Our partners play a key role in our success, including giving guest lectures during the school year, lead site visits, and participate in summer workshops. They include organizations focused on the natural and environmental resources of Puerto Rico.
Department of Natural Resources of Puerto Rico
Location: San Juan, PR
The Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico — or Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales (DRNA) — is the executive department of the government of Puerto Rico tasked with protecting, conserving, developing, and managing the natural and environmental resources of Puerto Rico.
The DRNA contributes their facilities to Centro TORTUGA. They also support staff who will mentor the undergraduates on their research projects during their second and third years of the program.
Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Location: Jobos Bay, PR
Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (JBNERR) — or Reserva Natural de Investigación Estuarina de Bahía de Jobos — is comprised of nearly 3,000 acres of mangrove forest and wetlands, including the Mar Negro area and Cayo Pájaros, Cayos Barca, and Cayos Caribe—an array of coral reef-fringed mangrove islands at the mouth of the bay. The reserve includes extensive seagrass beds, upland dry forests, and lagoons, and is home to the endangered brown pelican, peregrine falcon, hawksbill turtle, yellow-shouldered blackbird, and the West Indian manatee. Through a combination of research, monitoring, and outreach, reserve staff work to advance the sustainable management of Puerto Rico’s coastal resources and to protect regional watersheds and wetlands.
Bahía de Jobos is one of 28 reserves that comprise the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Estuarine Research Reserve System. The reserve is operated in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA).
Bahía de Jobos contributes their facilities to Centro TORTUGA. The organization also supports staff who will mentor the undergraduates on their research projects during their second and third years of the program. The student research projects will be at the JBNERR site. JBNERR will supply in-kind support.
Para la Naturaleza
Location: Fajardo, PR
Para la Naturaleza is a nonprofit organization that integrates society into the conservation of its natural ecosystems. Its goal is to ensure the percentage of protected lands in Puerto Rico is 33% by the year 2033. It provides transformative experiences in nature that inspire and motivate each person and community to take concrete actions for its protection, like donating time, money, or land. Besides organizing volunteer and educational events, along with fundraising campaigns, Para la Naturaleza also manages more than 50 natural areas and welcomes the public in visitor centers throughout Puerto Rico.
Para la Naturaleza contributes their facilities to Centro TORTUGA. The organization also supports staff who will mentor the undergraduates on their research projects during their second and third years of the program. Importantly, Para la Naturaleza provides housing and field support for our summer workshop and research activities at Laguna Grande.
Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust
Location: Vieques, PR
For thirty years the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust (VCHT) has been the island’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Vieques. Their mission is to promote the conservation of Isla Nena’s natural and cultural resources, with a special emphasis on the Bio Bay, conducting non-formal education activities, and facilitating scientific research.
VCHT supports staff who will mentor the undergraduates on their research projects during their second and third years of the program. Students research projects will be conducted at the VCHT site. VCHT also provides housing and facilities during student/mentor research projects.