Matura, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies
Length of Internship
Min – 1 month
Max – 2 months (Depending on research project)
Turtle nesting: March 1st-August 31st
Off turtle season: September 1st-Feburary 28th/29th
Duties/expectations: Turtle Project
- Night patrols on Matura beach leatherback nesting site
- Data collection /biometric recording- carapace (shell) measurements, gps location, flipper tagging and pit tagging of unmarked females
- Data logging
- Morning surveys/counting of nests
- Assist with facilitating organized sea turtle watches for volunteers, school/community groups & tourists
- Maintenance and preparation of research equipment
- Assist on research projects that are going on at the time
Duties/expectations: Reforestation Projects
- Outdoor education in Matura Forest guiding nature walks/tours
- Plant trees in the forest
- Manage forests
- Assist with education of hunters and tourists
- Assist on research projects that are going on at the time
Nature Seekers is moving towards doing more research and science in the next 5 years. Help is needed with collecting data for different projects they have on their list (list of projects can be found at the bottom). A maximum of 4 interns will be selected; with selection interns will help conduct research related to sea turtles or reforestation. The projects need high level of writing skills because professional research papers will be written, drafted and sent to a committee to be reviewed/ edited for a possible publication. What makes this program exceptional is that after a short training session, the interns will actually be doing the work and getting the experience of a real biologist. Also this internship immerses you in a unique culture of Trinidad and Tobago that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the world. This program also allows for exploration of the country while being here Trinidad and Tobago has a lot to offer.
Nature Seekers prioritizes the health of the turtle, forest, education and data collection. With good data, good science can be conducted, without perfect collection of data the research would not be considered robust enough to be used and therefore accreditation would be void. Being able to stick to the strict scientific guidelines is needed if participation within the internship is required.
The nesting season for leatherbacks is from March 1st-August 31st with peak season in late May. Interns that are selected for the turtle projects will be placed with (depending on funding and time of year) one of the top three choices that is picked and a project supervisor. Aside from project duties the intern will help patrol Matura beach at night looking for nesting females and assist with recording biometric data. This data will include tagging new females and recording returning females, recording caspase length (width and length), recording any damage to turtle, where she laid her nest and place pit tag if needed. Morning surveys might become part of turtle duties with recording activity from the night at 6am. Late June marks the beginning of the hatchling season and hatchling viewing is a possibility.
Matura Forest is a very unique protected tropical forest where it has some species that are found only in the amazon rainforest. Millions of years ago Trinidad was attached to South America giving Trinidad its wildlife and plant species. Fires are a big problem in this area during the dry season causing the forest to diminish quickly. About 50 acres a year are planted and managed. Hunting is allowed from October-February, and part of the internship for the reforestation project is to educate the hunters that are found. Nature walks and tours into the forest are also a big part of the internship. This forest is home to a lot of wildlife and research on this wildlife would be extremely beneficial.
Characteristics and Qualifications
- Undergrad or post grad
- Must be able to work independently and cooperatively
- Positive attitudes
- Willing to work long hours
- Good physical condition (a lot of walking on sand and heavy lifting.)
- Attention to detail and problem solving abilities
- Ability to learn quickly
- Passion for nature, learning and teaching
- Science background, and field skills
- Effective communicators
- Paper writing skills to have a published paper
- Opportunity to develop field skills and science analysis with leatherback sea turtles
- Experience conservation in another country
- If working with the reforestation program you’ll be help conserve the National park of Matura forest
- If working with the turtle project you’ll be helping conserve leatherback nesting sites
- Ideal for those studying environmental sciences & conservation or those with a keen interest in permaculture, biological, ecological & sustainable development.
- Cultural emersion
- Working closely with experienced community members
- Develop public communication and education skills
- Keywords: outdoor education, reforestation, field research, sustainable development, environmental, internship, sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, ecology, biology
Research Sea Turtle Conservation Project Possibilities
- Beach Loss Due to Erosion (March-May, May-June, June-July, July-August)
- How much sea turtle nesting site is being lost each year?
- Leatherback Total Nest Loss (March-May, May-June, June-July, July-August)
- How many nests are being lost due to erosion, changing water course? Linked back to beach lose.
- Hatchling Success (March-May, May-June, June-July, July-August)
- Using environmental factors (temperature, shade/amount of sun, tide line/distance from the shore)
- Applied Nest Pressure (March-May, May-June, June-July, July-August)
- How much pressure is applied to position nest during compaction?
- Flies on Nest (March-May, May-June, June-July, July-August)
- Identifying fly species and validating/solidify the appearance of flies an emerging nest
- Sex Determination based on Temperature During Incubation and it’s Connection to Climate Change (March-May, May-June, June-July, July-August)
How to apply
Send application and CV to email@example.com