Volunteer Field Assistants Needed in Costa Rica, Summer 97

nelson guda nels at mail.utexas.edu
Fri Feb 7 12:34:21 EST 1997


Volunteer Field Assistants Needed to Work in Costa Rica, Summer 97

This information and more is available at:
http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~ning/assistants

*Intro:

I am a graduate student at The University of Texas, Austin, and I do
research on the communication behavior of the treefrog, Smilisca
phaeota.
For the past two field seasons I have taken assistants with me to help
in
gathering data for my project. Unfortunately, these are not paid
positions,
and all expenses must be covered by the assistants. In return, I can
offer
the chance to get experience doing field work in a remote station in the
tropics with the possibility of conducting an independent project.

*Qualifications:

Enthusiasm. I like to give this opportunity to people who have not yet
had
the chance to experience field work in the tropics. I prefer that my
assistants have some background in biology, although it is not
necessary. The
main criteria is that you are interested and excited about biology in
the
tropics. A sense of humor is also a very good quality for doing field
work.
I'll be looking for people who I feel I can live with easily.

Independence and Responsibility. I will be gone for 5-6 weeks in the
middle
of the summer and will leave my assistants in charge of the data
collection.
It is important that everyone is capable of working without supervision.

Due to the somewhat primitive living conditions and remote location, you
must be at least moderately fit, and I prefer people that have some
outdoor
experience (i.e.: backpacking, hiking etc..).

*Costs:

In the past two years costs have been very cheap for assistants,
averaging
under $10/day for three meals and park fees. However, there is a rumor
that
food costs may rise significantly. I have no idea if this will happen
before
this summer if at all.

Travel within Costa Rica should run about $10-15 per day for hotel and
food.
Transportation to the park from San Jose should be about $30 each way.
Therefore, if park fees do not change much you could expect to pay
somewhere
around $700 for a two month stay, or $1000 for a three month stay.

Travel to Costa Rica will obviously vary depending on where you are
coming
from. Student tickets are by far the best deal - usually you can get a
ticket from the USA for under $500. Tickets from consolidators can also
be
cheap, but they usually limit your stay to one month.

You will also need a backpack and a tent. In the past I have been able
to
have tents available for use, however because of possible changes in the
field station this year I cannot guarantee their use.

*Time Period:

My schedule for this summer is still very uncertain. At the moment it
looks
as though I will be in Costa Rica from about the middle of May until
late
August. This does not necessarily mean that you have to be there for
that
entire time. However because I will most likely be gone for the month of
July, I can't have anyone come down during that time. I may also be
looking
for people who could be there in September.

*Living Conditions:

The main field site is at the Sirena Biological Station, Costa Rica.
Sirena
is in the middle of the very large Corcovado National Park, and the only
way
to get to there is by plane, boat or foot. Plane and boat are both
expensive
and not always reliable so you must be prepared to hike in or out of the
park. The hike is about eleven miles on the beach, which is strenuous
with a
backpack.

We sleep in tents usually under a roof with no walls. There is a kitchen
with a cook and you pay for your meals. Food is generally very good, but
often variable depending on when the last supply flight was. Other
facilities include flush toilets, cold water showers, and 3-5 hours of
electricity every day in the evening. There is no access to a telephone
except by walking out of the park, but the park guards do have a radio
for
emergencies. You must live in close quarters with a small number of
people
for an extended period of time.

It is possible that I will be also be putting a second team of two
people in
a small reserve on the other side of the peninsula. This location is not
in
the park, and is not isolated as is Sirena. It also has much more
luxurious
living conditions and access to a town.

*What you will be doing:

Because I work with frogs, all of the work is at night. However, since
these
frogs don't breed every night, your sleep schedule can get very erratic.
There can also be long stretches of time with no work and short periods
of
time with very intense work.

You must be able to go out on a trail alone at night. A typical night's
work
can involve hours of walking the trails looking for frogs. The insects
can
be very annoying and often the work is in the rain. If you are not out
looking for frogs you will be under a roof running behavioral
experiments
that involve playing calls to female frogs and observing their response.

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                        Here's what I need from you:

  1. Cover letter - Why do you want to go?
  2. Curriculum Vitae - Similar to a resume, should include:
        o Field work experience
        o Biology related coursework (with grades)
        o Any jobs relating to biology or outdoors
  3. Letter of Recommendation.


                 Send the above info to me at this address:

                                 Nelson Guda
                            Department of Zoology
                             University of Texas
                              Austin, TX 78712

You can also e-mail the information to me at nels at mail.utexas.edu

Expensive resume paper doesn't mean anything to me. 
I prefer plain white paper.

Volunteer Field Assistants Needed in Costa Rica, Summer 97



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