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  • The Macaw Society: Volunteer Field Assistant in Nicoya, Costa Rica

    The Macaw Society
    • Employer: The Macaw Society
      Location: Bosque Escondido in the Nicoya Peninsula
      Country: Costa Rica
      Last Date to Apply: 09/05/2023
      Open Until Filled: No

    The Macaw Society & RESCATE Wildlife Rescue Center

    Volunteer Field Assistant

    Would you like to help collect field data to help make parrot conservation happen while living in a beautiful, secluded place in the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, surrounded by rolling hills and wildlife-rich tropical dry forest, as part of a fantastic multicultural team monitoring macaws? Add to that joining forces with the oldest wildlife rehabilitation center in the country and one of the longest-running parrot research groups in the Americas to learn a new set of skills and gain great field experience helping preserve this magnificent and endangered group of birds.

    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.


    Bosque Escondido Wildlife Refuge, a 1,800-acre dry tropical forest in the Nicoya Peninsula is one of the two release sites owned and maintained by  Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center ( www.rescatewildlife.org )

    Available Positions

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

    Position #1: Long-term volunteer assistant (8 weeks minimum, 3 months stay preferred)

    Requirements: (1) Previous field experience, (2) Previous experience working with birds, (3) Degree in Biology, Ecology, Forestry, Wildlife Sciences, or related careers or close to graduation, (4) Intermediate/advanced Spanish level (useful but not required).

    Additional requirements: Good physical condition, able to carry a 40 lb (18 kg) pack over moderate terrain for up to 2 km, and no fear of heights (Dec-May).

    Volunteer activities: Volunteers will participate in all activities mentioned above. You will be trained to identify all parrots by sight and sound, climb trees to check macaw nests (Dec-May), monitor parrot behavior, conduct parrot censuses, locate foraging parrots and enter data.

    Position # 2: Short-term volunteer assistant (12 to 42-day stay preferred)

    Requirements: Previous experience observing animals in captivity or in the wild, (2) Appreciation for nature and wildlife.

    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, and some background knowledge of birds in general.

    Volunteer activities: These assistants will be quickly trained to identify all the local parrots by sight and become experts at parrot behavior monitoring in reintroduced wildlife feeding stations. 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.


    Volunteers need to pay a daily fee according to the position and experience:

    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, non-bar beverages, unlimited tea and coffee, 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 the release site (private transportation or reduce cost transportation) in the Nicoya Peninsula. 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”.

    For more information about this and other volunteering opportunities please go to http:////vetmed.tamu.edu/themacawsociety/volunteer/

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