Since 2001, The Oxford Society has been active in conservation and education efforts in Costa Rica. Many of those efforts have taken place in Tortuguero—"place of the turtles"—which is in the country’s northeast corner. Dominated by wet tropical forest and a patchwork of wetlands and canals, Tortuguero is bordered on the east by the Caribbean Sea. Its black sand beaches provide invaluable nesting sites for green and leatherback sea turtles.
In 2010, The Oxford Society raised funds to renovate and expand an existing structure on seven acres of tropical forest nestled between the town and the nearby national park. In partnership with a Costa Rican non-profit, ASVO (Volunteer Association for the Protected Areas), TOS helps fund conservation, education, and research efforts at the site. The Robles-Kaufman Research Station, as it is called, also serves as the home base for Costa Rican and international students who come to learn and to work in this unique and lovely environment. The station is managed by ASVO.
TOS supports efforts designed to improve the quality of life for Tortuguero’s human inhabitants. These include training programs for sea turtle guides (a project that provides income for local residents), beach clean-ups, and environmental education programs in local schools.
TOS supports efforts designed to protect Tortuguero’s unique wildlife. These include research efforts on green sea turtles and their nesting sites and spay/neuter programs for stray dogs, which sometimes dig up and destroy sea turtle nests.