The Sea Turtles 911-Hainan Normal University EcoPartnership aims to empower local communities to safeguard the health of the ocean, through 1) environmental monitoring of persistent organic pollutants (POP) and climate change impacts on marine turtles using gas chromatography, satellite tracking, and laparoscopy; 2) habitat restoration of sea grass beds using aquaculture techniques; and 3) ecotourism development for Chinese tourists to observe marines turtles in nature.
On January 15th, 2016, Sea Turtles 911 founder, Frederick Yeh, was joined by U.S. Ambassador Baucus and volunteers to release two satellite tagged turtles into the South China Sea. Under the auspices of the EcoPartnership, the movements of these turtles will be tracked for conservation research purposes. The satellite data will provide vital information on where to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to focus sea turtle conservation efforts efficiently. For more information, please visit the links below.
On March 4, 2017, student volunteers from Sea Turtles 911 and Hainan Normal University won first place in the "2017 Volunteer Service Competition" for their volunteer service in which they taught sea turtle conservation to younger students in rural areas of Hainan province, including Haikou, Baoting, Danzhou, Ding'an, and Tunchang counties. This effort empowered local community members to safeguard health of the ocean, raised public awareness for the protection of endangered sea turtles, and increased community capacity and involvement in sea turtle conservation.
On April 25, 2017, United States Consul General Charles Bennett visited Hainan Normal University to present the U.S.-China Sea Turtle Conservation Scholarship to two students, Tina Zhang and Kaia Guo. Since 2014, college senior students Tina and Kaia have been volunteering for Sea Turtles 911 by educating tourists, children, and other students about the importance of conserving sea turtles. In October 2016, they trained 15 other university students to be volunteer educators who then taught sea turtle conservation to 800 elementary, middle, and high school students in rural China from November 2016 to January 2017.
In August 2019, Professors from Hainan Normal University, including Dr. Haitao Shi, visited Sea Turtles 911 to see first-hand the wild sea turtles in Hawaii. Although this was not a demonstration of a specific technology, it was a demonstration of the success of turtle conservation and why China and the U.S. should continue working hard to save turtles in the Asia Pacific region. Chinese professors also met with other American professors in Hawaii. That year in November, Sea Turtles 911 also hosted Stanford University’s Dr. Larry Crowder, who is an expert in sustainable fisheries management.
The Sea Turtles 911 and Hainan Normal University EcoPartnership project won national awards for youth volunteerism in 2020.