Volunteer Field Assistant with The Macaw Society & Punta Leona Hotel

Would you like to live on one of the most beautiful beaches on the central Pacific coast in Costa Rica as part of a fantastic multicultural team while helping to preserve wild macaws? Add to that learning a new set of skills and a great field experience being part of one of the longest parrot research groups in the Americas?

If this sounds good to you, come and join our team of dedicated volunteers!! 

Volunteers should be self-disciplined, responsible, enthusiastic, and patient. You should also be able to tolerate moderate insect levels, and hot weather (85-90F/30-33C). You must also be able to get along well with others in a remote field setting.

Location

Hotel Punta Leona is a beach hotel located in the district of Tárcoles, Garabito County, Province of Puntarenas, just 60 minutes from the city of San José; It has an exuberant tropical forest, beautiful beaches with white sand and green-emerald waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Playa Blanca beach. Hotel Punta Leona. Costa Rica

Available Positions

We have three different types of positions that are available year-round.

Position #1:
Volunteer sponsored by Punta Leona Hotel and The Macaw Society (10 weeks minimum, 3-4 months stay recommended)

Position available just from November to May

The Macaw Society team working measuring a wild macaw chick in Punta Leona Hotel

Activities: You will be trained to identify all parrots by sight and sound in the area. To conduct wild parrot censuses, locate foraging parrots plus enter data to computers. During the macaw breeding season, you will be train to climb trees using rope systems and observe macaw behavior around and inside nests using surveillance cameras.

Qualifications: Immediately available. (1) Previous field experience, (2) Previous experience working with birds, (3) Degree on Biology, Ecology, Forestry or related careers or in the last semesters, (4) Intermediate/advance English level, (5) Intermediate/advance Spanish level, (6) Previous experience working in tropics (not a must but helpful), (7) Experience giving talks to general public, (8) Good time availability and time flexibility.

Additional Requirements: Good physical condition, able to carry a 40 lb (18 kg) pack over moderate terrain for up to 2 km, no fear of heights (Dec-May). Good disposition facing new and challenging situations, able to work in a team under stress. Have both live and accidents insurance coverage.

Cost: NO COST

Position #2:
Long-term volunteer assistant (8 weeks minimum, 3 months stay recommended)

Activities: You will be trained to identify all parrots by sight and sound in the area. To conduct wild parrot censuses, locate foraging parrots plus enter data to computers. During the macaw breeding season, you will be train to climb trees using rope systems and observe macaw behavior around and inside nests using surveillance cameras.

Qualifications: (1) Previous field experience, (2) Previous experience working with birds, (3) Degree on Biology, Ecology, Forestry or related careers or in the last semesters, (4) Intermediate/advance Spanish level.

Additional Requirements: Good physical condition, able to carry a 40 lb (18 kg) pack over moderate terrain for up to 2 km, no fear of heights (Dec-May). Good disposition facing new and challenging situations, able to work in a team under stress. Have both live and accidents insurance coverage.

Cost: US $30 per day

Position # 3:
Short term volunteer assistant (12 to 30 day stay recommended)

Activities: These assistants will be quickly trained to identify all the local parrots by sight and become experts at parrot behavior monitoring around macaw nests. Due to the short length of stay, volunteers will have only minimal involvement in activities requiring higher training levels like parrot censuses and tree climbing. Assistants will also help with data entry.

Qualifications: Previous experience observing animals (captivity/wildlife), (2) appreciation for nature and wildlife, (3) basic knowledge of Spanish (not required but useful)

Additional requirements: Average physical condition, ability to walk 2 km over moderate terrain, good sense of observing animals, ability to stay seated for long periods of time, some background knowledge of birds in general.

Cost: US $45 per day


Cost

Essentially, volunteering is free. We take care of research permit costs, cover the costs of all staff, work to maintain training material, and also deal with all correspondence and various aspects of project management. However, our budget does not extend to being able to pay for all aspects of volunteer participation. As such you only need to cover food, accommodation, and other services provided by the hotel. The costs are very reasonable. The daily fee is according to the position and experience:

  • Position #1: NO COST. Position funded by Punta Leona Hotel and The Macaw Society
  • Position #1: 30 USD/day
  • Position #2: 45 USD/day

*A one-time processing fee of $30 will be added for all volunteers.

This rate covers food and accommodations (bedding is provided). All volunteers will be charged an airport transfer to be picked up ($20) or dropped off ($10) at the airport plus an extra cost to be transported to Punta Leona Hotel (private transportation).Once a volunteer was accepted they will be sent an invoice by email from Texas A&M University. Upon receipt, the volunteer needs to pay 20% of the total cost of their stay. This non-refundable payment is required to hold the reservation for the assistant. The remaining 80% of the payment should be made at least two weeks before the assistant arrives at the release site. Arrangements can be made if assistants wish to pay in cash in the country. However, prior permission from the coordinator is needed. Changes to the daily fee may apply according to availability and season.


How to apply

To apply please send an email to volunteering@themacawsociety.org  

This email should contain the following:

  1. A letter of interest explaining why you want to work with us
  2. Your CV or resume
  3. Email addresses for at least 3 references
  4. The range of dates when you will be available and how long you can participate. For example, you may say something like “any 20-day period between March and July 2015”.