St. Kitts’ Sea Turtle Interpretive Center will educate visitors and residents about these critically endangered animals. // © 2012 St. Kitts Tourism Authority
St. Kitts will soon be home to a new Sea Turtle Interpretive Center. The center will be developed by the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network (SKSTMN). The Sea Turtle Interpretive Center is set to be a year-round tourist venue and will be an important addition to St. Kitts’ expanding sustainable tourism product. In addition to aiding in the preservation of sea turtles, the center will also create jobs and add another eco-friendly attraction to the island for both visitors and locals alike.
“It would also aid tremendously in educating visitors and residents about these critically endangered animals and about the irreplaceable marine resources of the island,” said Dr. Kimberly Stewart, who heads up the SKSTMN. “We really hope that the center will inspire people to become actively engaged in marine conservation.”
Upon construction, the center will serve as the SKSTMN’s orientation space for tours and field trips, a research station, an area to showcase the organization’s local craft and jewelry making, a gift shop and an area for members and visitors to seek refuge from the elements during patrols. The center will be located on Keys Beach and costs approximately $75,000 to complete.
Founded in January 2003, the SKSTMN monitors nesting sea turtle populations and acts as an advocate for the strengthening of sea turtle protection laws. Over the past nine years, it has developed a broad-based program incorporating leatherback night patrols, morning beach monitoring, Sea Turtle Camp, school programs and more.
This news is ideally timed because sea turtle nesting season on St. Kitts officially began in March. The SKSTMN offers eco-tours on St. Kitts from April 15 through June 15 annually, during which guests can accompany the organization’s research team to observe nesting female leatherback turtles. Guests receive a complimentary local beverage and packet of information about sea turtles. Individuals can also adopt a turtle, learn more about the satellite tagging project or make a donation. The SKSTMN is a community based nonprofit organization and all proceeds are used to fund the St. Kitts sea turtle program.