Tortugas Playa Venao, AKA Save The Turtles Playa Venao, is a Non-Profit (OBC -Organización con Base Comunitaria = Community Based Organization) registered in the Regional Offices of MIAMBIENTE in Las Tablas as “Tortugas Playa Venao” dedicated to helping revitalization, increasing the survival rate, and conservation of marine turtles – mostly Olive Ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea). We achieve our results by developing community programs and outreach activities, involving local & international volunteers, in an effort to raise awareness of sea turtle conservation in Playa Venao, Panama and around the world.
Sea turtles play a key role in the marine ecosystem at global level, especially because some species exhibit a migratory pattern traversing the national boundaries of many countries. But, they are facing threats including: poachers, natural predators, pathogens, unsustainable coastal development, and climatic change. Worldwide low numbers indicate these species will not survive unless efforts are put in place to conserve the marine ecosystems, especially those considered as key habitats. It is our duty as guardians of nature to make a change and protect nature so that animals, plants and humankind may all live in harmony.
Tortugas Playa Venao was founded by Scott Crystal at the end of 2020 with the aim to protect one of Panama’s most vital nesting sites for the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Over time, a group of local and international volunteers developed. We are committed to the care and conservation of sea turtles through protection initiatives, public education, and regenerative tourism. Over the past two years, we built three nurseries with over 300 nests relocated for a better chance to live. Ultimately, our dream is to increase the survival rate for these majestic creatures and ensure their return to this beach for all the years to come.
Scott Crystal, Founder of Tortugas Playa Venao
Scott Crystal’s journey is a fusion of diverse experiences and a deep love for the arts, nature, and culture. Hailing from the picturesque state of Maine, Scott’s early life was a canvas for his diverse passions. He’s a proud alumnus of Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where he honed his artistic prowess. Today, Scott is not only a practicing artist, but also the co-founder and Vice President of American Translation Partners.
A multifarious individual with a chameleon-like adaptability, Scott’s interests span fine art, poetry, culinary arts, languages, and literature. His love for nature ignited his desire to make a positive impact.
Polly Chan, Co-Founder of Tortugas Playa Venao
Polly’s life took an extraordinary turn when she met Scott Crystal, her future husband, at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Together, they decided to provide their daughter Clara with a bilingual education, leading her back to Panamá.
Although sea turtle nesting is seasonal, our work with conservation, education, and community outreach is year-round. Click below to see ways you can get involved!