Life Net Nature seeks a capable couple with backgrounds in wilderness property management, ecotourism, conservation biology, small business management, marketing and potentially related fields to steward and live at Reserva Las Tangaras for 88 days of a 90-day Ecuadorian tourist Visa.  Reserva Las Tangaras is a 50-hectare natural area, near Mindo that protects mature montane forest and associated wildlife, including iconic endemic and endangered species of amphibians, birds, and mammals. The reserve is home to more than 300 bird species, including 25+ hummingbird species.

New stewards overlap with out-going stewards by two full days for training.  The 2020 openings include an arrival and departure day via Quito and 88 days of service at the reserve within the typical 90-day tourist visa.

March 28 – June 25, 2020

June 22 – September 20, 2020

September 17 – December 15, 2020

Qualifications include ability to communicate well in Spanish (intermediate or above), and one person with a university degree in a topic related to the position (ecology, biology, ecotourism, business & marketing, natural resources management, conservation, etc). We seek applicants with experience in: 1) field ornithology or biology (ideally some tropical experience), 2) ecotourism and hospitality services, 3) guiding or nature interpretation, 4) interest/experience related to simple bio-regional living including organic gardening, solar power management, and composting, 5) wilderness and leave-no-trace camping ethics, 6) carpentry, plumbing, and building skills, 7) small business and financial management experience, 8) first aid training, 9) loads of common sense, and 10) a problem-solving and responsible attitude.

Duties include taking care of a 50-hectare property, cabin, and trail system as if they were your own, as if you truly love and care about the place and its future.  Being able to plan and manage without constant direct supervision. Specifically: maintain and improve cabin and trails and infrastructure, monitor and repair entrance bridge, water and septic systems, transport gas tanks and supplies as needed to operate, take care of and use reserve tools and purchasing new equipment as needed with approval from Dr. Becker, steward research materials and data, do inventories and upkeep small library. Stewards collect data on weather (daily), an Andean Cock-of-the Rock lek (weekly), and hummingbird species at feeders (daily). Stewards skilled with birding, record a monthly bird list and report “big days” via the online eBird program. Stewards sustain small organic gardens and agro-forestry projects and are expected to maintain and improve upon previous projects, interpretive materials for reserve visitors, ecotourism promotion and guest-hosting services, and promotions in Mindo area.  Marketing is critical for sustaining the reserve and for earning additional income while stewarding the reserve.

As a buffer property on the edge of the Mindo-Namibillo Bosque Protector, Reserva Las Tangaras provides critical habitat for wildlife at elevations typically deforested for agriculture, and more recently destroyed for vacation-housing and intensive “adventure” tourism activities such as canopy ziplines, motorcycling, and trampling by waterfall enthusiasts. Las Tangaras receives light visitation by bird-watchers, nature enthusiasts, photographers, and tropical biology researchers and students. We want moderate eco-aware visitation. Contributions from visitors help sustain the reserve and help to fund the stewardship couple’s monthly stipends.

Stewards should be capable of:

1. Hosting nature-oriented guests and visitors and maintaining a tidy and clean research station/guest cabin, preparing and selling meals and drinks to guests (with all proceeds from food and drink sales going to the stewardship couple).

2. Keeping financial records, setting and completing management tasks including AirBnb reservations via phone & online communications.

3. Maintaining all trails on the reserve and the very critical entrance bridge.

4. Improving trails and signage from the main road and throughout the reserve.

5. Sustaining gardens and orchards, and wildlife friendly plantings.

6. Using Excel & Word for monthly reports, updating and recording data.

7. Good blogging and computer skills to do a blog with attractive and good photos (at least monthly), submit Excel data sheets, send monthly reports via email to Dr. Becker, email thank you notes to guests, and contribute to eBird.

The reserve is an incredible place to live, and research and photographic opportunities abound. Each year in July and December, Life Net Nature volunteer teams monitor and research bird communities to raise funds for the protected area. Reserve stewards, scientists and students can make discoveries about the complex and diverse biological nature on the reserve.

Managers receive $300/month/couple as a cost-of-living stipend to be used to sustain themselves and cover basic reserve costs such as maintaining hummingbirds feeders with sugar water and stocking basic supplies to host guests.  Stewards typically earn additional income by providing food and beverages (using the cost of living stipend as start up funding), and by providing guide services to visitors. Contracts longer than 90 days are possible for truly capable couples, but stewards must obtain the required extended Visas on their own, prior to starting the position, and sign a contract indicating the total length of their Visa and commitment to serve as the reserve stewards.

Sector: Global Search
Field: Protected Area Management
Discipline: Nature Conservation 

To Apply:

As one PDF document, please send 1) a single joint cover letter expressing interest and qualifications of each person of the couple, and your first and second choices of contract dates, 2) each professional resume (CV), and 3) three references per applicant with email & phone contact info.  Email application materials to Dr. Dusti Becker at [email protected]. If selected for an interview, Dr. Becker will contact you. Follow up with her to find out your status as we receive many applications each year.

Dr. Becker will begin reviewing applications for 2020 in early September.