Volunteer – Caño Palma Biological Station

CHOTERC

WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF ME?

During March-October, we have turtle surveys and this is when we have our biggest need for volunteers. Year round we have caiman surveys, plant phenology, mist-netting, and shore-bird surveys, in which volunteers are welcome to participate.

TUTLE SURVEY

MORNING CENCUS – Volunteers will need to be able to walk 7 ½ miles on sand in the heat, with a light pack. Depending on the number of tracks and excavations, this survey can take between 2 and 7 hours.  *This survey is done daily between March-October 31st

The patrol records any nesting data that was not observed the previous night, checks whether nests have been poached, watches for hatchlings and other signs of hatched nests and clarifies any questions that might have arisen from the night patrols. Some mornings this team will excavate nests that have, or should have hatched, to determine the success of the nest and causes of failure.
With minimal training all volunteers can participate in data collection, erasing tracks and the determination of nest status. Those here for longer than one month can apply for a permit from MINAET to work as a research assistant, and receive additional training and testing to enable them to assess the causes of nest failure during excavations.

NIGHT PATROLS – Volunteers will need to be able to walk up to 16 miles on sand at night, with a light pack. Walks are done at a brisk pace without the use of artificial light. The survey runs from 4-8 hours, depending on the number of turtles emerging. 1-4 teams are sent out every night between March and October.
The patrol records all human and turtle activity they see on the beach. When a turtle is encountered, the team will record data on her size and health and her tag numbers. If untagged, the team leader will tag her. The team will then observe the turtle through the completion of the nesting process, to ensure her safe return to sea.
With a moderate degree of training all volunteers can participate in data collection, nest triangulation and assisting the patrol leaders. Those here for longer than one month can apply for a permit from MINAET to work as a research assistant, and receive additional training and testing to take turtle morphometric data and tag the turtles.
In addition to participating in surveys, everyone living on base assists with the cooking and cleaning on a roster basis.

HOW LONG CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR?

A minimum of 2 weeks; longer stays are preferable

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS, IF ANY, DO I REQUIRE?

No formal qualifications required – a biology or conservation background is useful, but not necessary. A great attitude, passion for conservation and good work ethic are essential.

WILL I NEED TO KNOW ANOTHER LANGUAGE?

English – some Spanish is preferable

HOW DO I GET TO THE VOLUNTEER SITE?

San Jose, then there are public bus or flight options. Details can be sent to successful applicants.

ARE THERE ANY COSTS INVOLVED TO VOLUNTEER WITH CAÑO PALMA BIOLOGICAL STATION?

Click HERE to find out up to date costs and requirements for volunteering with CAÑO PALMA BIOLOGICAL STATION.

WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION, MEALS AND FACILITIES CAN I EXPECT TO BE AVAILABLE TO ME?

Accommodation is dorm-style, with 2-3 bunk beds per room. Basic bed linen is provided, and a limited number of mosquito nets are available. The base is rustic, and set in the jungle, with only boat access. There are showers and a laundry and WIFI internet.

WHAT WILDLIFE SPECIES ARE THERE?

Monkeys – Howler, Spider and White-faced Capuchin, Iguanas, Toucans – Keel-billed and Chestnut Mandibled, Turtles – Green, Leatherback and Hawksbill, Proboscis Bats.

WHAT ATTRACTIONS CAN I EXPERIENCE DURING FREE-TIME?

Kayak, swim (there’s a pool at a nearby hotel), walk jungle trails.

IN CONCLUSION

Caño Palma Biological Station is situated approximately 8 kilometers north of the village of Tortuguero on Costa Rica’s north-eastern coast. The Tortuguero area is an ancient flood plain covered by lowland Atlantic tropical wet forest and is one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in Costa Rica.
COTERC is a registered Canadian charitable organization, not-for-profit, who own and operate Cano Palma Biological Station. Together the organisation and station strive to provide affordable access to those who want to study in the Costa Rican tropical lowlands, while engaging the local community to help us achieve sustainable conservation solutions for local species at risk.

For more information on CAÑO PALMA BIOLOGICAL STATION, please visit www.coterc.org

For important information on travelling overseas, please read ‘KNOW BEFORE YOU GO WILD!‘