Conservation & Women Empowerment

6 of 7 species of sea turtles are endangered or at risk of becoming endangered! 

It is currently estimated that only 1 in 10,000 baby sea turtles will make it to adulthood. The natural obstacles faced by young and adult sea turtles are staggering, but it is the increasing threats caused by humans that are driving them to extinction.

At the FCOLC we strive to improve the survival rate of these beautiful and mysterious marine animals. So far, we’ve achieved some BIG milestones. Fabien initially established the sea turtle restoration program in El Salvador in 2010, and then launched an expanded program in Nicaragua in 2019 to include women empowerment.


Our mission is to continue to protect sea turtles while also educating and training the women and youth in the local communities to practice marine conservation and learn new skills such as citizen science, ocean conservation, and project management.


You can make a difference by helping to reduce the declining sea turtle population and empower women in the local communities in Nicaragua!

Your gift helps protect and safeguard nests as well as support training for the local women and students as they monitor and manage their sea turtle conservation program and educational outreach efforts. Through support and facilitation with the local university, the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua at León (UNAN- León), the indigenous community, and local community members, we have been able to affect change and bring about more awareness for protecting our ocean and marine life.

 1 nest = $150, 2 nests = $250, 3 nests = $350, 4 nests = $450

As a Thank You for your gift of adoption of $150+, you will enjoy the following:

  • A Certificate of Adoption with your Name & the Nest ID and species: hawksbill, leatherback, olive ridley or green

  • Periodic updates from the women who are protecting the nests

  • A special Thank You Card from Fabien Cousteau

  • A Guide to Sea Turtles and Fun Facts

  • A shout out on the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center website & socials (or you can remain anonymous)


Sea Turtles from the Start

In 2010, Fabien began work in El Salvador, collaborating with VIVAZUL (Live Blue), an El Salvadorian conservation organization dedicated to protecting sea turtles. He focused efforts on restoring sea turtle populations with the tortuguero communities in El Salvador.

The FCOLC established hatcheries for rescued eggs and developed alternative sources of income for the local community while extending the outreach via educational programs to help save and release as many hatchlings as possible in multiple locations in El Salvador. 


To date, this Sea Turtle Program has saved over 750,000 eggs from the illegal market and released over 680,000 hatchlings into the ocean since its inception.

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Sea Turtles In Nicaragua

The Nicaragua Sea Turtle and Women Empowerment Program supports women from the local community with acquiring new skills and knowledge to build, maintain, and operate sea turtle hatcheries, nesting beach monitoring, and educational programming  to  conduct sea turtle research, conservation, and community outreach.

The FCOLC began collaborating to conserve and protect sea turtles on the northwestern Pacific coast of Nicaragua in 2019. Efforts began with a partnership, a collaboration with the local university, indigenous communities, students, and many local community members. The project site, Isla Juan Venado Nature Reserve, has four species of nesting sea turtles: eastern Pacific hawksbill, eastern Pacific green, leatherback, and olive Ridley. The popularity of our work in Las Penitas has grown and attracted more women, students, and local community members to the program.

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Empowering Women
& Impacting the Environment

In Nicaragua, women face gender-inequality. Typically, men would manage operations of egg collection on the beach and protect hatchlings in the nursery. But today, the partnership has achieved an important change in the role women play in the conservation of sea turtles. With the establishment of this female-led program, those tasks are now being handled by the women and youth volunteers involved in environmental education programs. The FCOLC has been able to instill confidence and independence in the women and currently provides training and financial support for those managing the project. 

The women participating in the program also gain valuable experience in conservation, business, and management skills. They learn the protocols needed for the identification, tagging, weighing of nesting females and egg relocation into hatcheries for safe incubation and monitoring and releases of baby sea turtles.

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Community Involvment

In Nicaragua, the FCOLC, along with the UNAN-León, have joined forces to conduct ongoing research projects and environmental community education programs that aim to protect and conserve the sea turtle populations. By collaborating with nearly 500 students, faculty, and the administration, we have been able to identify different types of congenital malformations in hatchlings. The Program has provided the university students with the hands-on experience needed to pursue various careers in biology, veterinary, pharmacy, and medicine. Student involvement not only benefits the community through environmental education and outreach to the community, but also results in valuable sea turtle scientific data and discoveries in this part of the eastern Pacific.

In addition, we work alongside local community members and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA) whose role is to plan and co-manage the Isla Juan Venado Nature Reserve.

UNAN Leon has benefitted from the FCOLC partnership in many ways…(they) provided opportunities to empower women in the university and the local community. Participants have gained knowledge in environmental science, sea turtle conservation, and collaborative programming. The hands-on learning reinforces concepts taught in classrooms and builds confidence…

I have seen youth inspired to pursue science degrees and careers through mentorship and guidance that would not have been possible without the support from the FCOLC. I look forward to continuing to advance research on the effects of climate change and the protection of sea turtles in Pacific Nicaragua and strengthening conservation and education campaigns. UNAN Leon is thankful for the partnership.

-Oscar González-Quiroz Ph.D.
Ecology, Ecosystem Restoration and Conservation 

Biology Department, UNAN-Leon

Sea Turtles
Hawksbill Turtle, Critically Endangered
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Our Impact

As of March 2021, this program has inspired over 100+ youth (girls) and currently partners with 31 local women between Las Penitas and Salinas Grandes locations with numbers expected to grow to more than 55.

The women and youth in the program have relocated a total of 28,605 sea turtle eggs to the hatcheries and released 20,464 sea turtles back to the ocean after just one year, with numbers expected to increase throughout the 2021 nesting season.

The FCOLC program has established a model for future conservation programs that can be easily replicated.  The goal is to continue to raise awareness and educate and empower local citizens not only in Nicaragua but in other countries around the world to make them community leaders for ocean conservation.

If you are interested in getting involved or becoming an individual or corporate sponsor of this program, please send an email to

The FCOLC would like to acknowledge & thank the seeTURTLES organization for it’s Billion Baby Turtles grant award to assist in the operation of our Program in Nicaragua.