Frances Buckel was looking for a new challenge when she heard about the Earthwatch Millennium Fellowship in 2001. After successfully winning a fellowship place she joined the leatherback turtle expedition in St. Croix, one of the US Virgin Islands.
As part of the expedition, Frances and five other Millennium Fellows surveyed long stretches of beach at night, monitoring the turtles. “We worked from 8pm to 6am”, she remembers.
“We identified the turtles, took vital statistics and if the nest was likely to be washed away, the eggs were collected and relocated. We also involved local groups in the surveys and monitoring in the hope that they would be motivated to conserve the turtles and think about ecotourism instead of possible poaching.”
After completing the expedition and returning to the UK, Frances continued her passion for environmental conservation. She worked for the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum, an organisation which promotes the conservation of plants and animal species across the UK Overseas Territories. She later helped coordinate the Community Action Groups in Oxfordshire, a network of groups who work towards making Oxfordshire a more sustainable county.