Felipe is our one and only full-time employee. He is 22 years old and has been working or volunteering at Campamento Tortuguero Ayotlcalli for 7 years. Yes, that means he started volunteering at the very young age of 14!
Growing up in the nearby community of El Coacoyul, Felipe always knew about the sea turtles nesting in the area but it wasn’t until his aunt, who was volunteering at the camp at the time, invited him along that he got hooked. He has been with Damaris and the Camp ever since with growing responsibilities along the way. Currently, he lives onsite in our volunteer cabin and works full time doing so many of things that are needed day-to-day .
Whether he is patrolling at night, reburying the nests, managing the corral and nest locations, cleaning out nests after hatchlings have all emerged, working with our guests at the hatchling releases, or just generally working around camp, we can count on a smile.
In addition to his interest and work with sea turtles, Felipe is going to school to learn English. The schedule of three hours each day in addition to his Camp responsibilities keeps him busy.
If you love the turtle release pictures on the Camp’s Facebook page, chances are Felipe was the one who caught that magical moment. After the turtles are released and they’re making their way towards the water, Felipe is always on the lookout for a good shot of a hatchling, the sunset, or our guests.
When asked to tell us something we didn’t know about him, he told us his childhood nickname is ‘Polvora’ (loosely translated as firecracker, thunderbolt, or gunpowder). He earned this due to his interest in boxing, which his father did as a hobby.
The Camp is really fortunate to have such a dedicated person as one of the leaders of the team.
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