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Job Type: volunteer position

Location: N/A

Posting Date: 28 Jul 14

Closing Date: 27 Oct 14

W H A L E S H A R K & O C E A N I C R E S E A R C H C E N T E R
U T I L A, B A Y I S L A N D S, H O N D U R A S

V O L U N T E E R E D U C A T I O N P R O G R A M 2 0 1 4

We are looking for diverse, motivated and hard-working volunteers who are passionate about conservation, interested in biological studies and looking for a unique experience that will provide valuable skills applicable to a career in marine conservation.
What is WSORC? The Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center is a registered non-profit conservation organization based on the vibrant Caribbean island of Utila. Utila is one of the few places around the world where whale sharks have been sighted year-round, and WSORC is responsible for a continuous monitoring program documenting the distribution and abundance of whale sharks in the area. Our mission is to facilitate conservation through research and education, and promote the sustainable use of Utila’s natural resources for the future benefit of the natural environment and local community of Utila. WSORC operates in conjunction with our affiliate organizations the Bay Island College of Diving (BICD) & the Utila Lodge Resort.

Location: Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras
Duration: 4 weeks, with option to extend

Staffing WSORC’s visitor center, research diving, data collection and management, organizing whale shark encounter trips (when the whale sharks are present), snorkel clean-ups of Utila Harbour, beach clean ups, guiding snorkel excursions, environmental education events with local schools, interacting with local stakeholders, and organizing fundraising activities. There is also the opportunity to visit other local non-profit environmental organizations working on the island and get involved with their projects (sea turtle monitoring, iguana transects, working with children at the library) and interact with their volunteers. WSORC Volunteers are also expected to help out with activities within either of our supporting organizations; Bay Islands College of Diving, and the Utila Lodge Resort.

How to scuba dive (up to PADI Advanced Open Water), research dive experience, Caribbean reef fish identification (Level 2 fish surveyor qualification with, coral reef surveying techniques, photo identification survey methods of whale sharks, how a non-profit conservation organization works in a developing country, community outreach and environmental education, and real life experience of the issues related to conservation and eco-tourism on a small Caribbean island.

Pick up on arrival to Utila, accommodation for the duration of the 4 week program, welcome and departure meal, PADI dive certifications (Open Water & Advanced – diving optional), 2 research dives per week on completion of PADI Advanced course (weather permitting), comprehensive education program delivered via a series of lectures covering a variety of conservation issues on Utila (coral reef ecology and conservation, Caribbean reef fish, whale shark biology, sea turtles, invasive species lionfish), boat workshop (orientation on boats used for whale shark encounter trips, safety procedures & equipment, how to dock up boats, radio use etc.), weekly adventure day trips during the course of the program (kayaking to north side of the island through mangroves, boat trip to Water cay, paddle-boarding, horse riding, hike up Pumpkin Hill and excursion to fresh water caves).

Our WSORC Volunteer Education Program requires a full time commitment from our volunteers. Your involvement with the program will require 8 hours a day, six days a week. Volunteers should also expect to be involved with out of hours events and should be willing to lend a hand wherever necessary. Volunteers must respect local cultures at all times and remember that they represent the WSORC during their involvement. During the course of the program volunteers will not be able to seek external employment.

Our volunteer programs for 2014 are 4 weeks long, with the opportunity to stay on after depending on volunteer performance and commitment demonstrated. Price list below covers the cost of our volunteer program for individuals who would like to take their PADI Open Water & Advanced courses as part of the program (1st COLUMN), those who already have their PADI Open Water and need their Advanced qualification (2nd COLUMN), and those volunteers who already have both dive qualifications (3rd COLUMN). Although many of our volunteer activities and benefits are diving orientated, we do encourage and accept volunteers who do not wish to dive. Prices for these are covered in the 3rd column. All prices shown are for the duration of 4 week program.

September 1st 4 weeks $1465 $1225 $985
October 2nd 4 weeks $1465 $1225 $985
November 2nd 4 weeks $1465 $1225 $985

Upon completion of the Volunteer Education Program, volunteers are welcome to apply for the WSORC Internships positions (dependent on availability).

Following completion of any of WSORC’s programs, volunteers are eligible for a significant discount on the PADI Dive Master course offered by the Bay Islands College of Diving. For more information regarding this opportunity please contact WSORC director Lucie:

Dates for our programs in 2015 will be published on our website in August;

• Flights & Insurance
• Airport Departure Tax (Approximately $37 USD – at time of writing)
• Food & drink
• Electricity (Utila accommodations work with a prepaid electric meter, WITHOUT air conditioning, expect to pay approximately $25 USD per month per person)
• Leisure activities on days off

• Minimum age: 18. Maximum age: no maximum age, but all volunteers must be physically fit enough to carry out all activities.
• Volunteers must be motivated and enthusiastic about conservation of the natural environment, passionate about the ocean and should have an interest in biological studies.
• Preferably with relevant experience and/or studying marine biology, conservation, environmental studies or related field, but not essential.
• Ability to work in tropical conditions; hot and humid climate with mosquitos and sand flies.
• Must be a confident swimmer with capable snorkelling ability.
• Comfortable at sea and working on boats. No experience necessary but if you suffer from extreme sea sickness maybe this is not the right project for you.
• Interpersonal skills, initiative, enthusiasm and the ability to work within a team are essential.
• Personal insurance. All volunteers must have their own insurance, and documented evidence must be provided to WSORC prior to volunteer arrival.


Contact Information:

If you are looking for a unique opportunity and think you have what it takes to volunteer at the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center, please email your CV along with a brief covering letter (no more than one A4 side) describing your motivations for applying to Lucie at Please specify the dates of the program you are applying for. Internship and research opportunities are also available, for more information please visit our website for more details.

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