The future of conservation biology and Citizen Science

Copyright Alianza Keloni A.C.. All rights reserved.

What we offer:

  • Citizen science seminars: Reef fish, Marine Invertebrates and Sea Turtles
  • University internships: "Scientific Tourism" (Details below)
  • Gap Year students, Teacher workshops, and ​Scientific Tourism

Scientific Tourism Internship

Spring 2018:  02 April 2018 to 11 June 2018

University Students Ages 18 - 35


Program Highlights:

Foreign university students will join active, ongoing, and important scientific research relating to marine ecology that involves ecotourism. Data entry and analysis are important components of the activities to help participants gain an insight into how their contributions applies to actual conservation of endangered species and protection for their habitats. Activities involve kayaking, snorkeling or SCUBA diving, public surveys and educational workshops at schools. 


Details: ​

Interns will be greeted at the airport by our staff.  We will transfer to downtown La Paz and get to know each other. Our staff will provide a safety briefing, logistical review of the city, and orientation to kayaking, as well as a swim test with snorkel or SCUBA check.  For those wanting to get SCUBA certified, we offer a two-week course prior to the start of the scheduled 10-week session. However, SCUBA is not required since most of our research can be conducted by snorkel. 


Several times during each session, we will hear presentations from local marine biologists, marine geologists, and oceanographers.  Our main theme is always SYMBIOSIS, which includes an ecological aspect and a social aspect, meaning we will be analyzing relationships between species and also engaging in cultural exchange with local university students.   Students will also be working on developing lower school curriculum based on hat they learn and spend volunteer time at local area schools or welcoming local schools for field activities.  We will also spend time at a neighboring artisan fishing camp learning the issues of overfishing and bycatch from gillnets and discuss strategic ways to return these cams to traditional fishing. There will be little downtime, and this personal time can be used to fill up your biojournal.  We will have one free day per week spent in town to do laundry, go see a movie, do some shopping for family and friends back home, grab a SUP happy hour, participate in a community beach clean up, watch a soccer game, play basketball, sip on a coconut, etc.  


Our research will focus on reef fish biodiversity, migratory and resident shorebird diversity, benthic marine invertebrate biodiversity, marine algae ecology, coastal dunes biodiversity, and a special focus on sea turtles if we find a nest or find a jellyfish bloom when we will go in search of the critically endangered leatherback.  Students & interns will participate in all our focal areas, but develop their own independent study from the data collected. At this time, we do not offer university credit, but will work with your university to make sure you reach all objectives for credit back home. We will send you a 6 week, 4 week, and 1 week planning checklist and provide 1 year of as needed follow up for assistance with job placement.  If 10 weeks is not long enough, consider joining a free diving course, a whale shark internship, a Mexican student Spanish immersion homestay, a surf-safari, a Sierra Ranch tour, a visit to Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, or volunteer at the ASUPMATOMA sea turtle nesting research center.  

SYMBIOTIC Lodging:

Interns and volunteers will stay with at La Duna Ecological Center, located appox. 35 miles (25km) from La Paz in the state of Baja California Sur, Mexico. Individual or shared rustic, ecologically designed cabins with twin beds, mosquito nets, and solar lighting will keep you dry and cozy at night.  We have plastic tubs in each cabin to store your personal belongings and a small area to hang clothes.  Each cabin has a dry line for hanging wet clothes, wetsuits, and bathing suits.  Cabins are made from natural, locally grown materials with palm thatched roofs.  


Shared bathrooms are situated just a few steps from cabins, kitchen, and common palapa.  They are dry, compost toilets adding to the initimacy of learning about sustainable outdoor living.  We have hot or cold showers with an attached sizable changing room all lite with solar energy for more sustainable feel.  Bees in the desert love any small source of fresh water and can frequently be found near bathroom faucets and shower heads.  This provides food for birds and geckos, which some visitors know by name.  Males and female bathrooms are separated by the showers and sinks for privacy.  


Spanish and English speaking staff live onsite during the entire internship, so any problems arise, there is always someone there to wake up for help in the middle of the night!  The most favored staff, Malena, does all the gourmet cooking in an ample outdoor kitchen with palapa roof, but interns and volunteers will serve as assistants on a rotting basis to help cook, clean, and serve meals at camp.  Thanks to modern solar technology, we like yogurt, fresh chilled ranch cheese, and homemade, seasonal fruit icecream on special nights.  


Trails between cabins, kitchen, bathroom, and our outdoor beach laboratory are all well lit at night and marked with white painted rocks and cleared of debris, cactus spines, but may have traffic with wind scorpions, spiders, and snakes crossing - shows always required for walking around. Just make sure to note what you see in your biodiversity notebook, which can be stored along with your books in the central palapa library, next to the hammocks.  

Internship Tuition:
10 weeks
$4200 U.S. or 4000 Euro


Included

  • Round trip ground transportation (La Paz Airport or La Paz Malecon)
  • Weekly town trips for laundry, restaurants, museums, and shopping
  • 24/7 staff assistance and communication with home country
  • Staff 100% marine or terrestrial biologists with wilderness first responder training
  • On-site basic first aid and ground transportation to local hospitals in case of emergency
  • Field-based and classroom instruction
  • Level II Reef Fish ID certification
  • Boat transportation to mangroves and reefs
  • Unique visits to artisan fishing camp and wildlife preserves 
  • Job placement assistance (Letter of reference, partner announcements, memberships)
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Prepared Chef Food/Meals and snacks also purified water from landing to take off
  • Not included: Airfare, International travel/medical insurance (Must provide proof of international travel/medical insurance), Personal snorkle gear, Extra trips (sea lion colony, whale sharks, Cabo Pulmo marine park, Cabo San Lucas, Sierra Waterfalls)