Volunteer with Sea Turtles in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Sea Turtle Conservation Project for Teenagers

Help with the protection and survival of endangered sea turtles and preserve the local ecosystem

At a glance

  • Help with the protection and survival of endangered sea turtles at Galbokka Beach, Sri Lanka.
  • Take part in an unforgettable hands-on experience participating in a night time sea turtle patrol.
  • Experience amazing weekend adventures and day tours to see the surrounding area of this magical island. You’ll see the most popular tourist destinations such as Kandy, Sigiriya and Galle.
  • Live in a host house with other teenagers equally passionate about conservation and the environment.
  • Learn about Traditional Sri Lankan cuisine and cook meals together with local families.
  • Download a sample itinerary for this project.

Start Dates: 

During school holidays

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Two Weeks



Is Turtle Conservation in Sri Lanka for teenagers right for me?

This project is perfect if you are looking to do something different during your holidays. It’s also great if you’re interested in pursuing a career in conservation, or just love oceans or the outdoors.

We specifically designed this project for teenagers aged 15-18, and we have a set itinerary in place and extra staff support available.

You’ll spend your volunteering trip with passionate conservation staff, who actively protect and help the local environment through different types of programmes. The best part? You get to tap into their knowledge and experience, using it to learn more about different types of conservation initiatives in Sri Lanka.

You don’t need experience for this project. A willingness to help, learn and explore is all we ask of you! On the first day our centre supervisor will guide you through the whole process and throughout your time at the project our staff will be there to help you.

So why not travel to a beautiful part of the world this year, make new friends, learn about sea turtles and help protect our oceans?

Volunteer holding turtle eggs

Here is a breakdown of the work you will do:

Work to protect and release turtle hatchlings

Your main role will be to help with the protection of turtle hatchlings.  You’ll do all of the following:

  • Help bury the sea turtle eggs in a safe, dedicated area to rescue them from poachers.
  • Conduct daily checks on the eggs to check their hatching time and help the emerging baby turtles.
  • Wash the sea turtle tanks and refill them with seawater.
  • Prepare food to feed the turtles.
  • Take care of cleaning, feeding and helping turtle hatchlings.
  • Hand feed any injured turtles.

Beach Conservation and night patrols

You’ll patrol the beach once a day to look for any pieces of fishing nets, which cause a large number of deaths in sea turtles.

Then in the evening, you’ll take part in an unforgettable hands-on experience - joining a sea turtle patrol. On this tour you will go for a night time walk on the beach of Galbokka to look for endangered sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs.

Community awareness and education

You’ll get involved in educational work with the local community.  This is very important, because everyone has to play their part if we’re going to preserve the local ecosystem.

You’ll work together with our local experts to make creative presentations for people of all ages.  This will cover why coastal conservation is so important and why we need to secure turtle eggs from poachers.

Explore the surrounding region on a weekend trip

All our High School Special projects involve a weekend trip included in the price. You’ll travel together with your fellow teenagers and our local staff.  This will give you the chance to explore an incredible part of the world, and take a well-earned break at the midway point of your trip.

During the weekend you will travel to central part of the country.  This will include travelling to Kandy, where you’ll see the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha and the last kingdom of Sri Lanka.  You’ll watch a traditional dance, visit a tea factory, spice garden and a traditional wood carving factory.

Take part in evening activities with fellow volunteers

After action-packed days there will still be time to fit in plenty of evening activities!  You’ll take part in a Sri Lankan Cooking lesson and watch a movie.  You’ll also get the chance to visit local tourist attractions.  You’ll visit the ancient Galle Fort, after which you can watch the sunset and do a bit of shopping at the market area  You’ll also visit Kalutara Temple – one of the most iconic Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka.

Where in Sri Lanka will I be based?


You’ll be based in Ahungalla – Balapitiya, in the southern province of Sri Lanka. You’ll work at a conservation centre in Galbokka bay which is 10 minutes away from your host family by car.

Balapitiya is known for its beautiful calm beaches and artistic style. There are plenty of outdoor activities and stunning beaches to discover.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Sri Lanka Arrival Procedures page.

What is the goal of Marine Conservation work in Sri Lanka?

The main goal of this project is ensure protection and survival of endangered sea turtles and preserve the local ecosystem.

All species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered in Sri Lanka. We aim to provide data and insights that help with the protection of these incredible creatures.

Here’s just one example of why this work is crucial: different populations of Green turtles around the world are likely to have different migratory paths. If Green turtles in one geographic area go extinct, it may be impossible to replace them with turtles from another area. This is because the new arrivals will lack the inherited instructions needed to navigate within and from their new homes.

The work you do - such as protecting the sea turtle eggs and helping the emerging baby turtles - contributes directly to preventing these problems.

Management plans

We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.

Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.

Measuring our impact

Every year, thousands of High School Special volunteers and interns actively make a difference around the world. During their time abroad, they contribute towards achieving long-term goals and make a long-lasting positive impact on the communities where they work.

We produce an annual High School Specials Impact Report, which documents some of these achievements. Find out more about the impact of these projects, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll stay with a host family in Sri Lanka. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of Sri Lanka and have a truly unique experience. You may also stay at a guesthouse.


On our High School Specials, we will always try to have you share a room with at least one volunteer or intern of the same gender and approximate age. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.


Your programme fee includes three meals a day.


Find out more about our accommodation.

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have all the extra support you need as a young person travelling abroad. Our Projects Abroad staff are there for you 24 hours a day during the week and over weekends to provide constant support and guidance. Our staff also make sure you feel comfortable and safe at your placement and accommodation. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

When you apply you only pay $495, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options and fundraising advice available.

Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 09 801 2518 to see if we can offer a discount.

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