The Honduras Utila Marine Project
This project is a collaborative conservation focussed volunteer project, to provide young people with the opportunity to actively contribute to the conservation of whale sharks, turtles and coral reefs as well as the education and economic development of the local population.
Utila Project update January 2012
For information on the 2012 update, click here.
1. Whale Shark Conservation
What will you be doing?
2. Coral Reef Conservation
What will you be doing?
You may be also called in to work for another NGO on the island to help them with their survey work. We take every opportunity to work with others if they need our help; we are all on the same team!
3. Reptile Conservation
The Iguana Station are also working towards the sustainable development of Utila, in terms of its popularity as a dive hot spot, to protect the island's natural resources.
What will you be doing?
For five days every month the Iguana Station monitors the iguanas in the wild on the north east side of the island. Volunteers at the IRBS also carry out research into other species of flora and fauna belonging to the island. The Iguana Station also welcome volunteers who wish to carry out their own field work in the area.
The volunteers visit the local kindergartens and schools periodically and encourage the children to preserve the natural resources of Utila through games and other thematic activities. Volunteers also take older children on outdoor excursions where they can discover nature through their own experience and become a part of it. Volunteers that have participated in environmental programmes or have experience in working with children are more than welcome to contribute new ideas, games and activities in which the children learn about the importance of conservation and protection of natural resources.
4. Raising Awareness
Your time with the AWF will also be spent raising awareness with locals and tourists alike.
In June 2011 Honduras declared a 92,665 square mile permanent shark sanctuary. It is important to inform locals and visiting tourists alike of the importance that we protect every species of shark the world over. If we do not start to act immediately we could witness the global extinction of sharks.
Whilst on this project you will also be going out and taking to people, who should know what is happening to the world's coral reefs and turtles and why it must be prevented. Through your conservation efforts we can involve tourists and other NGOs to positively act towards protecting marine environments globally.
Utila, is a friendly, kick-back kind of place to visit. Just about everything you might want to do is within walking distance. Walking along the sandy paths, seeing the spectacular aqua blue ocean, and feeling the warm tropical air is about as good as it gets. The main language spoken is English (with an interesting dialect), bust most islanders speak Spanish as well.
The island of Utila is famous for its scuba diving. The world's second-largest barrier reef runs alongside Utila. The Meso-American Barrier Reef is over 1000 km long and home to over 500 species of fish, 1000 manatees, and a large amount of resident dolphins.
At the weekends when you fancy a break from the salt water, you should explore the island, visit freshwater pools, bat caves, mangroves and much more.
Getting around Utila is easy. There is one main street that runs the length of the island. It is lined with an eclectic array of shops, restaurants, dive centres and ice cream parlours.
The food is incredible and the bars are open late into the night for dancing and exchanging stories with locals and travellers alike.
There is so much to do on the island, so grab your sandals and look around!!!
You will be staying in a shared accommodation, in the heart of the main Utila Town, ten minutes from the airport. Here you will have access to laundry services and a bar area. The house backs onto the Caribbean Sea, and the diving boat leaves from the private jetty.
It is a fantastic house with excellent facilities; perfect for your time working with us.
In order to put together successful conservation teams we run 6 week placements, as a minimum, throughout the year. We feel it is necessary to run the placements for this amount of time as it allows the teams to gel, and become experts in the techniques they are undertaking.
After the six week period, if you wish to stay with the project you may do so at a reduced rate. Prices include induction pack, project t-shirt, food, accommodation dive equipment hire and diving throughout each week*.
6 weeks inclusive of PADI Open Water/Advanced Open Water Diver and a minimum of 2 dives per week £1500**
6 weeks exclusive of PADI Qualification and a minimum of 2 dives per week £1250**
Extending for an additional 6 weeks £950
*All prices exclude international flights and transfers
**Optional diving courses are available when on site, at very competitive rates
Care has been taken to ensure that the safety of the volunteer is the priority of the Utila Marine project.
Where will your money go?
A core fundamental of the AWF is to be transparent with the money you invest in us. The fees you pay to be a part of the Utila Marine Project will be divided up between research and the local community.
Marine research is underfunded, and this is a global issue. The money that comes into the AWF will be spent on buying improved equipment for our collaborators, which you will be using as part of your research. This money will be stretched as far as possible to ensure that all the money you pay really makes a big difference.
Our intention is to involve the local community in all we do. We aim to get young people from the surrounding communities involved with our research. The money will be used to train them up and give them the opportunity to work with us to maintain their seas for future generations.
We also invest money in local communities. We have the potential to offer micro-financing packages as well as running workshops for children to highlight the state of the world's marine and terrestrial life, giving them the insight they need to make a difference throughout their lives.
(bookings being taken Now for April 1st 2012)