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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The intense learning process began the very first day we arrived, teaching us physiology, behavior and survey methodology of different sea organisms, as well as different aspects of the ocean. At the same time, what we learned we practiced in the ocean through surveys, collecting valuable data for the Seychelles National Park Association (SNPA) to monitor the coral reefs in the country.
It was an excellent location to learn about the +/- 1100 species present in the Red Sea. Together with Leras, a marine biologist, I received her help in analyzing the photographic material (pictures) from my UW camera. Initially I was only interested in fish species, though after a while I started to do some coral identification as well. In the Red Sea this is pretty much amazing!
As conservation volunteers, the team I worked on saw early mornings and plenty of data entry in the afternoons. We worked at two separate sea turtle conservation efforts weekly and also taught classes that combined conservation concepts and English vocabulary to the local primary school classes every week. Two of the most fulfilling, enriching things I’ve ever done in my life...
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