Reports from the Field

An Inspirational Research Facility I Called Home: 4 Weeks On Isla De Utila!


By: John Lindegren | Posted on: 24 Sep 2018

“The project is a truly remarkable place. Not only do the researchers and volunteers collect data and information about life on

the island in an exceptional  manner, they also try to spread awareness to the local communities on the bay islands. I volunteered as much as I could with every research survey and activity that took place. The most challenging part about the trip was choosing what to help volunteer with when 2 or more research activities were taking place. For instance, it was tough choosing between “turtle patrol” or “anole night patrol” when they took place at the same time. However, there were lull times where research was not taking place (i.e. during/after rain storms, Sundays). Although, it did not rain very often when I was on the island (July 31-August 28). Also, there was lightning over the mainland just about every night. They say nothing is venomous on the island, but there are mildly venomous creatures, such as the Mexican Parrot Snake and Blunt-headed Tree Snake.

I managed to become a better person from this trip. I learned a lot about myself, the environment and tropical habitats on a caribbean island. I am proud to say that I gained experience on various scientific instruments such as infrared thermometers, gps navigation for anole surveys through dense hard-wood forests, and laser range finders. I learned how to capture and handle certain lizards, snakes, bats (de-netting and taking measurements), and baby turtles. Furthermore, you get to work with other agencies such as the Bay Islands Conservation Agency (BICA) for turtle research. Along the span of the trip I gained a new appreciation and fascination for bats. This was possible by working with great people.

I did not come to the research facility with a research project, however after the first week there I started to conduct my own research project survey on Great-tailed

Grackle. The people at were truly magnificent, as they helped me with my project when I had questions, comments, or concerns.

I love how the research facility is right next to Pumpkin Hill (the highest elevation on the island, and is also a dormant volcano). The research facility is isolated, in the “sticks”, and surrounded by wildlife! If you go into town, its about a 45 minute walk and there is wi-fi and coffee shops and bars. There is not very much cell reception on the island. So if you enjoy being isolated for periods of time, then this place might be for you! The people of Utila are quite amazing. If you’re their friend they value you way more than money. Meaning, friendship is more valuable than money. The values of Utila are simple, yet inspirational.

The project more than exceeded my expectations. I loved how people came from different parts the world. Being part of the project, I gained an experience not every tourist got to experience. I was welcomed by the locals in a welcoming way.  I feel like they have a mission to do good and locals notice.

This was truly an amazing experience and I will not forget the things I learned, the experiences I was part of, and the people I met. I would 100% recommend this project to a friend. This island is unique and the people are amazing. Tom and Daisy are very inspiring as they make me want to be the best scientist I can possibly be. Last but not least, many thanks to Flavia for being so incredibly awesome, welcoming, and someone to talk to about anything.”

 

Wildlife Research Internship in Honduras

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Author Bio
John Lindegren

John Lindegren
Posted on: 24 Sep 2018