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Statia Conservation Volunteer Project, St. Eustatius, Caribbean

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Terrestrial / Aquatic Ecology & Conservation
Location Netherlands Antilles - America South
Town/City St. Eustatius
Salary Additional Information Volunteer
Type Temporary / Contract / Seasonal
Status Part Time / Per Day
Level Voluntary & Interns
Deadline 27/02/2016
Company Name WorkingAbroad Projects
Contact Name Vicky McNeil
Telephone 01273 479 047
Email victoria.mcneil@workingabroad.com
Website Further Details / Applications
WorkingAbroad Projects logo
Also Listing:

Volunteer in the Caribbean on the stunning island of St. Eustatius, in the Dutch Antilles, overlooking St. Kitts in the Caribbean Sea.  You can take part in the following conservation volunteer work activities:

  • Trail building in the Quill and Boven National Parks
  • Maintaining the Botanical Garden
  • Helping with night turtle patrols during nesting season
  • Environmental Education

You can join for 4 week up to 12 weeks all year round and we have places all throughout 2013 and 2014 available.

Individuals, groups and students doing research all welcome.

The Project

Volunteer in the Caribbean on the stunning island of St. Eusatius, and join the St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation and help to protect and conserve their National and Marine Parks.  You will often be divided into two groups, and will spend time doing various conservation volunteer projects as listed below.

The Quill and Boven National Parks

Two or three days a week working on the trail systems in The Quill and Boven National Parks. The first conservation volunteer crews finished the new Crater Trail, then the Bird Observation Trail was completed in early 2005.  You will work mostly on trail maintenance including, clearance, erosion control and improving singage. 

Sea Turtle Volunteer Programme

During the turtle nesting season which runs from March to October, you may be assisting with night patrols on Zeelandia beach monitoring nesting sea turtles (not applicable for November to March groups). Teams will be established and days rotated. You will assist with gathering data from sea turtles that generally nest between dark and dawn.  Data gathered by the crew will be shared Caribbean-wide through a linked database which wildlife managers use to improve protective measures for endangered species.  In general, you will be monitoring hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles. This programme may also be combined with beach sand monitoring.  Please note that turtles don't nest every night and therefore you shouldn't expect to see turtles during every patrol. Please also note that our nesting population of turtles is small and we therefore do not patrol the beach every night throughout the season. Outside of turtle nesting season, there is an in-water survey in the Marine Park to observe turtle behaviour and volunteers may SCUBA dive and snorkel to assist on this survey (need SCUBA qualification and 10 open water dives).

Botanical Garden

You will also be working two or three days a week in the Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden on projects, such as developing a Fruit garden and a Children's garden for Phase II.   Work will also include giving tours to school children, pruning and planting cuttings, cutting grass, improving pathways, landscaping and control of invasive exotic species such as Coralita (or “Mexican Creeper”) which has taken over the island.

Environmental Education

Two to three afternoons a week you may be asked to help out at the visitor centre or with other administrative related projects that STENAPA is involved in, or with educational projects. 

Family Friday

Fridays are known as ‘Family Friday’ and are an opportunity for the whole group to work together with interns on a particular project, such as marking out a new trail, installing new signposts, cleaning the turtle nesting beach, planting a new garden or carrying out a survey. 

Orientation & Free Time

At the beginning of the project, you will receive a 3 day orientation programme, including information about the island (and the general protocol of being a volunteer in the Caribbean and the culture specific to St. Eustatius) , national park management, and training in conservation and gardening skills, with an island tour from a member of staff. 

During your free time, you also have the opportunity to get SCUBA certified (at your own cost) and spend some time diving in some of the Marine Park's designated sites. In your afternoons, if you wish, you can also help out in the Marine Park if you are SCUBA certified - this can include mooring maintenance, dive site checks and patrols, snorkel club etc. - see marine park volunteer on the right cleaning down a line.

You will work 5 days a week.  A typical working day for trail work or botanical garden duties would start at 7am and finish at noon. Two to three afternoons a week you may be asked to help out at the visitor centre or with other administrative related projects that STENAPA is involved in, or with educational projects.  The rest of the afternoons will be free and can be spent relaxing, diving, snorkeling, swimming down at the pier, obtaining diving certificates, bird watching, shopping, using the Internet, and enjoying the peace of Statia! For the sea turtle volunteer programme, you will work either in daytime (in-water surveys, nest excavation, beach clean ups) or during night patrols from 9pm until the early hours of the morning. You will then have the next morning off.


St Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA)
The Quill National Park was pronounced the first official National Park of the Netherlands Antilles on May 4th, 1998. The area is now a protected Nature Reserve, which consists of the dormant volcano, The Quill, and the limestone formation to the south of it, called White Wall. Within the National Park, there are several good hiking trails for visitors – you will be working on these trails. The Boven sub-sector comprises five hills in the Northern Hills of St Eustatius: the Boven, Venus, Gilboa Hill, Signal Hill and Bergje. This area has only been actively managed since 2007 due to a long running land ownership dispute.

The Statia National Marine Park is defined as the waters surrounding Statia from the high water mark to the 30m (100ft) depth contour. It was designated the Statia Marine Park in 1996 through the St. Eustatius Marine Environment Ordinance, with the objective to preserve and manage Statia's marine resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and future generations. STENAPA also manages the Botanical Garden which is located in on the windwardside of the island, at the base of the Quill National Park with a view of St. Kitts.

Objectives and Background of the Quill Crater Trail Step & Boardwalk system:
The Quill, a 600 metre inactive volcano that dominates the landscape of the island of St. Eustatius, is home to many unusual and endangered species of plants and animals.  The Quill is characterised by eight different vegetation zones, six of which are found on the crater rim and basin, including the Elfin Forest, the dry evergreen forest, evergreen bushland, each of which contains rich flora.  The crater basin is dominated by giant Kapok and Sandbox trees, as well mango, wild papaya and mamee apple which share the canopy with endangered tree species, including Redwood Birds Cherry.  Eighteen species of orchid are found in the Quill and on the Northern hills.  In addition, many species of birds, some of them threatened live in the Quill, including Tropicbirds, Caribs and hummingbirds.  Several species of reptiles, which are already extinct on other Caribbean islands can be found, including the Red Bellied Racer Snake and Antillean Iguana.
In the past, the Quill crater was accessible only by means of a hazardous, steeply eroded trail, that was fast being washed away.  Absence of a reliable trail led hikers to wander off the path, destroying fragile ecosystems, threatening species and broadening the band of erosion along the trial. Sint Eustatius National Parks Foundation wished to balance preservation of the unique Quill ecosystem by maintaining safe access to one of the most beautiful sights on the island -- a goal that was achieved through the construction of the Crater Trail Boardwalk and Step System by the first and second volunteer crews. Improved access to the crater allows locals and tourists to develop an appreciation for the unique ecology of Sint Eustatius, thereby aiding further preservation efforts. An ethic of environmental conservation has yet to take hold on Statia, you can help with the progress that is being made. Providing access to the island’s natural attractions, especially to the young, aids in the development of ecological consciousness on which the lasting survival of the Sint Eustatius National Parks ultimately depends.

Sea Turtle Conservation Volunteer Programme:
2013 marks the twelfth year of the sea turtle conservation programme. Monitoring patrols for nesting turtles on Zeelandia Beach started in 2002, and increased in 2003 with a greater number of patrols due to the onset of the Working Abroad Volunteer programme. It was with great excitement that the first leatherback turtle was observed nesting on 17th April 2003, and a number of additional leatherbacks nested on Zeelandia during the year.

Today, the Sea Turtle Volunteer Programme Co-ordinator along with the Project Intern coordinates the monitoring patrols during the nesting season. Volunteers are expected to take part in these patrols when they are scheduled. Volunteers should also expect that many nights the beach will be patrolled without a sighting of a nesting female. Our presence on the beach should actually be seen as safe-guarding. Our role is the protection of the eggs until the hatchlings make it safely to the surf.

Patrols sometimes take place in inclement weather and are only cancelled if there is a thunderstorm present. Rest stops take place at the end of each walk so besides getting sleepy, patrols are not very tiring at all.

Volunteers make the sea turtle programme possible as STENAPA does not have the amount of staff in order to carry out the necessary patrols. It is highly appreciated that volunteers come with a positive attitude as everyone is expected to do their part to make the programme a success.


Additional details

For more information about the application process, or for details regarding schedules, et al. please visit the project page here or contact Vicky McNeil here.

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