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Nature Reserve & Biological Station

Biology Internship

Wildlife Monitoring, Rainforest Ecology & Conservation
Description

 

A biological internship at Un poco del Chocó is a great opportunity to join our team and assist in our day-to-day activities to study and protect the wildlife of the Andean Chocó. Our interns learn about the different field methods and survey techniques we use to monitor and study the diverse flora and fauna of the nature reserve. They help our research team to collect data for various research projects and thereby gain theoretical and practical knowledge in tropical ecology and obtain hands-on research skills. Furthermore interns assist us in the reserve management and directly support our conservation efforts with their participation in our reforestation activities and forest school project.

 

Contents

 

Research projects

Interns help us with data collection (field work), data management and analysis (computer work) for our different on-going research and monitoring projects in the reserve (see below).

  • Avian research and long-term bird monitoring
    Interns set up and control mist nets; extract, band and measure birds; do regular transect or point counts of birds). Interns will be trained by reserve owner and manager Nicole, who is currently conducting her PhD research on avian life cycle phenology in the reserve

  • Lepidopteran project
    To study the diversity of butterflies in the reserve, interns install and control bait traps, catch butterflies and identify them

  • Camera trap project
    To monitor the mammals and ground birds in the reserve, interns set up camera traps, replace batteries and SD cards regularly, check the footage and identify mammal and bird species

  • Research on flower ecology and hummingbird-plant pollination networks
    Interns assist in monthly flower surveys, set up time-lapse cameras in front of flowers and analyze the camera footage for hummingbird-plant interactions

  • Fruit phenology and abundance
    To assess changes in fruit availability interns assist in monthly fruit surveys

  • Insect abundance
    Interns set up composite insect traps and analyze captured insects to measure fluctuations in monthly insect abundance

  • Assistance in research projects of other students or researchers

  • Data management (data entry and analysis)

Reserve management and conservation efforts

Interns will also spend a few days per month on conservation-related activities.

  • Trail maintenance (cleaning, repairing and renewing trails, stairs, and signage)

  • Reforestation project (monitoring of seed germination and sapling growth)

  • Forest school project (planning of environmental education workshops for local kids and schools)

  • Outreach (producing content for our social media and blog)

Camera trap projekt
Camera trap projekt

Several camera traps are monitoring the activity of mammals and ground birds in different parts of the reserve...

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Camera trap project
Camera trap project

Once a week we need to check the traps, replace batteries and read out the memory cards. Then the data has to be analysed. We try to identify the different species and transfer the data to an excel sheet.

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Reforestation project
Reforestation project

When the saplings are big enough we plant them on neighboring properties where we are helping to reforest abandoned cattle fields.

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Camera trap projekt
Camera trap projekt

Several camera traps are monitoring the activity of mammals and ground birds in different parts of the reserve...

press to zoom
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Program expectations

 

We are looking for nature-loving, open-minded people who don't mind to get their hands dirty. To realize the different research and conservation activities in the reserve we rely on the helping hands of interns who in turn will learn about different field research techniques and get to know the vast natural beauty of the Chocó rainforest. Our interns are expected to help us on weekdays for about five hours, usually afternoons and weekends are free. Sometimes daily activities require us to work in rainy or hot and sunny conditions. And sometimes the work can also be physically demanding. Therefore interns should come with a reasonable level of physical fitness. Interns share a house and often also rooms with other interns and students. Therefore they should come open-minded to a situation where they might not have as much privacy for a while. We ask our interns to be respectful, organized and tidy, in order to guarantee a harmonic work and living experience for everybody.

Who can apply?

We welcome interns from all backgrounds and ages (18+). Prior experience is not necessarily required to participate, as each internship session begins with a training period to help develop necessary skills. Nevertheless, a background in biology, environmental sciences and related degrees, previous experience working with birds or other wildlife, managing data in Excel, GIS or R, and/or Spanish skills are always a plus!

Rates 2022

 

The internship can last between 4 and 24 weeks. Costs depend on the duration of stay.

 

Duration of stay      Rate per week / month

First month                    295 US $ / 1180 US $

Second month               245 US $ /  980 US $

any additional month     195 US $ /  780 US $

 

What's included?

The rate for an internship covers the costs for food (three meals per day), lodging in a double room (bunk bed), use of the station’s facilities and WiFi, the lab, research equipment and permits, professional supervision and training.

 

What's not included?

Airfare, travel and health insurance, snacks, bottled drinks, visa fees, transport to the reserve, laundry service, weekend trips

Dates 2022

 

You can start an internship preferably on the following dates:


February 7, March 7, April 4, May 3, September 19, November 7

 

Please contact us if none of these dates works for you and you need to discuss other possibilities.

Furthermore, we recommend to combine the internship with the participation in the tropical ecology & conservation course. Interns who participate in the course before starting their internship will receive a 50$ credit.

We learned a lot about the wonders of the ecosystem rainforest and will never forget the wonderful time we had...

"

Peggy & Nora, Germany