Volunteer Spotlight: Big Dave

 "Big Dave" Castro
"Mr. Roboturtle"
By Sarah Tolson

Big Dave has been with STPS for 11 years! He has been a "Night Krawler" for all 11 years--meaning he participates in turtle walks.  He also did nesting surveys as a tag-along for one year. 

Although Big Dave is amazed every time he watches a nesting loggerhead lay her eggs, he's even more excited at the opportunities he gets to educate and interact with the public during turtle walks.  He learned most of what he knows about sea turtles from other volunteers, turtle videos, the internet.  He recommends learning about sea turtles through FWC's website.

Big Dave is a city mail carrier, or "mailman."  He's done this for 15 years.  He's quite noticeable in our turtle walk groups because he gets a nice tan while delivering mail, but he has to wear socks! As he described his "white glowing toes" help us see him on the beach--even when there's no moon!

Born in Cuba, Big Dave moved to the USA when he was seven with his family.  They lived in Little Havana.  He still occasionally visits the Miami area, but has no desire to go back to Cuba.  His parents sacrificed so much to come to America--his mom was a teacher and his dad was a photographer, but they had to give up their careers and their grandfather's property.  Although he loves cooking Cuban food and celebrating his Cuban heritage, he doesn't want to visit and monetarily support Cuba.   

Even though he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy, he sometimes cooks roast pork, black beans & rice, maduros (sweet plantains) & tostones (fried plantains).  He also loves all types of comfort food, especially macaroni & cheese and peanut butter & jelly.  One time after a turtle walk, he even ate pizza that sat in his car during the entire turtle walk! 

Big Dave's advice is to get involved in STPS if you're interested in turtles because "it's all about the turtles!"  He believes STPS and turtle walks are the best ways to promote education and education means loving animals. 

An active member of our "Night Krawler" family, Big Dave says he "met a whole bunch of wonderful people" through STPS, and always has a few laughs to share!  One of his favorite stories that he shares is "roboturtle."  When he was on a scouting team one night, his group kept stopping for a turtle in the surf.  The turtle just wasn't coming ashore, but they saw it multiple times.  With the turtle as their highest priority, his group stopped and waited patiently.  Still, nothing happened.  They had to stop multiple times at the same spot, which turned into a joke that someone was sitting in the condo with a robotic turtle just to tease our STPS volunteers! At the volunteer dinner that year, Big Dave received a swimming turtle which they took out to the pool to test! (See the picture above!)

Props to Big Dave this season.  He survived pizza that could have killed him, being an amazing walk leader, and directing traffic with a red light like a pro! 

Come meet Big Dave at one of next season's turtle walks! 


  1. Met Dave on his first walk and he is an impressive caring person. Great job again, and again, and again. Roger P


Post a Comment