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Fly for Conservation Workshop: Merging Drone Technology with Sea Turtle Conservation Efforts

By Nicole Weatherholtz

Kashmir World Foundation is extremely excited to announce the successful completion of our first Fly for Conservation Workshop, which was held last week at the Barrier Island Sanctuary in Melbourne, Florida. We would like to extend a very special thank you to our partnerships with the Barrier Island Sanctuary, the Sea Turtle Conservancy, the Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, and the South Beach Community Center, which allowed our dream to become a reality. The loggerhead sea turtles have been on the threatened species list since 1978, while the leatherback and green sea turtles are both currently on the endangered species list, which is why it so important to find new ways to help conservation efforts.

The Fly for Conservation Workshop was a three day event, with two of the days consisting of educational lectures and presentations, which gave the students a better understanding of how Kashmir World Foundation began, how drones are built, and the rules and regulations necessary to safely operate them. During the first two days, the students also received hands on training that allowed them to build their own drones, and the third day was flight day, the day students learned to fly the drones they had built during the workshop. The workshop was a tremendous success and we are very confident that the use of drones will significantly enhance the current methods of conservation efforts. During last week’s workshop, we were able to record video and images of sea turtle tracks during the day with the use of a drone, and we plan to eventually use drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras to locate sea turtles and nests along the coastlines at night.

The workshop included teams from Kashmir World Foundation, Georgia Southern University, the University of Central Florida, and the Brevard Zoo. The Kashmir World Foundation team was lucky enough to receive an invitation to tour the Brevard Zoo with Executive Director, Keith Winsten after the workshop, and we are looking forward to collaborating with them in the future.

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