Meet Our Field Biologists: Brett Butler

Have you ever wondered what daily life is like for a sea turtle biologist? We invite you to meet our sea turtle biologists!

We are so grateful for the many sandy miles our biologists walked at all hours of the night during the 2015-2016 nesting season. Together, we're creating a future for sea turtles. 

Learn about more opportunities to get involved.

Brett Butler

Hometown: Richmond, VA

Degree: Masters in Integrative Biology with minors in Spanish and Conservation Resource Studies from UC Berkeley

What attracted you to this field position?

As an aspiring herpetologist, working with conservation of the leatherback turtles is a great position to gain experience before heading to graduate school. Living on the beach in Costa Rica is a nice bonus.

Describe your typical day on the job.

Wake up late, breakfast at Kike’s Place, down time during the middle of the day when the sun is the hottest, beach work including hatched nest excavations, checking temperatures of marked nests, or triangulating new nests in the afternoon, dinner at Kike’s, then patrolling the beaches all night long looking for nesting turtles.

What’s the best part of your job?

The fact that the beach is my office.

What do you do in your free time in Costa Rica?

Surf, read, Skype friends and family, apply to grad schools.

How is Costa Rica different than your home country?

Costa Rica uses almost 100% of its energy from renewable resources.

If you could have a superpower what would it be?


If you were a sea turtle, what kind would you be and why?

Olive Ridley, because I like to dance.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

Describe Costa Rica in three words.

Pura Vida, Mai

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Sheryl Crow’s “The First Cut Is The Deepest” is my favorite song right now.