Reports from the Field

Eustatius Marine Park

Botond on the Marine conservation project in st Eustatius


By: Sarah Mitchell | Posted on: 13 Feb 2019

“Upon completion of my Global Nomadic project, I feel prepared to take on a career that I have always imagined. After graduating college with a degree in Marine Science, decent grades, and some lab and field experience, the idea of working as a marine scientist still sounded like a distant dream that I wasn’t at all prepared for. There were so many options in so many different places, and all of them wanted you to be experienced and ready to commit. Now that I have traveled to Statia, through Global Nomadic, and worked in their marine park, I feel that I have a bit of that experience jobs are looking for, this is something I’m very proud of.

The biggest challenge I experienced on this project is actually such a small challenge really. I was surprised to realize when I arrived that I was the only volunteer/intern currently there from the US, and barely met anyone else the whole time on the island that was from the US either. Since everyone spoke English, it really wasn’t a big deal at all, but as someone who hasn’t traveled much I found it to be a strange feeling. On Thanksgiving my whole extended family video chatted me during their dinner, but that evening I ate Ramen noodles alone at the picnic table. Everyone had such strong and different accents and I had a hard time understanding a lot of them, (that and the different slang words I had no clue what meant at first). Frequently I was asked things about US politics or places or traditions that I had a hard time explaining on my own, and this made me feel stupid and uncomfortable.  By the end of my trip though, I was so glad I was the only one from the US. I feel rich from learning so many different cultures, and now I have friends all over to go visit some day!

Not only did working there show me how to take care of a marine park, specifically and most importantly by caring for the corals it contained, but also allowed me to meet and work with researchers from all over the globe who were working on different projects. Meeting these people allowed me to make connections for future jobs or schools, gave me ideas for future study topics, and practiced me in conducting research while diving. Although there may not have been much knowledge of my own I could bring to the project to improve it, I do think that I helped make a difference by bringing positivity into work each day. I also made an effort to stay active in the local community, which helped me to bring new ideas and experiences to the marine park. For example one of the times some researchers were coming into town they were using a dive shop to conduct their research and the marine park wasn’t aware what they were doing till I found out and got myself and the marine park ranger invited to join along, which in the end also helped him to complete a training session he was required to complete soon.

This project really gave me everything I was expecting and more. Besides all the things I’ve already mentioned, I also logged enough dives to continue on to Divemaster training, which is the next project I would like to take on.  I would highly recommend this project to a friend in my field for all these reasons, and for the parts I wasn’t expecting to gain either. Which is the friends I made along the way and the memories and fun I had while there.”

 

Coral Reef & Marine Park Conservation in St Eustatius

 

 

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Author Bio

Sarah Mitchell
Posted on: 13 Feb 2019