Raven Adventures – Mangrove Monitoring Program
Raven Adventures plays an active role in global conservation by engaging with local conservationists and nonprofits in the countries in which we volunteer. Join us on an uninhabited island, kayaking through mangrove forests and studying the unique ecology.
Raven Adventures is partnered closely with Grupos Ecologistas Antares (GEA), a local conservation nonprofit in Loreto, Baja California Sur, in monitoring local mangrove forests. Each year six volunteers are selected to lend a hand in surveying the health and status of this ecosystem while experiencing the wild, pristine barrier islands along the Pacific coast of Baja. Mangrove Monitoring volunteers will be assisting in the long-term analysis of the mangrove forests located in Baja, Mexico.
Volunteers will use sea kayaks to navigate the labyrinth of of mangrove forests conducting various surveys. Until recently, the Baja peninsula was a well-kept secret of pristine whale and mangrove habitat, hosting large stretches of relatively untouched coastline. Recently, human development has run rampant along the east coast, drastically changing the natural environment. Mangrove forests are already vulnerable due to climate change, rising sea levels, and oceanic pollution. Information gathered will be accessible to students, local marine parks, and other conservation organizations.
Responsibilities, depending on need and weather conditions, may include:
- Taking detailed field notes on water conditions, weather, pollution, etc.
- Survey insect, bird, reptile, mollusk, and mammal populations.
- Note and monitor for illegal poaching activity.
- Collecting museum specimens.
- Damage assessment from hurricanes and other impacts.
- Photograph species and other findings for comparison.
Species counts and surveys are added to an ongoing catalog monitoring density and distribution. Using GPS, the density and distribution of select species will be documented.
Volunteers should expect to learn skills such as animal track and sign, data collection, desert and mangrove natural history, sea kayaking, and more. Volunteers will be camping in tents on the beautiful sand beaches of an uninhabited island; sea kayaks will be our main mode of transport. The island suffers no light pollution, producing a night sky teeming with stars, and boasts a number of species found nowhere else on Earth. Expect to see sea lions, birds, snakes, lizards, rodents, and possibly even the elusive coyotes. Our study site is miles of shell-strewn beaches stretching to the horizon without a single human, road, or dwelling. We will be working with the tides to paddle through protected bays, small inlets, and around mangrove forested islands while conducting our surveys.
An optional addition is a visit to the famous Magdalena Bay, where “friendly” gray whales migrate each year to give birth in the shallows found inside long barrier islands. These mothers are famous for bringing their newborn calves alongside small boats to interact with human visitors. This is an amazing and one of a kind opportunity to witness a unique relationship between whales and humans found nowhere else on Earth – and maybe even pet a baby whale yourself! A side trip to view this incredible phenomenon can be arranged at the end of the mangrove session should it interest the group!
Interested in Joining Us?
No prior experience is needed. Volunteers will want a “go with the flow” attitude as weather conditions can effect our schedule; should be willing to camp and share a tent with another volunteer; possibly ride in the back of pick-up trucks; wade through mud; and participate in camp life chores, such as cooking and cleaning. They should also be motivated and enthusiastic about the environment and learning ecology and natural history, and practicing research techniques.
All the food and water within Baja is clean and safe to consume. No vaccines or medications are required for the trip. Raven Adventures guides are trained and certified in advanced wilderness medicine and rescue in the event of an emergency. The research conducted on this program takes place on a remote island – there will be no internet access or cell phone service while on the program. Volunteers should be aware of this and be prepared and willing to unplug!
The dates for our 2018 season are as follows:
Session 1: December 29th 2017 – January 6th 2018.
The program cost is $950 per person for the nine day session and includes all food, lodging, camping / kayaks, etc. Volunteers will be responsible for their flight/bus to and from Loreto, Mexico. We have years of experience traveling to Baja and may be able to give you some pointers on arranging your itinerary and saving a few bucks.
Magdalena Bay, famous for its migratory gray whales, who arrive each year from the arctic, is an optional addition to the trip. The side trip cost is $75 USD and will, if of interest to the group, take place at the end of the program. Keep in mind that the whales must migrate all the way from the arctic each year – the availability of this option depends entirely on whether or not the whales have arrived by the start of the session!
Looking to Apply?
To join us please complete the following steps in order. Enrollment is handled on a first-come, first-serve basis and this trip tends to fill months in advance.
1) Please contact Sabrina Salome at firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure there is still space 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
3) Please submit your $200 deposit online by credit card through PayPal or by check. Full payment details can be found here. Please be aware of the payment schedule! Missing a payment can result in the loss of your spot and your nonrefundable deposit. Make sure that you are aware of upcoming deadlines by consulting the payment page or contacting Sabrina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Want to See More?
To view more photos from our Baja Mangrove Project, please visit our photo gallery!