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In Turning Turtles in Tortuguero readers will learn about the world's longest running sea turtle research station established in 1955 in Tortuguero, Costa Rica by Dr. Archie Carr. They will meet the biologists who came to learn and stayed to save the turtles. They will experience life in an isolated primitive village and follow its evolution into a colorful thriving ecotourism destination. Its namesake, La Tortuga – the turtle – is still the defining element of life in the village.
"This is a remarkable narrative, told with none of the stridency that infects lesser environmental writings. It speaks almost in a whisper and focuses on the close-at-hand–the turtles, a man, a village. Yes, it is about an heroic half-century-plus effort to save turtles, but it is really about saving ourselves, our habitat and the future. It is about the importance of education and sensitization to changing a culture and its habits of consumption – a lesson that can be applied to global warming, energy, and so many other complex environmental issues. The writing is clear and engaging, offering a narrative that is informative without being dogmatic, and that blends cultural anthropology, conservation science, and good old fashioned story-telling. Hats off to Anne Ake!"
– Ted Gup, Harvard fellow, award winning author, Pulitzer Prize nominee, investigative reporter, Emerson College journalism department chair.
"In Turning Turtles in Tortuguero, Anne Ake captures the essence of life in a small village on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica sixty years ago. Readers feel the salt spray and the mosquito bites, enjoy the camaraderie of village life, and admire the beauty and hardships of that past time. We see through the eyes of Larry Ogren, a biology student who Archie Carr sent to the remote village of Tortuguero to study the nesting biology of green turtles. Despite limited preparation, Larry thrives and becomes an inspiration to those of us who have had the honor of following in his footsteps."
– Karen A. Bjorndal, Distinguished Professor, Department of Biology, and Director, Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, University of Florida
"Anne Ake's Turning Turtles accurately captures the challenges and adventure surrounding the launch of the world's first sea turtle conservation program. Attracted by some mysterious force to the black sands of Tortuguero, Costa Rica, green turtles return by the thousands each summer to lay their precious eggs on this remote stretch of Caribbean shore. For over five decades, conservationists beginning with Archie Carr and Larry Ogren have been traveling to Tortuguero to study and protect the turtles. Turning Turtles is a fascinating journey through the history of this place and the people who have dedicated their lives to recovering Tortuguero's renowned sea turtles."
– David Godfrey, Executive Director, Sea Turtle Conservancy
"The book is very interesting. In spite of everything I have going on I simply could not give it up. At first, it has a very strong flavor reminiscent of the Windward Road (my favorite sea turtle book). But then, it makes great strides toward becoming its own book, its own story. For a Costa Rican sea turtle biologist who began his career in 1987, the year Dr. Carr passed away, this book summarizes a lifetime of groundbreaking work, one that has lasted and will continue to last for generations."
– Roldán Valverde, President International Sea Turtle Society, Associate Professor Southeastern Louisiana University
"Turning Turtles in Tortuguero is a winner. Written by naturalist Anne Ake, it captures in splendid detail and description the critical history of a Costa Rican village, its people, heroic field biologists, and the magnificent sea turtles: species on the brink of extinction. Through the endless efforts of Dr. Archie Carr and his small army of dedicated followers, the Costa Rican residents were provided a new paradigm of the sea turtle. Turning Turtles vividly describes the turning of time, human view points, and turtle survival. In her book, Ake captures the rain forest landscape and turtle nesting beaches of a special place isolated in time and space. She touches our hearts and minds, and cultivates a reverent appreciation for the "gringos" in a foreign land who all proved to be ambassadors for the U.S. and for wildlife of all kinds. Dr. Carr was a conversation catalyst, as were Larry Ogren and Harold Hirth, both of whom I had the pleasure of knowing for many years. Turning Turtles in Tortuguero is more than a conservation story; it's a human message about the realities of existence for a people, a cause, and the strong but fragile green sea turtles. This book is highly recommending reading for any and all who appreciate life on Earth."
– Mike Brimm, Marine Ecologist Consultant, formerly with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service