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At Osa Conservation, we reconnect the rainforest, monitor and protect biodiversity, and work hand-in-hand with the local community to build climate resilient ecosystems for people and wildlife. Our team works across southern Costa Rica, connecting and protecting landscapes and biodiversity from the ridges of the Talamanca mountains to the coral reefs of the Golfo Dulce and the Pacific Ocean. Be part of our conservation successes and come get your boots dirty in one of Earth’s greatest wildernesses.
The Sea Turtle Conservation Program focuses on safeguarding the four sea turtle species that nest along the beaches bordering the Osa Conservation Campus. Interns will learn to lead beach patrols and sea turtle nest censuses, record data, build sustainable hatcheries, relocate nests, release thousands of baby sea turtles every year, and gain hands-on experience conserving vital nesting habitat and safeguarding the future of sea turtle populations. Our program has evolved to incorporate technologies to advance sea turtle monitoring and research.
Short-term intern activities, training and experience:
Short-term internships are designed to empower and immerse early-career conservationists in one of the most important neotropical landscapes on Earth while developing crucial career skills. Come live in a tropical rainforest and learn alongside an outstanding community of conservationists, biologists, media-specialists, educators, community outreach leaders, and more, to fill knowledge gaps and push the frontier of tropical conservation. This team will provide one-on-one training and mentorship, to equip interns with experience and skills to begin their conservation and nature career.
The Sea Turtle Conservation short-term intern will:
- Be trained and participate in sea turtle population monitoring on two important and pristine nesting beaches for the threatened olive ridley and green sea turtles. Be part of one of the only sea turtle programs that has incorporated innovative technologies such as smartphones and a monitoring app, and thermal imaging drones during our activities and learn how to record essential data to assess population trends and predation rates.
- During morning censuses, you will gain expertise in finding and relocating threatened nests to our purpose-built hatchery, giving them a greater chance to thrive. Admire threatened baby turtles emerging from their nests and be part of the beautiful experience of watching them walk to the sea. Post-hatched nest excavations help to assess hatching success and give us valuable information to inform conservation actions.
- Enjoy night-time beach patrols, which not only give you the opportunity to see turtles up-close as they come ashore to nest, but also to contemplate bioluminescent organisms that glow in the darkest nights as you stroll through the shore. Learn how to record valuable morphological data, perform health assessments, and place metal tags on the turtles, increasing our knowledge base of turtle nesting behaviors. These activities are critical to the conservation of Osa’s sea turtle populations.
- Improve the health of our oceans through beach clean-ups with the Sea Turtle team, international volunteers and students from local community groups. During these beach cleans you will help to reduce, classify, and weigh the marine debris, to give us a greater understanding of where the pollution on our beaches is coming from. This information will then be uploaded to global datasets and used to address threats to our sea turtles on a greater scale.
- Other activities include cleaning and checking equipment (vital for keeping our program running smoothly!), painting sea turtle facts & conservation practices signs, and creating illustrative flyers and beautiful artwork with washed-up materials found on the beach to promote sustainability and responsibility. If there are any other areas of sea turtle conservation work you are particularly interested in, or if you have particular skills that could benefit the turtles here, we would love to know about them!
In addition to the Sea Turtle Conservation program activities, short-term field interns will get the opportunity to participate and be trained in activities on all Osa Conservation’s programs, including:
- Trial new rewilding techniques for tropical rainforest restoration.
- Plant and monitor native tree restoration efforts.
- Install and organize data from camera traps, acoustic devices and citizen science apps for vital wildlife monitoring across the Osa region.
- Practice regenerative farming techniques to grow sustainable produce.
- Develop scientific communication skills and learn to produce cutting-edge stories from one of Earth’s greatest wilderness areas.
Short-term field internship details:
Short-term field internships are for 3 months. Interns will live alongside the team at the Osa Conservation Campus, located at the heart of Osa’s tropical rainforest. The Osa Conservation Campus is home to our top-tier biological station, boasting a new lab and classroom, regenerative farm, arboretum and restoration experiment, and over 20 km of trails through old-growth and secondary forests, rivers and pristine coastlines.