Join the Conservian Bahamas Live-aboard Schooner May 2018 Expedition

Wilson’s Plover adult and chicks. This is an excellent opportunity to gain multi-species shorebird and seabird ID and monitoring experience. (photo by R.J. Wiley)

Your help is needed to protect beach-nesting birds, nests, and young. Conservian is planning for Year 3 of their shorebird and habitat conservation program in the Bahamas. Come join them for the adventure of a lifetime!

Conservian is seeking a weekly crew of 8 to 10 enthusiastic volunteers for our Bahamas shorebird habitat conservation project in May 2018 aboard our 75ft schooner research schooner. This is an excellent opportunity to gain field experience and shorebird ID skills. Trip cost for one week is $1,350 and includes your bunk, onboard meals, water, and ground transportation associated with project. Participants will fly to the Bahamas each week to designated airports for shuttle transport to schooner. A valid passport is required. Airfare and insurance are not included.

Project Summary

In 2018, Conservian, BirdsCaribbean, the Bahamas National Trust and partners will continue on-the-ground protective and restorative measures to limit human-caused disturbance, and control invasive Australian pine at key Piping Plover, shorebird and seabird sites in the Bahamas. Field volunteers will participate in collecting new data on shorebirds and seabirds of the Bahamas. Selected sites include Globally Important and locally Important Bird Areas and national parks of the Bahamas, such as the Joulter Cays National Park and Important Bird Area and the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (the world’s first protected area of its kind).

Our days will be filled with much adventure. The focus of the work is surveying for beach-nesting bird breeding pairs, nests and young, and working with local volunteers to implement protective measures in the field. Focal species include Wilson’s Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Least Terns, Audubon Shearwaters and other colonial nesting species. We will work in both populated and remote areas, sail blue Caribbean waters, visit white sandy beaches, boat to little islands, conduct ground surveys for beach and cay nesting birds, nests, and downy chicks, and meet new people. We will work with local volunteers to post and sign shorebird sites and control invasive Australian pine. Field crew will assistant with collecting data on breeding pairs, habitat assessment and human-created disturbance.  Field crew will also assist with shipboard duties; sailing, cooking and cleaning. There will be time to fish, snorkel, and visit local island towns.

Our days will be filled with much adventure aboard the 75ft schooner “Avalon”. (photo by Margo Zdravkovic)

Project Activities:

  • Protect, post & sign shorebird & seabird sites
  • Collect new data on nesting shorebirds, seabirds & habitat
  • Locate and protect shorebird & seabird nests and downy young
  • Observe/assist with bird banding (conditions permitting)
  • Control invasive Australian pine on beach habitats
  • Work with local volunteers to accomplish the above goals
  • Snorkel reefs in gin clear waters
  • Learn saying crew skills
  • Fish for dinner-catch of the day!

Qualifications: Applicants must be responsible, adventurous, in good physical condition, enjoy working in teams and be capable of walking several miles during warm weather in the Caribbean. Applicants must be comfortable living communally onboard a schooner and riding in small boats to access survey sites.

May 2018 Expedition Schedule and Locations:

Aerial photo of the Joulter Cays, Bahamas (photo by Margo Zdravkovic)

Choose one week or more:

Week 1: Joulter Cays & North Andros – May 6-13 (Nassau Int. Airport)

Week 2: Northern Exumas – May 13-20 (Nassau Int. Airport)

Each week includes 7 nights aboard the schooner. If you have a special interest in seabirds, then participate in week 2.

If you would like to join our conservation crew for a week or more, please contact Margo Zdravkovic or fill out the short form here.    The review of applicants is ongoing and will continue until positions are filled.

See the short video about the expedition.

See the article on 2016 project from our supporters at LightHawk.

Read the story of our successful 2016 expedition. 

Visit CoastalBird.org for more information about our 2018 expedition.

Visit Coastal Bird Conservation on Facebook for more information on Conservian’s coastal bird conservation work.

Download the expedition brochure.

Project partners include: BirdsCaribbean, Bahamas National Trust, International Conservation Fund of Canada, USFWS/NMBCA, LightHawk, Dow AgroSciences, Grand Bahama Nature Tours, Optics for the Tropics, Grand Bahama Port Authority, Bahamas Public Parks & Beaches Authority, Bahamas Environment, Science & Technology Commission, Rand Nature Center, Abaco Friends of the Environment, Treasure Cay Community Center, Royal Bahamas Police Force/Marine Support.

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