viernes, 16 de marzo de 2012

Volunteer Coordinator Assistant positions available for ICAPO’s hawksbill turtle projects in Nicaragua & El Salvador

Contact: David Melero
WWW Link:

A total of four Volunteer Coordinator Assistant (VCA) positions are available for the 2012 nesting season from April 15th – September 15th.

The Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative (ICAPO) will be conducting hawksbill sea turtle conservation volunteering programs at two sites on the Pacific coast of Central America:
•Estero Padre Ramos Natural Reserve,Chinandega,Nicaragua
•Bahia Jiquilisco Biosphere Reserve, Usulatan, El Salvador

Background Information
Only a few years ago, most researchers thought hawksbills had been extirpated in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Groundbreaking discoveries and new projects initiated by ICAPO and its partners have changed the conservation outlook for this imperiled population and provided hope for recovery. Still, hawksbill turtles in the eastern Pacific are considered one of the world’s most endangered sea turtle populations. Protection of the species in the region is among the world's most pressing sea turtle conservation issues; only a few hundred female hawksbills are estimated to nest along the entire region’s coastline. The low nesting numbers suggest that the species is unlikely to survive without coordinated conservation actions to protect eggs, increase hatchling production, generate biological information and protect key marine habitats. Working together we aim to bring the perilous eastern Pacific hawksbill back from the brink of extinction.

Due to the importance of Bahia Jiquilisco (El Salvador) and Estero Padre Ramos (Nicaragua), which hosts over 90% of the entire nesting population in the eastern Pacific, we focus on conservation efforts at these sites. We work with local community groups and national non-profit conservation organizations to carryout conservation activities. ICAPO’s hawksbill monitoring and conservation program has been running at these two sites since 2008 and 2010, respectively. Our research and conservation efforts are focused on critically endangered hawksbill turtles in the eastern Pacific, which is one of the most endangered sea turtle populations on the planet. Over 90% of hawksbill turtle nesting in the entire eastern Pacific occurs at our program sites, thus we offer a unique volunteering opportunity.

About ICAPO:
ICAPO was formally established in July 2008 to promote recovery of hawksbill turtles in the eastern Pacific. As a US 501(c)3 non-profit program, we consist of numerous individuals and organizations, experts in the field of hawksbill and sea turtle conservation, hailing from every country in the eastern Pacific from the US to Peru. We fulfill our mission to protect and recover hawksbills in the eastern Pacific by sharing information, raising awareness, forming alliances, conducting research and initiating conservation. This is achieved through close collaborations with coastal community members, scientists and policy makers throughout the region. ICAPO has established numerous conservation projects, consolidated an important body of scientific literature, and brought hawksbill turtles to the forefront of the marine conservation agenda in the eastern Pacific.

There are four Coordinator Volunteer Assistants (VCAs) positions available to help manage ICAPO’s volunteer program and community development efforts in El Salvador or in Nicaragua. The responsibilities of VCAs vary from slightly between the sites, but they generally entail coordinating the work of project volunteers, facilitating their involvement in the community, and serving as the vital link between local program staff/collaborators and volunteers.

VCAs should thus facilitate functional work between locals and foreign volunteers in terms of language. Furthermore, VCAs will coordinate with locals project staff to elaborate volunteer participation in night patrols to identify, measure and tag all adult turtles, relocate nests into hatcheries or mark them in situ, conduct daily early morning boat patrols to count turtle tracks and check status of in situ nests, monitor hatcheries around the clock, release hatchlings and conduct post hatching nest excavations. When there are no volunteers in the camp, VCAs are expected to participate in the field work. Besides sea turtle duties, other responsibilities of the VCAs will include administering food supplies. VCAs must also maintain a friendly relationship with members from local communities, as social aspects are crucial to the success of the projects. Not surprising, a high degree of independence, responsibility and commitment is expected from VCAs.

All project activities are conducted using the help of volunteers (who pay a fee to participate), which can vary in number.VCAs are expected to orient and train volunteers upon their arrival at our turtle camp and to motivate them for the period they are participating in the project.

It is important for VCAs to be aware of the fact that there may be periods of extended isolation and time in the field required by these projects, which can have adverse effects on personal moods and behaviors. Attitudes are very contagious in the project settings, thus it is crucial for VCAs to be an example by staying motivated and maintaining a positive attitude at all times, thus helping other team members to do the same.

Please read ALL of the information carefully before applying. Preference will be given to potential applicants that meet the following requirements:

•Solid ability in both Spanish and English.
•Previous experience leading groups of volunteers
•Strong interpersonal communication skills.
•Independent, reliable and responsible.
•Motivated, positive and adaptable to unexpected situations.
•Ability to undertake physical labor during night and day in heat and rain.
•Comfortable in an isolated setting and working in a team setting.
•Previous experience working in the outdoors (especially with sea turtles).
•Available for at least one whole period of two and a half months, for one of the following periods:

o April 15th – July 1st, 2012
o July 1st – September 15th, 2012

To apply send an email including:
1. Letter of motivation, indicating:
a. Time frame(s) you are applying for
b. Why you are interested in the position
c. Your personal strong points
2. CV/Resume

To: Tourism Conservation Project Coordinator
ICAPO-FFI Alliance

ICAPO will cover food and lodging expenses of VCAs during their time at the project sites. However, VCAs are expected to finance all travel to and from the project sites.