Volunteer on the Island of St. Eustatius in the Caribbean

Volunteer in the Caribbean on the stunning island of St. Eustatius, in the Dutch Antilles, overlooking St. Kitts in the Caribbean Sea. You can take part in the following conservation volunteer work activities:

  • Trail building in the Quill and Boven National Parks
  • Maintaining the Botanical Garden
  • Helping with night turtle patrols during nesting season
  • Monitoring and beading of Lesser Antillean Iguana
  • Administration assistance
  • Support in outreach events

You can join for 8 weeks up to 12 weeks and we have places all throughout the year available. We are open to discussion of volunteers joining us for less than 8 weeks in exceptional circumstances.

Individuals, groups and students doing research all welcome.

Cost for lodging in volunteer house, gas, water, materials, training & orientation, airport pickup; starts at £1260

View from Northen hills to the South of the islandHatchling in sargassum. Photo by Mrs Elisabeth FeenstraView from the Botanical GardenStanding at the top of the white rock cliff overlooking the Caribbean seaGallows Bay on the Caribbean SeaHike in the Northern HillsView of the Quill dormant volcano and its splendid natureEndangered Lesser Antillean IguanaGreen turtle photographed underwaterTurtle hatchlingStatia Morning Glory FlowerVolunteer Heather holding a turtle hatchlingHike to the crater rim of the QuillDay off for volunteers on boat tripTurtle tracksStunning flowers on the island of StatiaTurtle patrolTypical church on the islandVolunteers hiking on a day offVolunteers relaxing outside the houseView of the crater of the Quill volcanoView from the fort on the island

About the Project

Volunteer in the Dutch Caribbean on the stunning island of St. Eustatius, and join the St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation and help to protect and conserve their National and Marine Parks. You will have the opportunity spend time doing various conservation volunteer projects across the parks, as listed below.

The Quill and Boven National Parks

Conservation volunteers doing trail work on St. Eustatius

Volunteers spend two or three days a week working on the trail systems in The Quill and Boven National Parks. You will work mostly on trail maintenance including clearance, erosion control and improving signage. It is important that you are a competent hiker and are fit and healthy. A number of our trails are steep with loose footing.

Sea Turtle Volunteer Programme

During the turtle nesting season which runs from March to October, you may be assisting with night patrols on Zeelandia beach monitoring nesting sea turtles (not applicable from November to March). Teams will be established and days rotated. You will assist with gathering data from sea turtles that generally nest between dark and dawn. Data gathered by the crew will be shared Caribbean-wide through a linked database which wildlife managers use to improve protective measures for endangered species.  In general, you will be monitoring hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles. This programme may also be combined with beach sand monitoring. Turtles don't nest every night and therefore you shouldn't expect to see turtles during every patrol. At the beginning of the season it is rare to see any turtles nesting. Please also note that our nesting population of turtles is small and we therefore do not patrol the beach every night throughout the season.

Botanical Garden

Conservation volunteers working in Caribbean's national parks

The aims of the Botanical Garden are preservation, conservation, education and recreation. The Garden has basic facilities and a public pavilion for picnicking and barbeques. It has suffered damage from the recent hurricanes, drought, destruction by roaming animals and a lack of funding over the years therefore there is much need for development. A decision was made by the STENAPA board in 2017 to focus on Phase 1 of the garden which are the lower slopes and entrance area. Funding has been made available for a perimeter fence to keep out roaming animals. The shade house was completely destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Rebuilding this has become a main project in the garden. The Botanical Garden is open to the general public from sunrise to sunset 365 days per year and we offer guided tours with a small suggested donation. The Botanical Garden Ranger or the Botanical Garden intern will carry out these tours.

Monitoring and Beading of Lesser Antillean Iguana

We have regular iguana patrols to catch and bead the local endangered population of Lesser Antillean Iguana. This includes search and remove patrols of invasive Green Iguana and any hybrids. A member of staff who is trained specifically in catching and beading iguanas will accompany volunteers on iguana patrols. Iguana patrols take place at specific times during the day when the iguana is most active and in the evening between 7pm and 9pm. Alongside iguana patrols STENAPA are setting up a headstarting facility where we will be monitoring and caring for juvenile wild iguanas that will be released in adulthood. Volunteers will help with maintenance and feeding schedules at this facility.

Outreach Events Support

STENAPA run a junior rangers club in association with other after school clubs on the island. This involves doing a range of activities with the children from hiking to snorkelling. The first week of every month STENAPA visit all the schools on the island giving short presentations about nature on Statia and doing some activities. This can also involve going on field trips. In July there is a summer club which is a week of activities for children in the summer holidays. Alongside this STENAPA run a week long event called Shark Week in June which is aimed at educating the community of the importance of sharks on our reefs – this is a Caribbean-wide initiative and is very popular. For volunteers there is an opportunity to help out with the activities with the children if you are interested.

Administration Assistance

In the office STENAPA has a small team which require help from time to time. Tasks may include organizing meetings, data entries, manning the reception desk and office support for rangers. This is a good opportunity to understand the management of protected areas and its protocols.

Family Fridays

Fridays are known as ‘Family Friday’ and are an opportunity for the whole group to work together with interns on a particular project, such as marking out a new trail, installing new signposts, cleaning the turtle nesting beach, planting a new garden or carrying out a survey.

Orientation & Free Time

At the beginning of the project, you will receive orientation of the various equipment and areas of work, and the general protocol of being a volunteer. In the first week you will be shown the location of the national parks, the botanic garden and the office. The rangers will ensure that you are fully orientated on all equipment and understand the tasks at hand.

A conservation volunteer diving underwaterDuring your free time, you also have the opportunity to get SCUBA certified (at your own cost) and spend some time diving in some of the Marine Park's designated sites. In your afternoons, if you wish, you can also help out in the Marine Park if you are SCUBA certified - this can include mooring maintenance, dive site checks and patrols, snorkel club etc. - see marine park volunteer on the right cleaning down a line.

You will work 5 days a week. A typical working day for trail work or botanical garden duties would start at 7am and finish at noon. The afternoons will be free and can be spent relaxing, diving, snorkeling, swimming down at the pier, obtaining diving certificates, bird watching, using the Internet, and enjoying the peace of Statia! For the sea turtle volunteer programme, you will be required to do a night patrol a few times a week. These start at 8.30 and continue until the small hours of the night depending on the advice from the Marine Park Manager and the Sea Turtle Intern. You are also welcome to volunteer for more than half a day if you wish, as any extra help is always welcomed!


Project Background

Dormant volcano the Quill in St. EustatiusSt Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA)

The Quill National Park was pronounced the first official National Park of the Dutch Caribbean on May 4th, 1998. The area is now a protected area, which consists of the dormant volcano, The Quill, and the limestone formation to the south of it, called White Wall. Within the National Park, there are several good hiking trails for visitors – you will be working on these trails. The Boven sub-sector comprises five hills in the Northern Hills of St Eustatius: the Boven, Venus, Gilboa Hill, Signal Hill and Bergje. This area has only been actively managed since 2007 due to a long running land ownership dispute.

View of St. Kitts from St. EustatiusThe Statia National Marine Park is defined as the waters surrounding Statia from the high water mark to the 30m (100ft) depth contour. It was designated the Statia Marine Park in 1996 through the St. Eustatius Marine Environment Ordinance, with the objective to preserve and manage Statia's marine resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and future generations. STENAPA also manages the Botanical Garden which is located in on the windwardside of the island, at the base of the Quill National Park with a view of St. Kitts.

The welcome sign for the Quill park in St EustatiusObjectives and Background of the Quill Crater Trail Step & Boardwalk system

The Quill, a 600 metre inactive volcano that dominates the landscape of the island of St. Eustatius, is home to many unusual and endangered species of plants and animals.  The Quill is characterised by eight different vegetation zones, six of which are found on the crater rim and basin, including the Elfin Forest, the dry evergreen forest, evergreen bushland, each of which contains rich flora.  The crater basin is dominated by giant Kapok and Sandbox trees, as well mango, wild papaya and mamee apple which share the canopy with endangered tree species, including Redwood Birds Cherry.  Eighteen species of orchid are found in the Quill and on the Northern hills.  In addition, many species of birds, some of them threatened live in the Quill, including Tropicbirds, Caribs and hummingbirds.  Several species of reptiles, which are already extinct on other Caribbean islands can be found, including the Red-Bellied Racer Snake and Antillean Iguana.
An ethic of environmental conservation has yet to take hold on Statia, you can help with the progress that is being made. Providing access to the island’s natural attractions, especially to the young, aids in the development of ecological consciousness on which the lasting survival of the Sint Eustatius National Parks ultimately depends.

Conservation volunteers measuring sea turtle size in the CaribbeanSea Turtle Conservation Volunteer Programme

The sea turtle conservation programme has now been running for over 15 years. Monitoring patrols for nesting turtles on Zeelandia Beach started in 2002, and increased in 2003 with a greater number of patrols due to the onset of the Working Abroad Volunteer programme. It was with great excitement that the first leatherback turtle was observed nesting on 17th April 2003, and a number of additional leatherbacks nested on Zeelandia during the year.

Today, the Sea Turtle Volunteer Programme Co-ordinator along with the Project Intern coordinates the monitoring patrols during the nesting season. Volunteers are expected to take part in these patrols when they are scheduled. Volunteers should also expect that many nights the beach will be patrolled without a sighting of a nesting female. Our presence on the beach should actually be seen as safe-guarding. Our role is the protection of the eggs until the hatchlings make it safely to the surf.

Conservation volunteers on the coasts of the Caribbean

Patrols sometimes take place in inclement weather and are only cancelled if there is a thunderstorm present. Rest stops take place at the end of each walk so besides getting sleepy, patrols are not very tiring at all.

Volunteers make the sea turtle programme possible as STENAPA does not have the amount of staff in order to carry out the necessary patrols.


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Dates & Costs

Volunteers on the beach
7th January to 4th March 2019
4th February to 1st April 2019
4th March to 29th April 2019
1st April to 27th May 2019
6th May to 1st July 2019
3rd June to 29th July 2019
1st July to 26th August 2019
5th August to 30th September 2019
2nd September to 28th October 2019
7th October to 2nd December 2019
4th November to 30th December 2019

Volunteers can join for 8 up to 12 week periods, starting on any Monday throughout the year.

Please note we can be flexible with dates, the dates listed above are just a guideline, you can join the project starting on any Monday throughout the year, as long as you are able to come for 8 weeks or longer. Please email aaron@workingabroad.com for further dates or questions. There is a maximum of eight volunteers there at any one time. Please note that you should arrive at the airport on the weekend before your project starts (preferably on the Sunday), with orientation happening on the following Monday morning.

As volunteers, you will be supervised on all of the projects by STENAPA staff either in the botanical garden, on the trail, in the marine park or in the office. You will also receive orientation and proper training at the beginning of the project.

The cost for 8 weeks is £1260 and 12 weeks is £1800, which covers all project costs, including all food (monthly allowance of 300 USD), lodging in volunteer house, drinking water, materials for trail project, all training and supervision by staff, pickup and drop off from airport in Statia, use of mountain bikes, WorkingAbroad Projects backup and placement support, and so on. For those volunteers assisting with the work at the marine park in addition to the trail work, STENAPA will provide dive gear and tanks for this. The airfare to St. Eustatius, travel/medical insurance and personal expenses are not included within this price.  It is mandatory for you to take out travel and medical insurance for the duration of the project.   

Volunteers house on Statia Conservation Project

Food, Lodging, Travel, Climate 

Food and accommodation:
You will be living in a volunteer house in a quiet part of the island. The volunteer house has 3 bedrooms with bunk beds and 3 bathrooms. It is situated on Rosemary lane, a 10 minute walk from the main office, main town areas and the Oranje Bay area.

The house has views of the Caribbean sea, a small garden and outside sitting area. The house has basic facilities including WIFI, kitchen and washing machine. It is communal living and there may be up to 10 people sharing the accommodation at any time.

You will be responsible for preparing all your own food and you will receive a budget for food of $300, which you can use to buy your supplies at the local grocery store. There is also a local farmer called Hazel’s Vegetables who sells his produce near the airport- ask a member of staff to show you where.

Some flowers on StatiaHealth, weather, facilities
The climate on Statia is known as a tropical dry climate. It is warm year round, ranging from 25 to 35 degrees, with a gentle ocean breeze. Rainfall occurs during the rainy season, but only for short spells.
Oranjestad is the capital of Statia, which caters for facilities such as internet access, 2 banks, post office and a few local shops.

There are no health hazards to be aware of for Statia, except for sunburn possibly or mosquito bites. You can drink the water straight from the tap in most establishments but ask before doing so as it may come from a cistern. The island is very peaceful, and there are no problems with crime or safety.

How to get there?
In general, you can travel from your home country to St. Maarten (Air France, KLM fly daily from Europe, American Airlines and others from the USA), and from there, get a connecting flight with Winair (www.fly-winair.com) to St. Eustatius – this local airline that flies there (flights usually take about 20-30 minutes and there are several flights a day - prices can range from 100 to 150 USD return). Trans Anguilla Airlines http://transanguilla.com/ also flies there too. You should arrive on the weekend (preferably the Sunday) before your project start date, we will pick you up from the airport when you arrive and take you to the volunteer acommodation, your programme will begin the following Monday morning with your orientation.

Type of volunteers needed

A get together at the volunteer house

You should be 20 years old or over, fit, healthy and capable of carrying out strenuous manual work in all weather conditions in a hot climate. The upper age limit is generally 50 years old, due to the strenuous nature of the physical activities in this project. We can be flexible with placing older (or younger) volunteers than this though on a case by case basis, as we assess all applications individually, particularly if you have a lot of outdoors or manual work experience - please email us if you have any questions on this. No specific skills/qualifications are needed, but those with previous experience of manual conservation work, trail work, gardening, sea turtle monitoring etc. would be particularly useful, as well as those who are self-motivated. We need people who take their own initiative and are flexible. Keep in mind that STENAPA is an NGO with lack of funds and capacity. Tools and equipment can get broken, so you have to be able to overcome these adversities. You will work in a cross-cultural environment, so the success of your volunteer project depends on being accepting of alternative practices from your own. The project will especially appeal to those with an interest in conservation, tropical botany and marine biology.  Anyone with additional skills, such as ornithology are especially welcome.

Interactive Map & Videos

See below for two videos showing the marine and terrestrial ecosystems on the island:

Location - St Eustatius

St. Eustatius, better known as Statia, is located in the Netherlands Antilles islands of the Caribbean, and is only 8 km long and 3 km wide.  It is a tranquil and beautiful island which gives a visitor the feeling of stepping back in the Caribbean of decades past – islanders enjoy striking up conversations, stray goats and chickens wander around the streets and the pace is calm and slow.

Visitors don’t go to Statia for its beaches, but rather for its amazing diving and snorkelling opportunities as well as for its hiking trails in the National Parks, and for visiting its old Dutch colonial buildings and forts.  Statia has a population of approximately 3200 people, most are of mixed African and European descent. Dutch is the official language, but the spoken language is English.
Below is an interactive map showing the location of the project:

Volunteer Testimonials 

Sarah Perche, from France, volunteered at the project for 1 month from July to August 2017: 

Volunteer in Statia

I am very happy about my volunteering. I spend an amazing month in Statia, which was too short. I did several tasks into the Natural Park: marine and terrestrial. I helped with the Iguana patrol, inside the Botanical garden, checking the trails and during the summer week with the local kids. But as a marine volunteer, I was helping mostly in the Marine reserve. It was a really good field experiment for a marine biologist. I get an overview about the management of natural park. The people are nice and very friendly.

Marine Conservation volunteer in StatiaEvery morning you are on the deck, and during the afternoon you took a nap or snorkeling to see turtles or you can work also with the rangers if you want. You need to be prepare to the heat, carrying water around with you and the mosquitoes (the local spray is doing miracle, one per week almost). So if you want to enjoy Caribbean lifestyle, protect and help a natural reserve, meet amazing people, diving on beautiful dive site. I recommend you to join this project in the north of the Caribbean.



Conservation volunteer in Statia

Laura Filimon describes her time volunteering at the project in 2016:

It was an awesome experience, I would do it again in an instant smile I got to meet some very cool and interesting people, both local or expats on the island. The park rangers were more than friendly with me and the other volunteers or interns, making an effort to make us feel part of everything they were doing. Even though I don't have a background in biology or marine sciences, I felt very much included in everything they did, learning bit by bit from everybody I interacted with.

I really enjoyed the rides with the truck around the island, weather we were going to chase down iguanas, go and maintain the Botanical Garden, clean the beach of garbage or go on a beautiful Hike on the Quill or Boven Hill. Every view point offered beautiful "pictures" of the Island and it's surroundings. I was lucky and the rainy season was just arriving in Oct/ Nov, so I appreciated every moment I could sit on the beach, have long snorkeling dives or just sit in the hammock and read a lot.

St. Eustatius, CaribbeanThe Island, even if it is small, definitely has it's benefits - all the locals are very very friendly,  we were not afraid to just leave the cars or the house door open smile, the shops are in walking range of the Intern House.

Volunteer in St. EustatiusThe conditions in the house are not those of a 4 star hotel, but I didn't go there for that, rather for the quiet and peace, the sun, the ocean and the sea, the nature and all the experience of leaving Europe for a whole 2 months.

I appreciate you and this program for helping me have this experience, I would definitely recommend you and your team to anybody that wants to go out of their comfort zone and experience life and other cultures smile

The Quill National Park where volunteers do trail work

Hermit crabs, Johnson's whistling tree frogs, Lesser Antillean Iguanas and more in St. Eustatius. Read this blog from our WorkingAbroad intern, Nina and get first-hand impressions of life, sounds and sights on this lovely Caribbean island known as the "Golden Rock" - at our Statia Conservation Project

Please click here to read the blog

Oliver Selmoni from Lausanne, Switzerland aged 22 yrs old, volunteered for one month this summer with his two Swiss friends, and writes about his experience

Conservation volunteers climbing the rocky cliffs of The Caribbean

I volunteered at STENAPA one month between July and August. We were the first volunteers staying at the new house, which I guess changed a lot the way of living the island.  The house is placed just above the Carribean beach. The location is great, close to everything, you can go to the office, to the dive shops or to town in 5 minutes (we were given bikes). The house has 3 bedrooms, livingroom, kitchen, bathrooom and everything is pretty comfortable. There is a huge garden were you can enjoy BBQing with a stunning view of the bay. Volunteers and interns live together at the house with Foxy the dog and Vinny the cat (lovely pets).

Volunteers work the morning from Monday to Friday. You have to be motivated in doing the work, it isn't difficult and volunteers aren't expected to rush. At the botanical garden  we worked basically as gardeners, which was nice because we could see the results of our work. The work on the trails consists in cutting everything that is not supposed to be on the trails. What I enjoyed the most about these two projects was the chance of working in wonderful places in total freedom. There was always something nice to see, could that be the view to St. Kitts from the garden or the tropical vegetation inside the crater of the Quill. The turtle patrol is nice as well, of course you have to be lucky.A view of the ocean

The afternoons we spent much of our time at the beach sunbathing, drinking, snorkeling or diving. The beach is very close (1 minute in bike), never crowded, the sea is warm and quiet, with lots of animals and stuff to see. I did the open water certificate at the dive shop. It costed 375 dollars and the only thing I regret is not having it done before. There are great dives and you can see again lots of stuff (from shipwrecks to sharks).

The weekends we hung out to the "downtown" of Statia (10 minutes in bike). The downtown consists in three or four bars where you can go drinking, dancing, karaoke and so on. The people from Statia are really nice and friendly. It would be pretty impossible to argue, people were pretty chill. There are not much tourists but when you easily find people from Europe or USA at the beach in afternoons or friday night downtown (some works at the dive shops or at the archeological sites).

To sum up, I had a great time in Statia. Of course, you have to give up some comforts (cold showers, always feeling sweaty and dirty, mosquitoes) but it's all worth it.

Raymond Phillip describes his experience on Statia last summer

One of our conservation volunteersOriginally I was quite worried about catching flights and making my way to Statia but once I had arrived it was smooth sailing. The volunteers were very welcoming and most of the islanders were open to get to know you which meant it was quite easy to feel involved. As I wasn't working during the afternoons this gave a good opportunity to improve my swimming and learn how to snorkel. The reefs along the shoreline, near the office, were amazing to visit daily as you would always see different things.

I was upset that the sea turtles were not nesting during the time I was there, however seeing them in the water made up for this. I enjoyed helping out with the summer club and meeting the local children, even though some of them could be a hassle!

I felt this was a good investment and was a good choice as my first major trip away. Although a months stay was a good amount of time, I could have easily opted to stay longer had I not needed to be back in England.

Mat Wicks wrote about his time on Statia in FebruaryA small chameleon

My time on Statia was too short. After 3 weeks on the island I really started to feel at home and enjoy myself, but then I had to leave a week later! Living in the Botanical Garden was great, I spent much of my time lying in a hammock watching hummingbirds and lizards. The garden is a fantastic place and there is a good opportunity to work on it in a personal project, doing anything that takes your fancy that you think will be good. The staff and interns are very open to new ideas. I worked on trails which is good excercise in the baking heat, clearing the way and carrying signs, and I also helped with species surveys, birds and butterflies. It was a shame I was not there for the turtle season, but there is still so much to do. As a volunteer you have the afternoons off, and quite often I would hike 'round the mountain' to the office to check emails, then to the beach for snorkelling etc. Statia is a strange place but I liked it a lot. The nature on the island, on the quill, on boven, in the marine park was amazing- you really get to see a lot.

Tanya Saunders, who joined the project gives some other reasons why you should join the Statia Conservation Project:

1. For anyone who wants to work in conservation or gardening, this is a really good experience to add to your CV.
2. By joining this programme, you have the opportunity to learn to dive, and to spend plenty of time snorkelling and diving.
3. For anyone wanting to work in the voluntary sector, this also provides you with experience of working for a not for profit organisation - STENAPA is a Foundation representing the National Parks and Marine Park of St. Eustatius.
4. For those of us who don't need it for their CV, it is also ideal for those who enjoy living and working in the outdoors the whole time.
5. There are also some opportunities to work with kids and help to teach them about conservation.
6. Many organisations charge quite a bit for people wanting the opportunity to dive as a volunteer, but on this project, you can sometimes dive as a volunteer, so it is a really good opportunity for anyone who is keen to get more diving experience, without the excessive costs.
7. There is an archaeology non profit organisation also on St. Eustatius, and volunteers can also spend some time there in their free time.

Alexandrer Endresen, 30 yrs old from Norway speaks about his time on Statia January to March

Its almost a month since I left St. Eustatius after being a volunteer with Stenapa now. Please know that I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to visit St. Eustatius and working with Stenapa. It was an awesome experience and certainly also very unique.
I know that it must be a lot of work to organize the volunteer programme, but what you have achieved is very good and the reward for the people who participate in it is priceless!


Matthew Tye, volunteered on Statia between March to May and wants to go back again for six months- read his feedback on the project:
1) your general feeling about the project & the work carried out:
- I really enjoyed it. Conservation is close to my heart, as I travel & seeing the world `off the beaten track`, & this combined them both pretty well I thought. I`d just quit my job of seven years in order to become a volunteer, & wanted the trip to get my mind off of working in an office, & also get fit & healthy. It achieved both, I am currently looking for further conservation work around the world as a result of this trip, including contacting STENAPA about going back for 6 months as an intern, I`ve been bitten by the `golden rock` bug! I also lost about a stone in weight & gave up smoking through being there, so it was very much a successful trip for me!
2) your relationship between you, the manager, interns, the volunteers & the locals
- I think it really worked. I got on well with pretty much everyone in all aspects, I didn`t really spend much time with some of the STENAPA staff such as the marine park rangers etc as I didn`t generally come across them in the course of my day. I think everyone got on really well though. There was the odd minor dispute between individuals, but I believe when you`re living together 24/7, you`re always going to get. None of it was major though, I think considering the close proximity we were living in we did very well! And speaking for myself I got on really well with everyone, staff, locals & in particular my fellow volunteers & the interns, which were a surrogate family to me!
3) Practical day to day – your experience camping in the botanical garden, living conditions, food, free time activities, the work involved etc
- Camping was good. To be honest, prior to this, my experience of camping stretched to a period in the Sea Scouts, & going to rock festivals. Had absolutely no problems though, the campsite was fine, my tent was fine apart from having a visit from a land crab, the sort of thing that could happen to anyone. It was also nice to have the pavilion & especially the hammocks available to us, as the heat in my tent was unbearable after about 6.30am. Food was all fine, apart from the huge cost of fruit & vegetables. The idea of communal cooking during the week with each person looking after their own needs on the weekend worked very well, & saved us all money. It taught me a lot as well, i`ve only ever cooked for one or two people, so to be thrown into the deep end with budgetary constraints & differing dietary requirements was quite a challenge, & being able to cook for 10 people without killing them is definitely a new string to my bow!
- My free time was well spent, it was nice to be not too structured for the afternoons etc, but I had to plan well in order to have a truck available when wanting to go to the beach or to the shops etc, & certainly took some good planning & negotiating skills! I was also lucky enough to have a couple of like minded individuals with me who wanted to utilise their free time as much as possible, so had no problem getting a partner for a quill hike, snorkelling in corre corre bay etc.
- The work involved was good, I think the difficulty & amount of effort required is set just about right for the trip, its not backbreaking if you`re fit & healthy, but with the climate & nature of the work you do have to put a lot of effort in which was good. I thought on the whole it was really well organised also, with quality training in what was required, & decent supervision with safety in mind which was a key thing.
4) Do you feel you have benefited from this experience?
- Yes, in many ways. I`ve learned lots of new skills, experienced the real Caribbean culture pretty much as a resident rather than a tourist, made loads of new friends, & also as I mentioned before, I lost a lot of weight, became much healthier & have a much sunnier outlook on life, now that i`ve seen how nice it can be! My friends here are extremely jealous of each story I tell them of my trip.
5) Do you feel you were well prepared for the project?
- Pretty much, yes. I think the Working abroad handouts were very good, they covered everything we needed to know, & that, coupled with my own research of the island was certainly enough.
6) Did you think the project cost was reasonable or not? What about personal spending throughout the project?
- In hindsight, I think the project was very reasonable & represented very good value for money, the best I've seen whilst looking for a further similar trip! I would certainly recommend it to anyone, & may also invest in going back for a couple of months as a volunteer myself in the future. My personal spending was a lot less than I expected for a trip also, which was a really nice surprise, going out on the weekend was a lot cheaper, combined with the `kitty` idea for everyone chipping in to buy food for the week, meant that I spent a lot less than I thought
7) Are there any recommendations that you can give to the next group of volunteers?

- Yes. Most importantly, do research. Read all the Working abroad info thoroughly & supplement it with a visit to the Stenapa website, if nothing else, so that you fully know what you`re letting yourself in for. Try & travel as light as possible within reason & don`t take anything in the way of clothes that you are desperate to bring back with you. The four most important things I would say to take would be a hard wearing pair of gloves, a decent headtorch for finding your tent at night, a decent insect repellent & a large, robust container for drinking water for use while working, one-litre minimum, but I would recommend at least 2 litres. Try & contact Stenapa prior to attendance in order to find the local conditions on the ground & anything that may particularly be required or definitely not required as the case may be ( I brought a first aid kit with loads of stuff that there was already a lot of in the intern house, yet the house was crying out for some drying up cloths & cleaning utensils for the kitchen which could not easily be found on Statia, which I could’ve easily taken with me). Take something to keep you occupied, ipod, books, DVD`s etc. Be prepared for it to be hot, prepared to sweat & prepared to put your back into it, but to be rewarded accordingly!

View of St. Kitts from StatiaClaire Thackray, volunteered on Statia between October to December and writes about her experience and gives some hints to future volunteers:
1. Your general feeling about the project and the work carried out.
I loved the project! I learnt so much about conservation, an area I knew nothing much about before my Statia Visit. The work was varied & the free time given to the volunteers was very generous.

2. Your relationship between you, the manager, interns, the volunteers and the locals?
Nicole's welcome was a very warm one. She explained the projects objectives, aims, hopes & expectations clearly. Carlton the gardener taught me so much about tropical gardening and the way of life on Statia- he was one of a kind. The 4 Interns were from different countries to myself and that was brilliant as I got to learn about the ways of life in those countries too. Try their special dishes etc! The Locals were amazing. Welcomed us with open arms- I felt extremely safe everywhere i went by myself.

3. Statia - the island, the environment, sea, climate, town etc - did you like it?
Statia is truely a gem of a place. Like nowhere I've ever been to before. Beautiful scenery, incredible views from the Bovan. You really have to see it to believe it. The climate was perfect for me- I love the heat! When it rained...it rained! But it dried up quick enough. The Town had the basics and the bars were on fire at night especially during Statia week! It's so laid back there. For me, Being out there, was out of this world! I miss that place so much! I love Statia!
4. Practical day to day - your experience camping in the Botanical garden, living conditions, food, free time activities, the work involved etc.
Camping was better than expected- great fun!, Always keep your mozzie net up, to stop unwanted bugs n stuff entering your sleeping quarters! A good sturdy tent is needed as the wind and rain did come and batter us once in a while (the best fun!) The living conditions were made out to sound worse than what they were, which I think is a good idea. It was basic but we had everything we needed - just about. The Weekly cooking system was a brilliant cheap idea. We ate like Kings and Queens! Free time was very generous- we could island hop on the weekends, The work was so different to what I do for a living. I learnt a load of manual skills. Enjoyed every minute of it all.
5. Do you feel that you have benefited from this experience?
Yes! It was the best trip I've ever had. Lucky for me I got along with everyone. I really felt like I was doing something worth while, especially when we had visitors to the Botan, You would show them around and feel so proud of your work. I've met people I hope to stay in contact with and learnt about another culture and a way of life I love.
6. Do you feel that you were well prepared for the project?
All the info Vicky gave me to start with was spot on! I arrived on Statia with just about everything, but I wish I had taken more T-shirts- I found hauling my tent out there difficult because of the flight weight restrictions - I couldn't pack everything. But I didn't need for anything -the stuff I didn't take I had help finding on the island and I bought it there.
7. Did you think the project cost was reasonable or not? What about personal spending during the project?
I think the Statia Project was very reasonable. I've searched for other projects in the Carribean and cant find anything else like it for roughly the same price. Food and drinks were incredibly cheap. I spent about £250.00 extra in 2 months. I thought that was good going, with all the trips away included!

8. Are there any recommendations that you can give to the next group of volunteers?
Take more T- shirts than you think you need, take good care of yourself when travelling on the backs of trucks. take waterproof bags for cameras, valuables etc- take a load of music out there to listen to. A good pair of hiking boots is a must. Play Pool at Chocolates Bar!


Lawrence Cook from the UK writes about his time on Statia volunteering from June to August:

1. Your general feeling about the project and the work carried out.
Excellent project , really felt like I was giving something back, work was all worth while.
2. Your relationship between you, the manager, interns, the volunteers and the locals?
I got on really well with everyone! I've been to the Carribean before and never met locals so friendly, communication was sometimes an issue.
3. Statia - the island, the environment, sea, climate, town etc - did you like it?
Loved it, life is lived out there the way it should be!! Yes its hot but hey if u r going to the Carribean, u gotta kinda expect that!
4. Practical day to day - your experience camping in the Botanical garden, living conditions, food, free time activities, the work involved etc.
I takes a while to acclimatise to the heat/humidity, and when u r building the improvements there u make sure they're done well, food was excellent loads to eat in the garden as well, free time activities included: reading, sleeping, swimming, snorkeling, diving, exploring more of the park, local bars are very nice.
5. Do you feel that you have benefited from this experience?
Absolutely, I loved it so much I'm going back in January as an intern for 7 months!! (and hopefully never leave), the experience really improved my team work skills, as well as becoming more self-dependent.
6. Did you think the project cost was reasonable or not? What about personal spending during the project?
The project cost is very reasonable, as for personal spending I seemed to spend about £20-£40 a week, sometimes less!
7. Are there any recommendations that you can give to the next group of volunteers?
Bring twice as many t-shirts as you think you need. The better you can adjust the the local lifestyle the better time you will have, some people couldn't handle it, and bring your own shower bag if you can.

Some extracts from Sophie Butterworth from the UK writing about her experience living and volunteering on Statia:
"Statia is a beautiful island but really isn't the stereotypical Caribbean paradise. There aren't the glorious white beaches, which we enjoyed in Anguilla, and for me this was a benefit. It hasn't suffered from mass tourism and I liked it for that. You see the Caribbean rather than it being another American outpost like Philipsburg. The town is a bit ramshackle in places but everything you need is there and in fact I was shocked by how developed it is. The sea is perfect. Clear, warm, calm and with the most fantastic marine life you could ever hope to see. The climate was great while we were there, apart from one weekend of torrential rain, but being a Mancunian it seemed like a shower! I didn't realise rain could stop! In short, I loved Statia and would go back tomorrow."

Some extracts from Luke Reynolds from the UK on the general experience on Statia:
"In my opinion the work carried out was the best bit for me as working on the Quill is truly amazing and very rewarding when you see what you are actually achieving. Our supervisor in the Quill was very supportive and let us be creative. You were not told what to do, you were given options of what you could do. The important thing was that you were allowed to use your own ideas.
Our relationship with everyone was very good. The majority of locals enjoyed us being there and all the local bars were always extremely kind to us. One even put us on the radio. Also the dive shop 'Dive Statia' played a very important part in my time there as they were extremely friendly and as a few of us spent a lot of time there, I recommend this place very highly for future volunteers.
Statia is a beautiful Island with many attractions. The sea is beautifully clear and diving is a must. A few of us were lucky because we saw the five big fish, sharks, moray eel, seahorses, stingray and turtles. The climate is also amazing. It is just at the right temperature without being too hot although I was burnt a bit but that was my fault. The town is also very fascinating. You could walk around there all day and with there being so many different restaurants and bars to visit you would never get bored.
I am still very young and maybe not overly confident so doing something like this was very important. Just saying that I am now a rescue diver is enough for me but when I think I have been working on volcanoes, swimming with sharks, meeting new people and then living with them for two months without one single argument. Although I have come back home missing Statia a lot. I am now itching to get back out of England which goes to show how much I enjoyed my time. I have actually been accepted for a job in Crete which Kaspar said he had done a couple of years ago. So I'm on the up thanks to you and Statia.
(Are there any recommendations that you can give to the next group of volunteers?)
Just to enjoy every minute, be open to the manager about everything, buy Gershon (Assistant Manager) some tequila and go diving with Nic and Caroline, they are legends. Volunteers should also do a food kitty which I am sure you are aware of as this saves a lot of money and gets the group working together. Thanks so much Vicky for all you have done, I am extremely grateful and hopefully if you will let me I would love to do another project with WorkingAbroad in the future."

Some extracts from Marie Millingon on volunteering for STENAPA and working in the Botanical Garden on Statia:
"The Statia Conservation Project is governed by STENAPA (St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation) - this is a non profit making organisation which is funded solely by donations and grants. Without our help, STENAPA would not be able to maintain main areas of the island which we have been working on. The main aims were to complete the crater trail down into the Quill (volcano), which the first group had started, carry on with phase one of the botanical garden, and monitor, tag and protect sea turtles. The plan was to have 4 volunteers in the garden and then 4 up the quill for one month and then after a month we would swap round. The work in the Quill and the botanical garden started at around 7-8 in the mornings and ended around 1-2 in the afternoons.
The work in the botanical garden consisted of levelling the paths in order for wood chips to be placed there, and general weeding. The path project was a big achievement for us as it took a lot of team work and effort to finally accomplish it. I was very proud of the work that everybody put in - the work was manual and in very hot conditions but the constant breeze was a god send. We also lived at the botanical garden and I feel I should mention the views from where we were -we looked out onto miles and miles of ocean and we had a brilliant view of St. Kitts.
Our free time consisted of snorkelling and scuba diving. I am very proud to say that I was a part of a team that helped the local children to snorkel. I think that the new manager, Nicole is going to be very beneficial to STENAPA, and is going to make big changes to improve to the National Parks in every respect. My only recommendation would be is to go with an open mind and be prepared for the time of your life -.this is a once in a lifetime experience, I am definitely now going to take part in similar projects as this was absolutely perfect for me."

How to Join the Project

If you are interested in joining this project as a conservation volunteer in the Caribbean, you will need to fill out the online application form (you can also print it out and send it to us by post) – to secure a placement on the project, please complete and submit the form including two references and your application payment of £180. If for some reason, your application is not accepted, we will reimburse this payment fully.  However for those who are accepted, the full amount needs to be paid one month before departure.  Once you have been accepted on the programme, you will receive a Volunteer Information Package with all detailed information on your project, information on amenities on St. Eustatius, suggested items to bring and lots more.


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