Raul Ramirez is a volunteer with Campamento Tortuguero Ayotlcalli, participating in night patrols, sometimes giving our educational presentation before releases, and, most importantly, working at our summer camp, Los Guerreros del Arcoiris (Warriors of the Rainbow) to educate our local children. Raul’s primary job in our area is working with the Whales of Guerrero project which also entails a large educational component so he has become very influential figure with the children in our local communities.
Raul grew up in the industrial city of Salamanca, Guanajuato (approximate population 270,000), home of the largest Pemex refinery in Mexico. When he was young, Raul dreamed of joining the Navy and becoming a pilot but the need for prescription glasses changed those plans before he had the chance. In hindsight, he says that’s probably a good thing as he probably wouldn’t have been a good fit in the highly disciplined and regimented life of the military.
Following high school, Raul applied for entrance to Universidad del Mar (University of the Sea) in Oaxaca where he hoped to study Marine Biology. Before he was even sure he had been accepted, he moved there to prepare for his university studies. Fortunately he was accepted and later completed all of the course work for his degree.
After completing his university studies, Raul helped found an NGO in Oaxaca, with some former classmates and a professor, that focused on the study of the local dolphin population. While he really enjoyed that work, he wanted an opportunity to mix scientific study with an educational element in his work.
Raul learned of the Whales of Guerrero project that studies humpback whales in the waters off of Playa Larga, Playa Blanca, and Barra de Potosí and moved north. He is now in his second season with Whales of Guerrero and also with us at Ayotlcalli.
Beyond teaching the children in our communities through his work with Ayotlcalli’s camp and Whales of Guerrero’s educational outreach, Raul is a model to the young people by the way he lives and honors the environment. Raul is known for carrying an old wine bottle covered in burlap as his water bottle in favor of single use bottle or even a manufactured reusable bottle. He’s also known for doing his own dishes if he visits a friend’s home to make sure the absolute minimum amount of water is used. He’s an inspiration to the kids and really lives a life of total environmental consciousness.
When he was asked what his favorite thing was about working at Ayotlcalli’s summer camp, Raul said it was watching Damaris with the kids. He said that watching her made him a better teacher.
Because of all of these personal attributes and his important role in our summer camp, Damaris invited Raul to join her at the 2019 International Sea Turtle symposium next month in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Raul will have an opportunity to network with other marine life professionals and to expand his knowledge of the sea turtle world.
Raul is a special person, helping to mold future leaders, and we’re excited that he has this unique opportunity. But, of course, it costs money. If you able, we’re asking for contributions to help defray some of the expense of his trip. Our goal is to raise US$500 by the start of the symposium on February 2. If you can help us get Raul to South Carolina, please donate online at any amount you are able.