Who are our partners?
The goal of achieving sustainable development can only be realized if all the stakeholders commit to carrying out their respective roles. Since this development is community-based, it is up to the communities themselves to ensure that the required actions are being taken. The Trust has had the privilege of working with dedicated community groups such as:
Nature Seekers was established in 1990 as a non-profit organization with the aim of protecting nesting Leatherback turtles in Matura. It is the oldest turtle conservation group operating in Trinidad & Tobago. Today, Nature Seekers participates not only in beach patrols but also in data collection and tagging of sea turtles. They are also involved in a number or research projects into subjects such as turtle reproduction condition and the effect of tourism on nesting colonies. Nature Seekers provides unique tour services to visitors, including trips to nesting beaches and nature trails.
- Grande Riviere Nature Tour Guide Association
The Grande Rivière Nature Tour Guide Association was formed when it was realized that there was an increasing demand for individuals trained in turtle and environmental conservation. The increase in eco-tourists to the area created the need for experienced and knowledgeable tour guides. The GRNTGA is dedicated to providing the best experience to visitors while ensuring the safety of nesting turtles.
The Matura to Matelot (M2M) Network was created in 2002 and came out of the Leadership Training Programme held by the Stakeholders Against Destruction (SAD) for Toco. This heralded a shift in the way that conservation and tourism efforts were handled in the area. Previously, individual communities guarded their ideas and initiatives from each other. The M2M Network has allowed for closer relationships between communities, and the sharing of expertise and resources. They continue to lobby for improvements to the area.
- Save Our Sea Turtles (SOS)
SOS Tobago is a registered CBO with many ties to the community. While the staff numbers are not high, SOS Tobago has become an integral part of public awareness and protection efforts regarding sea turtle conservation. In conjunction with Environment Tobago's education team, they conduct lectures at schools during the nesting season. They have also created a large amount of training material. SOS Tobago started conducting nesting beach patrols since their inception in 2000, and began tagging turtles in 2005. They have a close working relationship with local tour guides and use their accumulated expertise to facilitate tour guide training.
- Fishing Pond Turtle Conservation Group.
The initial conservation group in Fishing Pond Village was formed in 1995. They were responsible for activities in the areas of ecotourism, research and sea turtle conservation. The group was dissolved in early 2000, but in 2004 the residents of the area came together to form the Fishing Pond Turtle Conservation Group. This group is registered with the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs. Their objective is to develop the tourism potential of the area while still conserving the nesting sea turtles.