It all started when we were working on a sea turtle project together in the Caribbean. The project had a hotline where locals and tourists could call in any problems or sightings they had of sea turtles. One day we received a call about a nest that was being washed out to sea. (This can happen when there is not enough space for a nesting female to lay her eggs. Usually, because development has cut off part of the beach, which you can see has happened here with the wall in the background, so she lays them too close to where the tide comes in.) We ran out to our patrol vehicle to head down to the nest only to realize we were about to be out of gas.
The problem was our project did not have any money left and we would have to wait until the following week for funds to come through. We could not just let the nest wash out to sea so we used the small stipend we had for our own food to fill the tank. On the way out we grabbed some project shirts, hoping we could sell some to tourists to cover our costs.
During the drive to the nest, all we could think about was how there had to be a better way to reach out to the world to get real-time support. We knew at least 5 people who would have given us $20 to fill our gas tank just so they could tell their friends they helped save baby sea turtles in the Caribbean that day. We imagined how good they would feel after we gave them feedback on what their support helped us do. Plus they would be helping an organization that they would have never given or heard of before.
We knew we weren't the only conservationists out there who needed this type of help. On that car ride down the idea for Key Conservation started to emerge and we've been developing it nonstop ever since.
Oh, and in case you were wondering we did save the eggs. They hatched a few weeks later and 107 sea turtle hatchlings made their way to the sea.
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SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF OCEANOGRAPHY, UCSD &
CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME COMMISSION