Volunteer for Marine Conservation
Across the globe, there is great demand for help in marine conservation. A marine conservation volunteer will get to combat the harm being done to the seas and help preserve the oceans for years to come. There are many perks to going abroad to get involved in saving marine life and habitats: you get to experience animal species and ecosystems unique to certain areas of the world and you will be exposed to a new culture and their international and local policies on marine conservation. This is of great benefit to you if a career in marine conservation is in your future.
One type of volunteer opportunity involves working directly with marine life. There are many sea animals that are in danger, endangered, or nearly extinct. This means that volunteers have a variety of animals they can choose to work with. The most popular volunteer opportunity in marine conservation is working to rehabilitate sea turtles in a turtle sanctuary. This is offered in locations all over the world. Other opportunities with unique animals are with helping sharks in Mozambique, great whites in South Africa, dolphins in Croatia, and even manatees in Belize. Tasks in direct animal care include caring for the animals, tracking their behavior and movement and protecting their habitats.
Coral reef conservation is another popular volunteer opportunity. Due to water pollution and boating, coral reefs are rapidly degenerating. Reefs are home to thousands of species of animals, and when they die a whole ecosystem die, too.
Volunteering in coral reef conservation includes both physical work and research. Volunteers may even have the opportunity to get their diving certification - or at least, get to snorkel. Responsibilities as a coral reef conservation volunteer include gathering data, observing ocean floors and reporting areas of coral reef damage.
Volunteering in marine conservation could last anywhere from one week to a few months (or more, if you want it to!). The great thing about opting for this type of volunteering, is that the location options are endless. The ocean makes up the majority of the planet, therefore, you have a ton of freedom in choosing where you want to go.
What do you get out of volunteering in marine conservation? For starters, you will get a ton of field experience. This is very important when it comes to careers in the sector. You will also get a wide variety of options when it comes to volunteer tasks. You can find options available in the areas marine research, aquatic biology, responsible tourism, environmental public policy and awareness, rehabilitation of wildlife, and more. As is always true when traveling, you will gain priceless knowledge, experience, and inspiration from being in an exciting, new cultural setting. Get out to the seas and make your travel experience meaningful by volunteering in marine conservation!
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It was such a rewarding project to be involved in, as at the end of each day, I could see the nests that I had protected, and know that I had done my part towards saving the turtles, and saving the planet. One of the staff members who was supervising us said, “the best feeling on earth is saving a life that can never repay you”. Helping to save those turtles made me see the truth behind these words.
Everything is really well organized and straightforward. There are three shifts. Two at night and one in the morning and obviously, you will never get more than one shift per day. The night shifts involve walking along the beach looking for turtles and waiting for them to nest. If they nest you get to watch them lay eggs and help measure and tag them. It’s honestly an amazing experience because it’s something so different and unique. The morning patrols consist of writing down all the turtle tracks and finding nests to help secure them.
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