2 Month Volunteer Period:
May 15-July 14, 2015 (Applications close 31 March)
July 15-September 14, 2015 (Applications close 31 May)
September 15-November 14, 2015 (Applications close 31 July)
1-1.5 Month Volunteer Period:
June 5-July 14, 2015 (Applications close 31 March)
July 15-August 31, 2015 (Applications close 31 May)
September 15-October 31, 2015 (Applications close 31 July)
Applicants for 2-month volunteer periods will be considered first, with shorter periods considered if 2-month periods cannot be filled. Please note that each applicant can apply for only one of the specified periods. Period dates indicate expected arrival and departure dates.
University of the West Indies
Cave Hill Campus
The Barbados Sea Turtle Project is based at the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus). For more than 20 years, we have been involved in conservation of the critically endangered marine turtle species that forage around and nest on Barbados, through monitoring and conservation of nesting females and hatchlings, research, education and public outreach. Barbados is currently home to the second-largest hawksbill turtle nesting population in the Wider Caribbean, with up to 500 females nesting per year.
Turtle nesting occurs on most of the beaches around the island, many of which are heavily developed with tourism infrastructure. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project monitors an index nesting beach nightly and operates two mobile patrol groups that monitor up to 15 other nesting beaches per night. The mobile groups also respond to public reports of turtle activity and turtle emergencies made through our 24-hour Sea Turtle Hotline.
Professor Julia Horrocks, the director of the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, is the Country Coordinator for the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) in Barbados, and coordinator of the regional WIDECAST Marine Turtle Tagging Centre.
The duties of volunteers vary based on their assignment to either Night or Day Patrol teams.
Night Patrol Duties:
You will be required to patrol beaches along the south and west coasts of Barbados from 7:30 pm to 4:30 am, six nights per week (i.e. one night off per week) for the duration of your time as a volunteer. During beach patrols, you will be required to record nesting and hatchling emergence events, tag nesting females, and to collect morphometric data and environmental data with a high degree of accuracy and reliability.
You may also be required to rescue disoriented hatchlings and adult turtles, undertake relocations of nests laid in unsuitable locations and educate the public and tourists about marine turtles. Sea turtles often nest in front of hotels, and therefore are highly visible to the public. Ensuring the safety of the nesting female, collecting data, and answering questions are all aspects of a BSTP patrol.
Day Patrol Duties:
You will be required to patrol beaches along the south and west coasts of Barbados from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, six days per week (i.e. one day off) for the duration of your time as a volunteer. During beach patrols, you will be required to record tracks from the previous night’s activities, nests, hatchling emergence events and to collect environmental data with a high degree of accuracy and reliability. There is a reduced likelihood of seeing nesting females during Day Patrol, though female turtles will occasionally nest during the early morning or late afternoon.
You may also be required to rescue disoriented hatchlings which have moved toward well-lit properties during the night, to deal with nesting females that have become trapped in drains or within the boundaries of beachfront properties and to deal with turtle stranding events. There is a much greater emphasis on public interaction and education during the daytime and this, therefore, is a larger part of the day patrol responsibility than that of the night patrol.
Volunteers will be assigned patrol duties (day or night with potential rotation between the two) during the nesting season depending on the Project’s needs. However, volunteers will be assigned primarily to either day or night patrol.
Volunteers have several other responsibilities outside of their beach monitoring obligations. Completed data sheets must be carefully reviewed then entered into the project database before being filed for long-term storage.
Equipment used on the beach, particularly electronics, must be well maintained and kept clear of sand, water and salt. The Project’s vehicles and the volunteer living quarters must also be kept clean and well-maintained.
Interested volunteers can learn to guide school and hotel presentations, as well as to lead public releases of disoriented hatchlings. At times, volunteers may be asked to design or maintain educational materials.
If a candidate has experience in public outreach or has art/craft experience, it is often beneficial. Please mention any skills, talents or previous experience in your cover letter or CV/résumé.
Dive-certified day patrol volunteers MAY also have the opportunity to participate in our long-running in-water tagging programme during the months of June-July, but this is entirely dependent on the Project’s needs at that time. This programme involves SCUBA diving and in-water capture of juvenile hawksbill/green turtles, followed by tagging, marking and the collection of morphometric data. Applicants who wish to be considered for opportunities to participate in the in-water programme should be dive certified (Advanced/Rescue Diver), have logged a minimum of 50 dives (i.e. must be very comfortable in open water, and at depth) and must have their own dive insurance (e.g. DAN insurance). Participants will be further assessed for capability in Barbados.
The position requires that candidates are
- 21 years of age or older
- Fluent English speakers
- Responsible, dedicated and hard-working
- Outgoing, with good people skills
- Able to maintain professional conduct under varied situations
All volunteers must understand the importance of accurate and thorough data collection, and be able to work and live closely with others as equally contributing members of a team. As the Barbados Sea Turtle Project is also a public outreach organization, candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to relate to people of different nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds.
Candidates must be physically fit (potentially walking up to 20 km per shift in soft sand at night, in the heat of the day or in adverse weather) without health problems that could prevent sustained high levels of activity. Proven field experience is desirable.
Candidates who can drive should hold a valid, clean (preferably manual transmission) driving license.
Candidates should have their own health, travel and/or accident insurance.
Shared, basic accommodation with cooking facilities will be provided. A small stipend to cover food and incidentals will be paid on a monthly basis. Airfare to Barbados is NOT covered by the Project.
Additional Contact Information
If interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line clearly indicating your selected volunteer period. The following format is suggested:
“Volunteer Application 2015: [Month,Day]-[Month,Day]”.
Please include the following:
- Letter of introduction
- Curriculum Vitae (Résumé)
- A list of three references (including email contact information)
- A clear statement of your age
Be sure to indicate which volunteer period you are applying for very clearly.
Please indicate where this volunteer advertisement was seen.
The application period will end on 31 July, 2015