32nd Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology & Conservation - 11 – 16 March 2012 in Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico

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The Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, conducted every year by the International Sea Turtle Society (ISTS) is a unique event that draws participants from around the world, from across disciplines and cultures to a common platform: sea turtle conservation. The symposium encourages debate, discussion and the sharing of knowledge, research techniques and lessons in conservation to address questions in biology and conservation of sea turtles and their habitats. The 32nd Annual Symposium will be held in Mexico for the third time, but will be its first visit to the beautiful state of Oaxaca, wonderful region with strong cultural relationships with sea turtles; Bahías de Huatulco, where the meeting is convened, is a paradise located in the southern coast of the Mexican Pacific, with nine bays of brilliant cobalt blue waters. Bahías de Huatulco offer natural settings that invite the visitors to alternative tourism, extreme sports and ecotourism activities. With the imposing South Sierra Madre as a background, 36 beaches compose this paradise isolated from the mainland by 21,000 hectares of dry forest that’s part of a natural protected area.

For 2012 we expect about 800 participants from 70 countries around the world; this year we will support the participation of conservationists, researchers, government representatives, students, volunteers and members of community groups from Latin America, who frequently have difficulties to travel to the United States or venues in other countries. The Symposium’s venue will be the Las Brisas Huatulco Resort (http://www.brisashotelonline.com/huatulco), located in Tangolunda Bay, about 5 kms from the port of Santa Cruz Huatulco and a 30 minute ride from Huatulco International Airport.

The hotel offers the All-Inclusive system, which means that all delegates that stay in the venue will have access to all the hotel facilities and meals and drinks covered. Las Brisas is a fantastic hotel with beautiful white-sand beaches, 20 hectares of lush gardens  and many restaurants, meeting halls, swimming pools and outdoor spaces, so we hope that it will promote interaction with other delegates, networking and catching up with old friends. More information on registration and hotel booking will come soon, so stay connected!

This time the Symposium will be focusing on innovative aspects of sea turtle conservation: new techniques, new approaches and new actors. For conservation and research groups in many countries, Mexico included, it is time to revisit the objectives and conservation strategies that have been in place for decades, and go a step beyond the routine; it’s time to open to a new generation of players with new ideas and new energy, to learn from difficulties of the past and to adopt and reinforce the successes. Year 2012 will be the “Time for Innovation”!

The Mini-Symposium “The Sea Turtles of Mexico” will celebrate the conservation and research about these species in this country, home of one of the oldest sea turtle conservation programs in Latin America. We’ll also host numerous thematic oral and poster sessions to discuss the main subjects regarding sea turtle biology. Prior to the main academic Program (March 11 and 12), we will host several regional meetings and workshops that will enrich our knowledge and complement our capacities for reaching our conservation goals.

Huatulco is an ideal destination that has something for everybody. Huatulco National Park offers from fantastic diving spots to mountain trails for bird watching. La Crucecita and Santa María Huatulco towns have all kinds of handcrafts shops and restaurants, where you can enjoy the great, world-renowned Oaxacan cuisine. So I encourage you to either arrive early or extend your visit, you’ll find it worthwhile!

So polish your Spanish, mark your calendars and get ready for a memorable experience… more information will come soon… See you in Huatulco!

Ana R. Barragan

President of ISTS
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