Coffee Day and Sea Turtles? Rescue a Nest with Us!
Not everything is about coffee here Twin Engine Coffee. Sometimes it is about Turtles! Every year, sea turtles emerge from their solitary sea life to lay their eggs on our Pacific beaches in Nicaragua. They have spent their year migrating 100s or 1,000s of miles. From late August to late October (November for the rare Leatherback) hundreds of mama turtles climb up onto the beach when the moon is bright and lay their egg nests or ‘clutches.’
Where the Pacific meets the Juan Venado Estuary at Sunset
What do Twin Engine Coffee and Sea Turtles have in common, you may ask?
Quite a bit actually. Twin Engine Coffee makes organic specialty coffee at the source in Nicaragua. Day in, day out. We bring our coffees down from the mountains and roast them in León. Then send them to you. Las Peñitas, one of the beaches in our community, about 12 miles from the Twin Engine Coffee Roastery. Here, mama sea turtles are coming nightly to lay their nests and our local community is trying to protect them. This is about as ‘globally local’ as it gets.
Why are we writing about the Sea Turtles?
An important question. Aside from being cute enough to melt most hearts (speaking from experience), sea turtle babes are in trouble. Since a strong part of our mission is to connect you to real life at the source & advocate for awareness, we want to tell you about this hyper-local happening, just beyond the coffee mountains.
And, to ask for your help.
A mama Turtle laying her eggs
Beach-side nesting has become dangerous for the eggs. In Nicaragua, a nest of eggs (~120 eggs) fetches more than a few days wages in the local market. The eggs are thought to be an aphrodisiac; often eaten raw with hot sauce for the full effect.
Hunting sea turtle eggs is illegal in Nicaragua, but there are few resources for enforcement.
Humans have become the #1 egg predator on our beaches by cleaning out the nests and selling the eggs in in the market [here, snakes seem to be #2]. According to the World Wildlife Fund, 85% of the sea turtle species are threatened or endangered globally. There are about 5 species that lay their eggs on our beach. Most commonly we see Mama Paslama [Lepidochelys olivacea] and a few, rare Mama Leatherbacks [Dermochelys coriacea], the largest turtle in the world.
It is possible that a world in which sea turtles can not survive may soon become a world in which humans struggle to survive. --- Sea Turtle Conservancy, Gainesville, FL USA [addition by us: Humans in our local community ARE struggling to survive, which is why the eggs are being hunted.]
Helping the Mama Turtles
All sea turtles prefer to be left alone. They don’t want our help, but they need it. This year in our small La Peñitas fishing village, just outside of León, Project Kurma has ‘hatched’. Founded by our village naturopath, Dr. Sandrine, Project Kurma has secured their permits and is protecting the eggs from hunters and incubating them until they hatch. Funded privately by a local business, Project Kurma has built a nursery in the Juan Venado Estuary (a legally protected Nature Reserve that is fantastic for kayaking with tropical dry forest, mangroves, and inland estuary). Kurma has the private funds the protect about 80 nests (around 4% of the total nests we expect to be laid). The fall of tourism especially due to the global pandemic means that outside resources have stopped coming in. There is little support for the local estuary and egg nest protection
Would you like to Adopt a Nest?
We have the capacity to protect many more nests -- as many as funding allows. We are asking for your help. If you would like to be part of protecting this year’s nests, we have set up a nest ‘adoption’ program! This is a great opportunity to play a direct role in sea turtle conservation efforts from wherever you live.
For every nest adopted, we will help Project Kurma to:
Protect the eggs by purchasing them from the hunters or finding the nests ourselves. This happens every night during season from about 7pm-2am.
· Build a simulated sea-washed sand nest in the nursery and incubate the turtle eggs. Incubation lasts from 45-50 days. [Following ‘best practices’, we don’t re-build nests directly into the sand due to high rates of contamination & natural predation aka snakes.]
· Maintain the nest temperature as close to ‘nature’ as possible. Sea turtles exhibit temperature-dependent sex determination [TSD]. Swings in temperature can result in all female births (low temps) or all male births (high temps).
· Protect the nests in the nursery 24 hours a day. Currently, this is a 3-person local team, rotating day & night shifts in the nursery.
· Immediately release the baby turtles into the ocean once
We expect the babies to return as adults in about 10 years to lay their own eggs. The adoption funds will also contribute to a local education program to inform & discourage turtle egg hunting.
Adopt now & Share in the Turtle Feel Good!
Image with text
We know you would love to release the babies yourself, but international travel is difficult for most of us right now. We will do the next best thing and connect you virtually!
· Your name (or group’s) goes in the nest!
· When your nest ‘hatches’, we will send you a video of the release…and some photos in the meantime.
· For every full nest adopted, you will also receive a signed Sea Turtle Rescue certificate from Project Kurma.
In the end, it feels great to be able to help these animals. Not only are you helping the turtles and our oceans, you are also letting a hard-working community with few resources know that this conservation work matters on a global scale. That is a strong motivator for everyone.
How do I sign up? Easy!
You can adopt a nest by yourself, with friends & family, as a store, as a classroom…or as a gift to the nature lover in your life. What a great present!
Click on the button below to adopt a nest.
Choose the nest size you would like to adopt.
Pay via paypal or credit card. Please indicate the name that should go on the nest in the payment note and address (if a full
We will connect with you via email for photos & videos.
Depending on when you adopt, ‘hatching’ will take place around 45-50 days later. If you are gifting the adoption, we can organize to send the video and certificate to coincide with specific dates.
This year, babies will start hatching around the end of November and continue through December.
Dr. Sandrine, Project Kurma Founder and local naturopath. She has lived in Las Peñitas for more than 20 years and leads private funding efforts for supporting our beautiful Juan Venado Estuary Eco-System.
What happens if Sea Turtles become extinct? As human caretakers, we will have unnecessarily lost an ocean animal that has existed for more than 100 million years. For a more tangible perspective, we draw directly from the Sea Turtle Conservancy:
Sea turtles are part of two ecosystems, the beach/dune system and the marine system. If sea turtles went extinct, both the marine and beach/dune ecosystems would be negatively affected. They help maintain the health of seagrass beds and coral reefs. And since humans utilize the marine ecosystem as a natural resource for food and the beach/dune system for a wide variety of activities, a negative impact to these ecosystems would negatively affect humans. --- Sea Turtle Conservancy, Gainesville, FL USA