Tropical Botany Technician Internship

Looking to broaden your plant identification skills and gain experience with topical botanical families and field studies? Want to learn ethnobotanical uses of plants from a variety of ethnic backgrounds? Want to live immersed in the tropical rainforest of Belize? If so, then this is the internship for you!

The goal of this internship is to give the student various experiences in tropical botanical studies that will aid the student in developing their skills for a variety of future education and employment opportunities. The main component of the project will be to work with the T.R.E.E.S staff and Ecorana biologists in establishing a long-term plant monitoring project that is part of a bigger project looking into insect abundance and timing of plant flowering and seed production in the Maya Mountains of Belize and how this affects wildlife (especially avian) abundance, breeding, moulting, and movement.

We are looking for interns who are independent yet willing to work in a team environment. Applicants should have a certain level of botanical identification skills and should be interested in improving their techniques for proper plant identification in the tropics and learning about the incredible biodiversity of Belize through systematic field surveys and data collection.

Tasks

  • Identify plants (trees, shrubs, and other groups) found at the T.R.E.E.S Hosting Center and in the Maya Mountains in Belize.
  • Gain experience in collaborating with local researchers and botanical institutions to obtain keys to allow the identification of plants in Belize.
  • Contribute findings with the National Herbarium of Belize.
  • Initiate a plant collection from dried specimens using plant presses.
  • Learn and become proficient in a variety of plant sampling techniques, including how to conduct: quadrat plots, transects, habitat characterization and vegetation mapping, etc.
  • Gain an understanding of the timing of reproduction for these plants (flowering time, seed production etc.) to be included in a flowering plant database.
  • Add plant I.D. tags to trees and plants that will be used to create an educational trail at the station.
  • Work with locals and learn and document local knowledge of plants found.
  • Work with Ecorana researchers, T.R.E.E.S staff, and other interns on the development of scientific protocol design.
  • Understand and follow all safety regulations and priorities while working in the field and office.
  • Learn to enter data in a systematic manner and compile it into a scientific report with introduction and literature review, methods, results (including basic statistical analysis), and discussion using peer-reviewed scientific articles.
  • Depending on involvement in project, may have opportunity to collaborate on future publications.
  • Complete a short 4-5 page summary report that will help to establish future research protocols.
  • Use of ArcGiS and GPS an asset to add to the existing map of the T.R.E.E.S trails and botanical features of note.

Desired Qualification

  • Previous experience working with plant identification keys.
  • Previous experience working with plant presses and preparing botanical specimens for herbariums
  • Knowledge of plant survey and monitoring techniques.
  • Enjoy working with a diverse community of people.
  • Spend long-hours in the field (difficult conditions)
  • Knowledge of some tropical plant families an asset
  • Experience using Microsoft Office Suite, Photoshop and ArcGIS an asset.
  • Flexible easy-going attitude.

Physical Requirements and Work Conditions

  • Ability to tolerate high temperature and high humidity
  • Ability to work in environments where exposure to spiky plants, toxic vines, scorpions, spiders, ticks and biting flies is common. In addition, it is the jungle; venemous snakes are uncommon but present.
  • Ability to live in remote conditions away from electronic ammenities
  • Possible indoor work is performed in a typical office setting.
  • Ability to lift, carry, and position objects weighing up to 30 pounds.

Benefits

  • Gain a working knowledge of botanical census techniques, plant identification keys, creation of educational trails and working with national institutions to increase national biodiversity knowledge.
  • Opportunity to attend personal/professional development days with local experts.
  • Opportunities to learn and record traditional knowledge regarding plant uses from a variety of ethnic backgrounds
  • Opportunity to live in and enjoy the scenery, wildlife, and cultural resources of a beautiful country in Central America.
  • Opportunities to work with other interns, guides and locals from diverse backgrounds that share a common interest in preserving and protecting our natural lands.

 Terms

  • Multiple positions available.
  • No application deadline.
  • Start-date: Positions available year-round for this continuing monitoring project.
  • Summer Orchid Garden Project, June 15th-July 30th, 2016.
  • Length of position: minimum 6 weeks; longer is preferable.
  • Schedule: 30 hours per week, Monday–Friday.

Fees               

Ecorana fees for internships for international students are $25 US/day. This includes lodging and use of all facilities at the T.R.E.E.S Hosting Center, training on methodologies by Ecorana biologists and local T.R.E.E.S professionals in their field of study, as well as mentorship from Ecorana tutors for the duration of the intended internship. International students must have international travel medical insurance during their stay in Belize. At the discretion of the T.R.E.E.S managers, local Belizean students (especially those not staying on site) can have fees reduced or exchanged for work. All interns (international and local) are required to pay for transportation to/from the site and their food while on site (cooking facilities provided).

To Apply

 Please email your resume and a thoughtful cover letter to: info@ecorana.ca (international students) OR info@treesociety.org (Belizean students).

Please indicate the position title in your email subject line. No phone calls please.