Since 1990 Raven Adventures annually takes some time away from adventure travel and dedicates their focus on hands-on conservation and research. We volunteer our time and skills in remote areas around the globe providing assistance to non-profit organizations already established in the countries in which we travel. Our mangrove monitoring project partners closely with GEA (Groupos Ecologistas Antares), the first non-profit conservation group located in Loreto, Baja California Sur. For each year of this five year project, we will be accepting six research assistants wishing to experience the wild, pristine barrier island ecosystems along the Pacific coast of Baja while helping a very worth while cause.
Mangrove monitoring interns will be directly assisting in marine conservation by conducting an in depth study of mangrove forests located in Magdelena Bay, Baja Mexico. The program is open to those wishing to gain valuable field experience while contributing to an important study in some of the most pristine mangrove areas left on earth. Using sea kayaks to navigate the dense labyrinth of mangrove forests, participants will collect samples, note climate and water conditions, photograph and film insects, birds, reptiles, mollusks and mammals that use the dense vegetation for food and cover. Species counts will also be conducted on barrier islands found along the Pacific coast. Using GPS systems, the density and distribution of each individual sighting will be added to a catalog of all species encountered over a five-year period.
Participants will learn skills such as animal tracking techniques, GPS data collection, wildlife photography, desert and mangrove natural history, sea kayaking and other wilderness skills. No previous kayaking or field research experience is needed and all kayaking is done in protected bays. Due to weather, tides and other factors that affect navigation, volunteers assisting us will want to have a “go with the flow attitude”, be willing to share a small tent with another participant, possibly ride in the back of pick up trucks, wade into deep mud, and participate in camp life such as cooking, cleaning, and logistical chores.
Session 1: January 26th – February 3rd
To view more photos from our Baja Mangrove Project, please visit our photo gallery!
Life in the Field:
We will be camping in tents on the beautiful sand beaches of an uninhabited island using ocean kayaks as our main mode of transport to explore and gather data. These unique desert islands are home to sea lions, coyotes, birds, snakes, lizards, and small rodents. Some of these species are found nowhere else on earth. With no light pollution, the night sky teems with stars, the sunsets are stunning and the days are warm and sunny. Miles of shell-strewn beaches stretch to the horizon without a single human, road, or dwelling.
Data collecting will take us along island coastlines on foot in search of various species, documenting density as well as proximity to mangroves, open ocean and bays, dunes, and other features. Inspections will also be done of mangrove forests with GPS coordinates taken and images collected of condition, species densities, and any damages done by weather, water, and human impacts.
Working with the tides, we will enter our kayaks to collect as much data as possible while paddling inside protected bays, small inlets, and around forested islands that are home to various nesting sea birds and other avian visitors. Damage assessments will be taken along shorelines with areas noted with GPS coordinates. Photographs will also be taken for future reference and comparison.
Magdelena bay is also famous for its “friendly” gray whales that migrate each year from the arctic to give birth in the shallow bays found inside the long barrier islands. These “friendly” whales are famous for bringing their newborn calves alongside small boats to interact with people. This is an amazing opportunity to witness cow/calf pairs making contact with humans for play and social interaction. If there is interest in the group, a side trip to experience this amazing phenomenon can be arranged at the end of the mangrove session. (see below for details and cost)
Until recently, the Baja peninsula has been a well-kept secret of pristine whale and marine bird habitats with large stretches of relatively untouched coastline. With recent developments running rampant on the east side of the peninsula, and newly paved roads being created along the western coast, these mangrove forests are vulnerable to rapid change and destruction. Climate change, rising sea levels, development and floating garbage are just a few negative impacts that have already hit mangroves hard around the world. Information gained during these studies will form a critical baseline model for future use by Marine Parks, conservation organizations and other groups working to preserve these pristine areas.
Do I need any shots?
No shots are needed for any of the Baja programs we offer. Baja is a great place to travel and unlike mainland Mexico, all the drinking water is safe to drink and the food is excellent.
What if there is a medical emergency?
Raven Adventures guides are trained and certified in advanced wilderness medicine and rescue. In addition, public and private clinics and hospitals are located through out the country. It’s always advised when traveling internationally to purchase trip cancellation and emergency medical and evacuation insurance. We can assist you with this if you like. Most policies can be purchased for under $100 USD.
Will I be able to contact family and friends at home while I am traveling?
On our mangrove program, 95% of your trip takes you to places remote enough to not provide access to phone or internet until we return to civilization. At the very beginning and end of your trip, you will be in an area with internet cafes and long distance phone possibilities.
What if I’m a vegetarian?
All Raven Adventures programs offer vegetarian and vegan meal options. Please contact us if you have any special dietary needs and we will be happy to work with you.
The program cost is $950 per person for the 10 day session and includes all food, lodging, camping / kayak rentals etc. Volunteers will be responsible for their flight/bus to/from Loreto, Mexico. We have years of experience traveling to Baja and may be able to give you some pointers on how to save some money with plane or bus tickets.
As mentioned above, Magdelena bay is also famous for its “friendly” gray whales that migrate each year from the arctic to give birth in the shallow bays found inside the long barrier islands. These “friendly” whales are famous for bringing their newborn calves alongside small boats to interact with people. If there is interest in the group, a side trip to experience this amazing phenomenon can be arranged at the end of the mangrove session. Side trip cost is $75.
How to Apply
To join us please complete all of the following application steps to fully enroll yourself. Enrollments are on a first come first serve basis.
1) Please contact Sabrina Salome at firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure there is still space on the session of your choice and to answer any questions you have.
2) After you have confirmed the session dates you wish to join us on, we must receive the following forms fully completed and signed. Please scan and send to email@example.com
4) This trip fills quickly. Upon receipt of all the above items, a space will be held for you on the trip of your choice. Upon receipt of all your completed forms, your deposit and final payment, your trip placement is fully secured. Final payments must be made before the final due date or you may forfeit your space on the trip and lose your deposit. Please be sure to take note of any due dates for payments . Thank you and we look forward to seeing you soon!