The Vision of the International Sea Turtle Society is globally robust populations of sea turtles fulfilling their ecological roles within a healthy environment, in harmonious co-existence with all Peoples.
The Mission of the International Sea Turtle Society is to promote understanding, appreciation, and value of sea turtles and their habitats through the exchange and sharing of information, techniques, ideas, and inspiration that will promote actions from local to global levels, for the advancement of sea turtle biology and conservation.
The International Sea Turtle Society has been a registered non-profit organization (501(c)(3) since February 1996. It convenes a uniquely important International Sea Turtle Symposium that brings people together from all around the world each year (more than 1000 people from approximately 80 countries). Since 1981 this community of sea turtle biologists, conservationists, educators, and advocates has gathered to share knowledge, build capacity, network and collaborate and ultimately, to leverage conservation.
Symposium attendees have been able to promote their research network with others working in their field and train future sea turtle biologists and conservationists. In the past decade, the Symposium focus has broadened to include social science, education, and grassroots conservation efforts. The Symposium also promotes conservation advocacy through developing Symposium Resolutions that describe the Society membership’s ideas about emerging conservation themes. These resolutions are carefully and thoughtfully drafted, and then directed to national governments, international wildlife management organizations, and other conservation entities around the world.
Participation at the Symposium continues to grow, bringing together over 800 people at more recent annual gatherings. The geographical scope has also widened, from being a primarily US-based event in the early years to one that now includes members from half of the world’s countries. The background of participants has also diversified to incorporate government officials, students, the general public, activists, and advocacy groups, biologists, researchers, veterinarians, policy-makers, and more, to form an ever-increasing number of people with a matching variety of ideas, with the common goal of ensuring the survival of these endangered animals.
The Symposium is a great opportunity to meet colleagues, learn about the latest research, and discuss ways to solve common problems. We recognize that by forging partnerships we can have a greater influence on the future. We are diverse in our cultures, national origins, professions, ages, and experiences. This diversity makes us stronger. By sharing our vision and knowledge, our mission becomes more reachable.
The International Sea Turtle Society is governed by a Board of Directors (BoD) who are elected by the membership. They are your representatives and are dedicated to the goals and mission of the Society. Look out for their identifying badges at the next Symposium; feel free to go up and talk to them about your Society and any suggestions you may have to help develop it. The BoD need and want to hear from you. Keep the Society vital by sharing your ideas and concerns with them.