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Field Volunteers for Hawksbill Turtle Monitoring Programme in Barbados

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Nature Conservation, Ecology, GIS
Town/City St. Michael
Type Temporary / Contract / Seasonal
Status Full Time
Level Voluntary & Interns
Deadline 31/07/2017
Company Name The Barbados Sea Turtle Project
Contact Name Darren Browne
Telephone (246) 230 0142
Email thebstp@yahoo.com
Website Further Details / Applications
The Barbados Sea Turtle Project logo
Also Listing:

3-Month Volunteer Period:
May 15-August 14, 2017 (Applications close 31 March)
August 15-November 14, 2017 (Applications close 31 July)

2-2.5-Month Volunteer Period:
June 5-August 14, 2017 (Applications close 31 March)
August 15-October 31, 2017 (Applications close 31 July)

Applicants applying for 3-month volunteer periods will be given priority. Applicants for shorter periods will be considered if 3-month volunteer periods cannot be filled.

Please note that each applicant will be considered for only one of the specified volunteer periods. If an applicant’s preferred volunteer period has been filled, a stated second choice can be considered.

Period dates indicate expected arrival and departure dates of international applicants. Applicants who arrive before the start of their volunteer period or who stay beyond the end of their volunteer period will be responsible for their own accommodation.

Location: Barbados, West Indies

Background Information: 

The Barbados Sea Turtle Project is based at the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus). For more than 30 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 an average of 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 hatchlings which have remained disoriented after moving 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 (sick, injured or dead turtles that wash ashore). 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 responsibilities than of the night patrol responsibilities.

Volunteers will be assigned patrol duties (day or night with potential rotation between the two) during the nesting season according on the needs of the Barbados Sea Turtle Project. However, upon acceptance, volunteers will be assigned primarily to either day or night patrol.


Other Responsibilities:
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, has art/craft experience or is skilled in web design/programming, it is often beneficial. Please mention any skills, talents or previous experience in your cover letter or CV/résumé.

Dive-certified 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. It is most successful with an established team working consistently together with minimal rotation.

Applicants who wish to be considered for participation 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)
- Have their own dive insurance (e.g. DAN insurance)
Participants will be further assessed for capability in Barbados.




Volunteer positions with the BSTP require that candidates are
- 21 years of age or older (local volunteers must be 18 years 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 driving license. 

Candidates should have their own health, travel and/or accident insurance.


Shared, basic accommodation with cooking facilities will be provided for international volunteers. A small stipend to cover food and incidentals will be paid on a monthly basis.

Airfare to Barbados is NOT provided by the Project.


Application Process:

If interested, please send an email to thebstp@yahoo.com with the subject line clearly indicating your selected volunteer period. The following format is suggested:

“Volunteer Application 2017: [Month], [Day]-[Month], [Day]”. 

Please include the following:

- Letter of introduction with a clear statement of your age

- Curriculum Vitae (Résumé)

- A list of three references (including email contact information) 

Be sure to indicate which volunteer period you are applying for and your second choice very clearly.

Please indicate where this volunteer advertisement was seen.

The application period ends on 31 July, 2017.

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