtle husbandry - such as feeding sea turtles, cleaning nets, and assisting in medical treatments. Volunteers will also get the opportunity to work with local children and adults in community-outreach and education programs to build awareness about the importance of sea turtle conservation.
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Internship Program

Our Sea Turtles 911 Internship is similar in basics to our Volunteer Program, but is set apart by thorough instruction on sea turtle biology and conservation and is designed so that students may obtain college credit from their university. We require a minimum term of ten (10) weeks with acceptance open throughout the year. As part of our Internship Program, interns will gain experience in all sectors of the Sea Turtles 911 organization, but will maintain one or two focused project areas to help develop through their own ingenuity. This is designed to challenge interns to find their niche to make a unique contribution to marine conservation.
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Chinese Language Immersion Program

We offer a Chinese Language Immersion Program for those who are interested in studying Mandarin Chinese and doing volunteer work with sea turtles on Hainan Island, China. Volunteers will be provided with daily Chinese lessons with English-speaking locals, as well as classroom lessons. Participants in this program will also have the opportunity to contribute to the standard Volunteer Program activities such as sea turtle husbandry and our educational outreach programs.
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Ecotourism Program

Our China Eco Tourism Program is for tourists and travelers who want to have a meaningful and responsible traveling experience while touring China. Instead of visiting the crowded touristy areas of China, eco tourists will be guided to areas less frequented by tourists, hence more natural and pristine. They will experience three (3) unique eco tours: volunteer to help endangered sea turtles, trek and hike the beautiful Hainan Island tropical rainforest nature reserves, and stay at a geothermal natural hot springs resort. This program is ideal for families or groups of ecotourists traveling together looking for a meaningful vacation in China.
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School Field Trip Program

Sea Turtles 911 offers 3-7 day school field trips for school groups looking to offer students the chance to experience conservation work firsthand. Students are able to gain hands-on experience with one of the world’s most ancient creatures: sea turtles. Since education is a major part of species preservation and restoration, students are exposed to many different aspects of conservation efforts throughout their stay. They will participate in the physical work involved in sea turtle conservation, contribute to community education, and experience rural fishing village culture, all integrated with thorough biology lessons and activities aimed at expanding the way the students think about endangered species conservation. Optional activities include a Whale Shark Experience and Rainforest Walk. This program is also ideal for IB students CAS hours and Group 4 projects.
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Program FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need any type of experience or educational background to volunteer?

A: You do not need any specific type of training or education to volunteer, we welcome volunteers from all walks of life and experiences! We will train you on site any particular tasks we'll need you to help out with during your stay with us. As well, before you arrive or upon your arrival, we'll discuss any special skills or knowledge you may have that could be utilized to advance our mission of sea turtle conservation.

Q: What is a 'typical' day like for a volunteer? Will we have free time to explore China?

A: A typical day greatly depends on the projects you work on as a volunteer with us. If you are stationed at the floating hospital, each morning we get up and, after breakfast, catch a boat taxi out to the floating hospital. Morning responsibilities involve greeting and checking in on all the turtles, giving vitamins, feeding, monitoring activity and appetite, and examining the rehab patients for any changes. Mornings are also great for side projects, research, and general hospital care-taking. Afternoons tend to be spent on land, as the whole village tends to go into 'siesta' mode during the hottest part of the day. People are often found sitting in the shade with a tea or napping. We use this time to relax indoors, get work done on our computers and prepare for any upcoming events. Late afternoon we go back to the floating hospital for the majority of rehab treatments and to feed the turtles their evening snack. Rehab treatments can include tube feeding, fluid therapy, antibiotic administration, etc. Afterwards it's dinner time and evenings are usually pretty free; we'll get some needed computer work done, individual projects, or public education and campaigns, or socialize and network with fishermen families or some of our organization's partners, explore the village, or have some personal time. We all tend to stay pretty busy as we have a big job to do here in China and need all the help we can get! We recommend you plan on any personal exploration to be done either before or after your participation in our Volunteer Program; but don't worry, you'll get a huge China experience going out into our floating fishing village, interacting with the locals, and changing the world, one sea turtle at a time!

Will I be able to communicate with volunteers/people in the program if I am only fluent in the English?

A: English is the primary language used in our organization, by supervisors and most volunteers. If you need to communicate with people who do not understand English while volunteering with us, we have several English-fluent Chinese volunteers who are more than willing to help translate.

Am I able to join your program at any point during the year? How much notice do you need?

A: Our programs has open enrollment year-round. We appreciate as much notice as you can give so we can prepare living space and plan for your visit. At least two weeks notice is preferred, but we have been known to accept people only a few days before their arrival.

Q: Where will I be living?

A: Living arrangements for volunteers varies on where you're located at any given moment. We do have a place called "home" which is in a small village where the floating hospital is located. It's the second through fourth floors of a sort of Chinese version of a row-home. There is a common living area with internet accessible computers, two shared bathrooms, a kitchen, an open rooftop terrace, and several bedrooms that you may share with one or two others depending on how many volunteers we have at any given time. If it is necessary for you to travel to other cities for whatever work-related reason, living space will be arranged for you.

Q: What clothes should I bring?

A: The climate on Hainan is often hot and humid. As well, the people here on Hainan are very laid back and informal, so no formal clothing is required or recommended. When you arrive you'll be provided with a lime green Sea Turtles 911 volunteer t-shirt, and this is what you'll wear on 'business' occasions. Working out at the hospital, it would be safe to say it's sometimes messy and you will frequently get wet. Lightweight, quick drying shorts, t-shirts and tank tops are all very recommended. Lightweight pants and a long sleeve t-shirt would be a good idea for late nights at the hospital to reduce mosquito bites. Definitely bring a rain jacket and a pair of slip-on sandals. As far as laundry, here it tends to be done by hand. Most families have a supply of buckets, brushes, and dry on a line. At the primary volunteer home we do have a washing machine if you prefer and a line on our roof patio where we dry our clothes.

Q: What personal items should I bring?

A: We do provide bedding for you but you will need your own towels. However, it could be recommended that you just buy one here. They're cheaper and this way you won't use up valuable luggage space. Many of your heavy 'necessary' items can be purchased here for a fraction of the cost in your home country, such as soap, shampoo, etc. Though it is a good idea to bring your own sunscreen and deodorant as they are not common here, or of the same quality. Also, you will want to bring any 'specialty' items that are specific to you or if you prefer particular brands.

Q: Should I bring my own laptop?

A: There are two internet connected computers in the living area at home for volunteers to share, so it is not absolutely necessary for you to bring your own laptop, though many people still do.

Q: Is the water safe to drink?

A: We do not drink the tap water here, but bottled water is readily available and inexpensive. Depending on how many people are around, we often purchase and share a large water-cooler type bottle.

Q: What is the easiest way to get a visa to China?

A: It is often easier to get your China Visa through an agency; many volunteers and interns from the US use Remember to allow time for shipping and processing to ensure it arrives before your departure date.

Q: What is recommended for travel health insurance?

A: As far as travel health/medical insurance, there is a spot on the registration form to check if you would like us to arrange it for you and you would pay whatever costs are associated with it. However, it is often easier and faster for the volunteer to do it on their own. We recommend, you can get a quote there and if you have further questions you can contact one of their agents.

Q: What sort of human medical care facilities are available?

A: There is an emergency hospital in the primary village the volunteers live in, and obviously as with most places more specialized care is received in the bigger cities. The larger hospitals on Hainan Island are in the capital city of Haikou.

Q: How can I withdraw money from my home bank account?

A: The Bank of China does accept some international debit cards and there is one located in both Sanya and Lingshui. It is a good idea to check with your own bank while you are still at home to see what their restrictions and fees are, as well as alert them to the dates you will be in China so their security/fraud prevention system does not inadvertently lock your account upon seeing overseas activity. You can also bring cash with you and change it at the airport upon your arrival for a small, flat fee.

Q: What vaccines should I get? Do you recommend I take anti-malaria medications during my stay?

A: For advice on medical issues, we recommend all future volunteers and interns visit a travel physician prior to your arrival in China. They can give you up to date information on recommended vaccines and other health issues. Some people choose to take malaria medications, some do not; unfortunately, we cannot offer a recommendation. What is best for you should be discussed with a licensed physician.

Q: Should I bring a power converter?

A: There is no need to bring a power or outlet converter with you to China. We have multiple converter power strips, and they are inexpensive and easy to find here if more are necessary.

Q: What about insect repellant?

A: You are free to bring your own insect repellant as mosquitos are a bother in the evenings here. However, you cannot handle the sea turtles for over 8 hours after application of a chemical-based repellant, such as deet products. Some people instead choose to rely on lightweight pants and a long sleeve t-shirt to keep the bugs at bay. If you prefer to use a repellant, consider an organic-based product such as a lemon-eucalyptus mixture.

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