WHILE most 17-year-olds were attending festivals or lying on the beach this summer, Brighton schoolgirl Rosie Jones was busy saving baby turtles.

The Roedean pupil travelled to the Greek island of Kefalonia in August to work with the charity Wild Life Sense.

This is a sea turtle research and conservation organisation which aims to protect endangered sea turtles and their natural habitats.

Rosie was able to fund her trip after winning her school’s Air, Land and Sea award for Year 12s. The awards are designed to support an activity or trip in the summer holidays between Years 12 and 13, which is “focused on personal development and public benefit”.

In the past pupils have used the prize to fund volunteering in Tanzanian and Costa Rican hospitals as well as working with whale and dolphin conservationists in Tenerife.

Rosie said: “I loved my experience working with Wildlife Sense as it was incredibly hands on.

“Each morning we would survey the local beaches, health checking and measuring the progress of the nests. But the highlight was doing hatching rescue, a night survey where we would sleep on the beaches and help ensure all hatchings made it safely into the sea and were not distracted by light pollution.

“As well as learning lots about the ‘caretta caretta’, which is what they call the loggerhead turtles, I also experienced the amazing Greek culture and made a fantastic group of friends, my fellow volunteers. This was an invaluable experience that I’ll never forget.”

The loggerhead sea turtle is the most common sea turtle species in the Mediterranean and nests on the sandy beaches of Greece. However, the species is threatened due to climate change, accidental capture in fishing nets and the loss of nesting beaches through light pollution and tourism.