What is YappoPalooza?

YappoPalooza is a family oriented festival and fundraiser to benefit the Binational Kemp’s Ridley and other Sea Turtle Conservation Projects. As federal and state funds have dwindled over the years, this direct funding has become mission critical to sustain the Kemp’s Ridley Project and provide support to other sea turtle projects. The Kemp’s Ridley Project has both a successful track record and the real possibility of downlisting this most iconic of marine animals. Other proven sea turtle projects may receive funding to promote conservation efforts.

This year’s YappoPalooza  will be held on June 11, 2016 and will be hosted at the Gladys Porter Zoo. The day-long event will feature a turtle run, arts and crafts vendors, children’s educational and recreational activities, a silent auction, raffle, exhibits, presentations from renowned sea turtle biologists from Mexico and the US, and an evening social with live music, shrimp plates and beer and wine sampling. The main goal of the event is two-fold: to raise awareness of sea turtle conservation efforts and encourage volunteerism; and help fund the continuation of critical Kemp’s Ridley Project research, in specific the tagging study.

The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle was declared an endangered species in 1970 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Close to 99% of the species’ population nests on the beaches of Tamaulipas, Mexico. Long term poaching combined with predation and deleterious shrimping practices had driven it to the brink of extinction. In 1978, in a desperate attempt to save the species, the United States and Mexico launched the binational recovery effort. The Gladys Porter Zoo became the U.S. project administrator for field-base conservation activities in 1981. The real core of this success story is the “turtle camps” located along the beaches of Tamaulipas. These rustic camps operated in the early years without running water or electricity, and accommodations often consisted of drift wood cabins built behind the dunes. For decades, field crews at the turtle camps have gathered and protected the clutches of eggs, nurturing and guarding them until they hatch; and since 1978, close to 220,000 Kemp’s ridley nests have been protected and over 12 million hatchlings released into the Gulf of Mexico from the turtle camps.The work performed by these sea turtle biologists, working tirelessly side by side with dedicated volunteers from across the US and Mexico, effectively brought back a species from the brink of extinction.

YappoPalooza is named after a young man who became one of those dedicated volunteers for the Kemp’s Ridley Project. He spent all his free time for many years traveling to the beaches of Mexico and becoming one of the legendary unsung heroes that practice their passion and make a difference, without asking anything in return. YappoPalooza is not all about money. It is a vehicle to share this story and inspire the next generation(s) to give of themselves. They can make the world a better place and be better people because of it.

Your donation to YappoPalooza  will directly benefit sea turtle conservation and efforts for the Kemp’s Ridley Project. We thank you in advance for your generous contribution and we hope to see you at this year’s event.