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The Gap Year Blog

An Interview With: Assistant Research Officer, Rebecca

23 Dec 2016 14:05 PM

Why did you decide to come to Costa Rica?

“I did an internship at the research and development department at Frontier in the London headquarters.  During my time there I heard so much about the Costa Rica project that I knew I had to get out here and see the project for myself! I wanted to experience the amazing biodiversity here and contribute to the science in the field.”

What is your job going to be?

“I am an Assistant Research Officer, which means that I am going to be leading groups of volunteers along the various trails that we have and carrying out the different surveys , which could be birds, primates, wildcats and mammals, turtles or amphibians and reptiles. I need to ensure that the methods of the surveys are carried out correctly and that we collect the data appropriately. I also help out around the camp with the cooking and cleaning, improving the camp, organising activities for the volunteers and helping out the Principal Investigator as much I can.”

What were your first weeks like?

“My arrival was trickier than I anticipated because of the hurricane. My flight to Puerto Jimenez got cancelled so  I had to take a shuttle to get to the town. In town I got to meet the rest of our team in the staff house as they were still staying there because of the evacuation and It was really nice to get to know everyone before heading to camp. The time in town was nice, but I was very relieved when the weather improved and we could finally get to camp. I’d heard so much about the biodiversity here and it was amazing to see it in person. Every day I see something new but my most memorable moment so far was definitely my first morning turtle patrol when I got to help my first little hatchling to the sea. Unfortunately, the poor little guy had a deformed flipper – which is why I called him Flipper – and he struggled a bit to get to the sea, but he made it eventually in spite of the swooping birds of prey and the crashing waves. It was a really special moment.”

What do you think about the camp?

“The camp is really great and much better than I expected. It is very open to the surrounding jungle, which is lovely because you can see the wildlife around you at all times. It is a great time to be arriving because we are making so many improvements and it gets better every day. There’s lots of scope to make your own mark on camp whether it be building paths, gardening or contributing to our jungle wildlife mural. Lately, we have been getting a bit carried away  with decorating the camp for Christmas so things are pretty festive at the moment! The team are also incredibly lovely and they have made me feel right at home.”

What are you most excited  for during your time in Costa Rica?

“I have only been here for two weeks, so I am very excited to get stuck in with the surveys and lead my first solo trail with a group of volunteers. I would love to see a Green turtle, but so far no luck! I am also really looking forward to getting to know the locals better, feeling more part of the community and learning more Spanish.”


By Melanie Kouters - Field Communications Officer