The Brazilian Sea Turtle Conservation Programme (TAMAR) was established in 1980 to protect sea turtles in Brazil and to re-establish their natural life cycle, which had been disrupted by humans. The programme is based on grassroots involvement by the coastal communities, and provides jobs and generates alternative sources of income. Within this framework, the mini-guides programme was created. It consists of a summer training course in which local children between 8 and 13 years old learn basic information about marine ecosystems and sea turtles, strategies to promote their conservation, and skills to interact effectively with tourists. After the course, children are given onsite experience by working as interns at the TAMAR visitor centre at Praia do Forte, on schedules designed to avoid conflicts with their studies at school. The children work closely with tourists, informing them about sea turtles and TAMAR's work; they also help the biologists in field activities. In this way, they enhance their own awareness, and by extension their families' and the community's concern about environmental conservation. Their involvement provides them not only with valuable skills, but also an extra source of income, thereby providing economic benefits to their families. The success of this programme is indicated by the excellent approval ratings given by the tourists visiting the area.