Boven National Park - Photo by Robert Jan van Oosten
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Volunteering on St Eustatius

STENAPA welcomes volunteers who can assist St Eustatius National Parks Foundation with the conservation of the Marine Park, Quill National Park and Botanical Garden. Volunteers have the opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge about conservation, the local flora and fauna of Statia and take part in trail work, tropical gardening and turtle conservation.

If you live in St Eustatius or are staying here, please contact STENAPA for more details on how you can help, there are lots of different ways to get involved. Or if you’d be interested in joining as a residential volunteer on an eight week structured programme please see the working abroad website at www.workingabroad.com for more details of how to get involved with the Statia Conservation Project.

 


Living on Statia

Volunteers and Interns visiting Statia to work for the parks stay in a house in town rented by the foundation. The house boasts 3 bedrooms with bunk beds, bathrooms, full kitchen, laundry facilities, wifi, cable TV and is within easy walking distance of town, shops, bars and restaurants.

Volunteers prepare their own food usually eating as a group. Volunteers are provided with a budget for food, which can be used to buy supplies at the local grocery store and local producers.
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Working in the Botanical Garden

Volunteers will be working on the phase II development of the garden including the creation of a fruit garden and children’s garden. In addition they will be working on maintenance of phase I including removal of invasive exotic species which choke and kill young plants, pruning, weeding and mowing.

2-3 days per week will be spend at the Botanical Garden. Daily activities at the garden will include team work on large projects (early morning) and also personal projects in later morning, such as building benches, artwork, sign painting, making bird feeders, etc. You will receive training on gardening in the tropics and use of equipment during orientation upon your arrival. [go up]


Working on trail maintenance

Volunteers will be working on trail maintenance in the Quill national park in order to keep the quill crater accessible to hikers and protect the fragile ecosystem. The Quill is a 600 metre dormant volcano that dominates the landscape of the island of St. Eustatius and is home to many unusual and endangered species of plants and animals. There are 10 trails within the park, the crater trail is the most popular and needs the most work.

Volunteers work 1-2 days per week on trail maintenance in the Quill National Park. They will be mainly working on the Round the Mountain Trail and Crater Trail and also on minor maintenance on other trails. Trail maintenance will involve building steps, rainwater channels, reinforcing the side of the trails and clearing the trails of vegetation.

Working in the marine park

Volunteers can assist with the work in the marine park including the turtle conservation project and marine park maintenance. Turtles nest on Zeelandia beach from mid-March to October, including greens, leatherbacks and hawksbills. Volunteers may have the opportunity to assist on night monitoring patrols of the beach to search for nesting turtles so they can be tagged and also sometimes assist with excavations of nests once hatchlings emerge.

Volunteers will rotate in teams of two to complete the monitoring patrols and will receive training on track and species identification, patrol methods and recording during the orientation. Volunteers can learn all about current turtle research and learn more about the satellite tracking project that is currently underway.

Volunteers who have sufficient diving experience (10 dives) can help at the marine park in the afternoon with mooring maintenance. [go up]

Enjoying Statia

Volunteers on the working abroad programme usually work five days a week until noon and have the afternoons free for relaxing, diving, snorkelling, swimming, shopping, hiking etc.

Statia is a very peaceful and relaxed place and there are not many organised activities, but there is still plenty to do if you are willing to organise it yourself.

Statia is an amazing location for snorkelling and diving, it’s possible to see sea turtles, octopi, sting rays and coral reefs. The hiking on Statia is also really varied and interesting, you can hike inside the crater of the dormant volcano, around the mountain or into the Boven national park. [go up]

Comments from past volunteers

"Statia is a place that the people I’ve talked to either love or hate. You have to be prepared for a wholly different way of life, particularly living in a tent on the wrong side of the mountain from town. Personally I loved it. It’s a very beautiful island, and the whole way of life is relaxed and laid back. There isn’t a huge tourist industry, and so there are no McDonalds, no big chain stores, and no cruise ships stop there. There’s great hiking, diving, snorkelling, or just sitting out on the pier in the sun; and the night life is pretty good too, as long as you’re not looking for multiplex cinemas or expensive clubs."

"I felt that the involvement of volunteers in almost all aspects of the projects STENAPA is undertaking is a great thing as to feel involved when working as a volunteer is very important."

"I learned a lot about trail, garden and mooring maintenance. Living in a tent and sharing a kitchen/bathroom with 7 others was an interesting experience showing me that I don’t really need a T.V. and all that stuff."

"I learned a lot more about the inner workings of a national park, got to see a world very different from my own and overall had a great time."