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  • Hooded Grebe Project & Patagonia Programme

    • Employer: Aves Argentinas
      Location: Santa Cruz, Patagonia Argentina
      Country: Argentina
      Last Date to Apply: 10/20/2019
      Open Until Filled: No

    The Hooded Grebe Project and Patagonia Program are looking for volunteers

    Application deadline: October 20th 2019

    Facebook: Salvemos al Maca Tobiano

    Facebook: Programa Patagonia



    How to Apply


    Thank you for your interest in being part of the Hooded Grebe Project and Patagonia Program. Our campaigns, research projects and conservation actions would not be possible without the vital day-to-day efforts of our many volunteers.

    If you want to apply for the volunteer program in the coming season (2019/2020), please reach out to us at proyectomacatobiano@gmail.com, including:

    ·         A letter briefly describing your interest in participating

    ·         Your CV

    ·         The session or sessions you would be interested in participating (use volunteering period description below for guidance)

    ·         A Reference letter

    Applications will be received until OCTOBER 20th, 2019.
    Results will be available around November 4th. Together with the results, you will receive the acceptance package with all the information needed.

    Our field season will be taking place from November 15th 2019, to May 15th 2020.

    To know a little more about the species, the history of the project and to get a sense of what to expect, you can visit us in FB Programa Patagonia, you can watch our documentaries in Youtube: “Twilight of the Hooded Grebe” and “Tango in the wind”, or visit www.avesargentinas.org.ar and www.ambientesur.org.ar.



    The plateaus of southwest Patagonia, one of the harshest and least protected ecoregions in South America, are home to biodiversity of great conservation value. The Hooded Grebe (Podiceps gallardoi) is endemic to Santa Cruz province (Argentina) and today, only 40 years from its discovery, it is listed as critically endangered (BirdLife International / UICN) and facing extinction.
    The Hooded Grebe Project consists of a professional and committed team that works extensively in the area since 2009, studying the grebes’ biology, identifying the root causes of its greatest threats and generating direct-action programs and conservation strategies that have already helped the population to start recovering.

    The Hooded Grebe Project (HGP) is formed by the alliance of two institutions: Aves Argentinas (a member of BirdLife Intl.) and Asociacion Ambiente Sur from Rio Gallegos, Santa Cruz. The conservation measures include intense fieldwork (specifically research and control of invasive species), habitat restoration, local conservation education and promotion of laws that protect the species and its habitat.

    After 10 years of intense work, the Hooded Grebe has become a symbol for Patagonia’s threatened wildlife and the applied conservation measures are showing first tangible results. 
    The “Juan Mazar Barnett” Biological Station was recently built in order to create a space for scientists that are interested in continuing and expanding research in the area. It is now a basecamp for biologists, archaeologists and many local and international students and volunteers interested in participating in the process of saving this beautiful species.

    The Patagonia Program (PP), which is part of Aves Argentinas’ Department Conservation, started in 2015 of the need to understand the environmental system in which the Hooded Grebe inhabits as a whole. Seeking to know other animal species and their environments, generating management actions for threatened species and promoting solutions to human-animal conflicts, to guarantee biodiversity conservation in harmony with human activities.


    The PP and PMT counts with the support of national and foreign entities like the Ecology and Animal Behavior Lab of the Buenos Aires University (IEGEBA-CONICET), the National Wildlife Department, The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Canadian Wildlife Service, CREOI, Rufford Small Grants, Auckland Zoo, among others.

    Please take the time to read the following information thoroughly and in full, as your application signifies to us that you understand the basic conditions and are willing to comply with these agreements. Any breaches of these agreements may result in suspension or termination of your volunteer status.

    Volunteering in the Hooded Grebe Project.
    Our obstacles are immense. The Hooded Grebe´s breeding range is huge, its threats are many and for a few months, we need to be fast and everywhere at the same time in order to protect the Grebe´s most important breeding colonies.
    We are looking for volunteers who are motivated by passion and genuine interest in biodiversity conservation and research. We require commitment, initiative, sacrifice and a willingness to go above and beyond. 
    We need adventurers, people who like the idea of camping in the wild, rough and windy deserts of the high plateaus of western Patagonia, who enjoy certain isolation, extreme weather conditions and never ending trips on bad roads and nearly inexistent tracks. A volunteer should be able to withstand long periods without a hot shower, without internet and phone communication, camping conditions and long walks for fieldwork. Volunteers should be in GOOD physical shape and health to participate in the program. 
    We know from experience that a volunteer of the Hooded Grebe Project needs to be flexible (able to accept last minute changes of plans and delays), have a good sense of humour and a proactive attitude, be respectful towards the other volunteers and team members, show interest for the different cultures, accept and embrace their differences, help out and do more than his/her share (wash dishes, wake up early, offer to help) and have fun. 
    Last but not least, not everything is harshness, isolation and wind in Patagonia. The team is an interesting mix of biologists, parkrangers, environmental engineers, students, adventurers and naturalists who enjoy good meals at night, good music and long conversations. Of all ages and from all over the world, there are many different stories to hear and - most importantly – there´s a general huge passion about saving the Hooded Grebe. We hope participants will enjoy themselves, make new friends, and learn about Patagonia and conservation.
    It’s a life changing experience for those who are up to the challenge.

    Due to the Hooded Grebe Project’s and Patagonia Program long-term structure, volunteers have the possibility of proffessional growth within it.  Given so, we believe that volunteers with new ideas or interest in the project’s structure for the development of degree dissertation/thesis projects, masters degrees or even PHD works, will be favoured during the selection process.  In this sense, the HGP and PP structure counts with helpful elements to be used for long-term research ideas.


    ·         Minumum stay of 30 days

    ·         Interest in the field of conservation and/or biodiversity research

    ·         Passion to learn, good predisposition, good humour and a proactive attitude

    ·         Adequate personal gear to assist in field research activities


    Tasks to be undertaken.

    ·         Data collection on breeding colonies of the Hooded Grebe.

    ·         Support for capturing and marking Hooded Grebe individuals.

    ·         Wildlife monitoring and surveys (mammals, birds, amphibian and reptile)

    ·         Acuatic and shore bird censuses.

    ·         Invasive species survey and detection (American Mink and Kelp Gull)

    ·         Support to Colony Guardians (assisting in detection and control of factors negatively affecting colonies)

    ·         Large herbivore monitoring

    ·         Direct conservation measure development and practices

    ·         Collaboration in mantainance of work gear and of the Juan Mazar Barnett Field Station

    ·         Promotion and local education works

    ·         Habitat restoration

    ·         Housework (cooking, cleaning, collecting firewood) and maintenance of common spaces at the Biological Station.



    Volunteering periods


    Application deadline: October 20th 2019

    Selection results will be provided around November 4th 2019

    Due to the remoteness and long distances between destinations, and to optimize logistics and transportation planning, volunteering periods would rotate every 15 days, and go as follow:

    For periods of at least 30 days volunteering in the project, from the months of December to April, these cycles will be commencing on the 1st and 15th days of each month, and ending on the 1st of the following month, and 15th respectively.  All of these dates are based on arrival and departure from the town of Perito Moreno, on the North-West of the Santa Cruz province.

     A limited number of volunteer staff slots are allocated for the following periods:


    ·         15th November – 15 December

    ·         1st December – 3rd January

    ·         15th December  – 15th January

    ·         3rd January – 1st February

    ·         15th January – 15th February

    ·         1st February – 1st March

    ·         15th February – 15th March

    ·         1st March – 1st April

    ·         15th March – 15th April

    ·         1st April – 1st May

    ·         15th April – 15th May


    The number of volunteers per each slot is to be determined according to the amount of different activities to be carried out on different stages of the breeding season, and the level of workforce needed for these.

    You must inform us on your interest for which slot or slots you would like to apply for.

    Applicants interested in volunteering for periods longer than 30 days will be given priority during selection and volunteer period preference allocation.  This is because during a longer period of time, volunteers can learn more about the functioning of the Project, thus are more helpful to it by being experienced on the carried out tasks.


    General Considerations


    Cost of the program.
    Running the volunteer program comes with numerous expenses for us: food, salaries for leaders and coordinators, camping and research equipment, insurance, transportation, showers/ bathrooms, and more. To help offset some of these costs, the program cost is of US$ 20 per day (600 per session). 
    This covers the volunteer expenses once arrived at the project. It includes training, transportation, food, camping equipment and lodging throughout the entire stay. 

    We also offer a pleasant work environment, with a group of people willing to teach and learn, as well as a life experience in a pristine and unique place.
    If your stay exceeds 60 days, we are able to help reduce the cost to US$ 15 per day for the whole stay period.
    We will ask you to pay the program cost in cash during your first days at the project. Unfortunately, we cannot accept any other way of payment.
    By deciding to join us, we expect that volunteers have read and agreed to the expectations of the program. While you are with us, we need you to respect our policies and staff leadership. Those who do not do so will be asked to leave the program, without the possibility of any refund.


    During your stay, you will be living in our “Juan Mazar Barnett” Field Station, located in the southern margins of the Buenos Aires Lake Plateau, on provincial route 41, just miles from the Patagonia National Park.  This Field Station, only 130km from the town of Perito Moreno, works as an operations hub not only to the Hooded Grebe Project, but also to other conservation projects in Patagonia.


    If you are accepted to the volunteer program, you will receive detailed logistical information. 
    To give you a sense of what to expect: You will need to arrive at a little town called “Perito Moreno”, in northwest Santa Cruz province, Argentina, via El Calafate or Comodoro Rivadavia (Make sure you are not getting information on how to go to “Perito Moreno glacier”, or “Perito Moreno National Park”, since that is not where we will pick you up.) 
    Once you arrive in Perito Moreno, a team member will pick you up and take you to the Biological Station.


    Weather conditions.
    Weather conditions in Patagonia are harsh and change dramatically.   May be over 60 mph (100 km/h) and temperatures that may vary from below freezing to near 90ºF (30ºC) in one day, plus very high levels of solar irradiation due to low levels of humidity in the atmosphere. 
    If you are accepted to the volunteer program, you will receive a detailed equipment list.

    The food is hardy and typical to Patagonia: lots of stews and soups, lamb, potatoes and bread. In the field, volunteers cook together on a basic camp stove. Ingredients in the field are limited—think simple camping cooking. 
    If you are a vegan or live with a meat free diet, please know that Patagonia is not an easy place to maintain it, as meat is a major part of the diet, although we believe this should not be a reason not to participate of the project. 


    There is no internet access and no cell phone service anywhere closer than 100km from the Biological Station, and the satellite phone is for emergency use only. You will have the chance to communicate with your family and friends every time you go to town, but this probably won´t be often (except for emergencies). Plus, internet service in town can be spotty and frustratingly slow. If connectivity is important to you, consider this when making your decision to volunteer, though we suggest (again), this should not be a limiting factor to your application.


    For any doubts or enquiries, do not hesitate in reaching out to us via proyectomacatobiano@gmail.com

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