Sciencing in La Sportiva

 Leatherback turtle hatchlings emerging from their nest.

Leatherback turtle hatchlings emerging from their nest.

Most of the time we think of cross trainers for trail runs, hikes, or scrambling. As a scientist who spend a lot of my time in field I also think of them as work equipment. I am a marine scientist who work as an expedition leader, leading Citizen Scientists in various conservation project around the globe. Most recently I spent almost a month on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica leading a Leatherback Turtle conservation expedition.

 Doing hatchery work in my La Sportiva Wildcats. Hatchery in the background.

Doing hatchery work in my La Sportiva Wildcats. Hatchery in the background.

Each night during the Leatherback nesting season a race takes place. A race for the precious turtle eggs between poachers, who fetch a high price for the eggs on the black market where they are sold as an aphrodisiac, and conservationists who try to protect the critically endangered Leatherback turtle population. By the end of each night not a single egg is left on the beach. The eggs fetch one dollar per egg on the black market, and with an average clutch size of 80 eggs that is a lot of money. Volunteers patrol the beach each night hoping to get to a turtle laying its eggs before a poacher does. When a turtle is encountered the volunteers carefully collects all the eggs as well as measure and tag the nesting turtle. The eggs are brought back to a fenced hatchery where they will be given a new nest built by a human, and where they will be protected from poachers until they hatch.

LEARN MORE ABOUT SAVING LEATHERBACKS

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SHOES

 The hatchery.

The hatchery.

 Baby Leatherback turtle headed to sea.

Baby Leatherback turtle headed to sea.

Each night we patrolled the 15 km stretch of beach for several hours, tromping through soft sand littered with logs and other marine debris in the pitch darkness. It treacherous work to say the least. This year I decided to try my new La Sportiva Wildcat Trail Runners. I had tried them out a home on a few runs and so far they had been great. I am pleased to report that they performed marvelously when tasked with fieldwork as well. They kept my feet cool and comfortable, and even when rouge waves drenched my feet they dried up quickly despite the humid conditions. I think I was the only one at the end of the expedition without blisters!

 The nesting beach.

The nesting beach.