Environment Field Note
Title: Traveling Through the Turquoise Coast
This past weekend, my friends and I went to Turkey’s Turquoise Coast to hike the mountains along the coast and swim in the Mediterranean Sea. While we were there, we discovered all sorts of agriculture, wildlife, and terrain that we had never seen before. Part of our hike took us to the hidden, “Butterfly Valley” where a specific species of Tiger butterflies live among flowers and waterfalls. Read along to find out what lies in the beautiful Butterfly Valley!
Introduction – How are people connected to the environment?
The color turquoise is stunning. Is it green? Is it blue? The mixture of bright and beautiful makes the color turquoise hard to look away from. Imagine waking up every morning and looking outside to see a sea of turquoise! It sounds like a dream, right? The southern coast of Turkey along the Mediterranean Sea is also known as the Turquoise Coast because of the beautiful color of the water. Along the coast are miles and miles of mountains, valleys, beaches and all sorts of breath-taking nature.
Butterfly Valley on the Turquoise coast is only accessible by two ways: a boat from further down the coast or a steep trek down the side of a cliff. The mountainous region has protected the valley from natural destruction and kept the butterflies and flowers from predators
Butterfly Valley has been a place of solitude for Turks and travelers alike for as long as anyone can remember. The environment is perfect for many different types of flowers, insects, and sea creatures to flourish. The cliffs of the coastline provide protection from the elements such as harsh winds and strong sunlight. Inside the valley, there sun and water from the mountains helps the many different types of flowers to grow. These flowers attract the Tiger butterfly that is rare and native to this environment.
Also, the soft waves and ample sunlight has created a great environment for sea turtle nesting. Although it is currently not the time of year for turtle nesting, researchers are in Butterfly Valley and surrounding beaches doing tests and studies to make sure that the sands are just right for the turtles! There is a lot of respect from the locals towards the environment and keeping it protected. Much of the region depends of agriculture as well as tourism so keeping the environment protected is a top priority. The government has even invested in providing local families with awesome solar panels. These panels cut back on huge amounts of energy cost and leave a smaller carbon footprint, which the turtles and butterflies are thankful for!
What makes this environment special or different?
The environment of the Turquoise Coast is unique because there are gorgeous beaches and lagoons on the coastline, but just a few miles inland are fields of flowers, orchards, and agriculture. Just a few miles past the valleys and orchards are mountains that add more diversity to the region. The mountains create a beautiful backdrop to the coastal beaches.
What parts of this environment help people to live here?
The rocky terrain allows olive, orange, and lemon orchards to grow easily on the steep slopes of the mountains. Also, the altitude of the surrounding mountains keeps a steady flow of fresh water pumping into the farming zones.
What challenges do people face living in this environment?
With tourism encroaching on the more mountainous villages, the people face the threat of water sources being destroyed and landscapes altered by construction. Also the steep cliffs are prone to rock slides which occur frequently during the rainy winter months.
How have people been adapting to this environment?
Over time, amenities like road-side markets and mosques have made their way into the coastal villages, but for the most part, the communities like Faralya and Kabak remain untouched. The rainy season forces families to move inland or back to bigger cities, but most return in early April to begin farming and do not leave until late October. There are still herds of goats and flocks of sheep providing food and clothing needs. It gets very warm on the coast during the summer so people have used irrigation methods to keep plants watered and healthy from the mountain’s water.