Projects Abroad | Environmental Conservation

St Eustatius (Caribbean): Terrestrial Environmental Conservation

St Eustatius


Location: St Eustatius

Duration: Minimum 2 months commitment

Start Dates: Project is ongoing

Cost: /

Covid-19 Restrictions:

Vaccinated interns only need to observe social distancing for 5 days, mask included. This includes the avoidance of events, social distancing and always wearing a mask in public. You will be tested on the 5th day.


  • Work with local terrestrial staff on trail maintenance, monitoring of important species, Botanical Garden,
  • Take part in all nature conservation activities on the island
  • Design and build trail signs, plant out botanical garden, reforest the island
  • Learn about interesting species and protocols
  • Keywords: Terrestrial conservation, Trail maintenance, Species monitoring, Botanical Garden, Nature Conservation, Internship
Costs Explained


Caribbean ecosystems are very sensitive, yet vital to the island economies and the well being of its populations. However they are under threat. From water pollution to climate change many ecosystems across the world are in decline. St Eustatius National Parks are part of a Dutch Caribbean wide conservation effort to preserve these vital resources on the small island of St Eustatius (Statia as it is locally called) in the North-East Caribbean .

St Eustatius National Parks manages a large land & marine protected area in order to preserve this fragile ecosystem for future generations. Part of our work is to ensure that these are upheld by the community and visiting tourists.

On land we manage the Quill/Boven National Park with a network trails that appeal to hikers all walks of life – from children to the intrepid climber. We aim for trails to blend into the environment and try to use as many natural materials as possible. Our interns are part of every step along the way, are crucial to the organization and to the protection of nature.

Daily Life

Read all: Botanical Garden Environmental Conservation + Trail Maintenance & Environmental Conservation + Reforestation Project

Botanical Garden Environmental Conservation

You will be working with a non-governmental nature conservation organization based on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius, which is legally mandated by the Island Government to manage all the island’s protected areas (the National Marine Park and the Quill/Boven National Park) as well as a young Botanical Garden on the 21km2 island of St Eustatius.

We are looking for interns (and volunteers) to help with maintenance, design, restructuring and development of our botanical garden. As it stands the botanical garden needs a lot of attention. Due to hurricane Irma and Maria (Sept. 2017) the garden was heavily damaged, and the shade house destroyed. On top of that we have issues with roaming animals that enter the garden.

Main responsibilities: 

  • Work alongside Botanical Garden Ranger and other staff, interns, volunteers
  • Take part in all nature conservation activities on the island
  • Daily garden maintenance including – but not limited to – raking, weeding, pruning, weed whacking, maintain composting and mulching systems plus irrigation of plants, carpentry, painting
  • Assisting with building fence and shade house.
  • Develop and execute plans for regenerating the garden and increase diversity of plants
  • Develop sustainable ways of pest control
  • Develop ways for replanting and structuring of arbors and specific areas
  • Responsible with ranger for tools, organization of the tool shed, and update inventory
  • Take on other projects, such as (choose): extend irrigation system, redevelopment of solar panel system, propagate the endemic Statia Morning Glory and other native Caribbean plants to be grown in the garden, renew plant identification labels.
  • Work with incoming researchers
  • Join sea turtle patrol (when it is sea turtle nesting season:  June-November)

Trail Maintenance & Environmental Conservation

The maintenance and monitoring of Statia’s terrestrial protected areas need your help for their survival. The terrestrial parks comprise one extinct volcano at the northern end of the island called Boven and a dormant volcano called the Quill at the southern end, both of which have a combined total of 17 trails. Weekly maintenance of these trails is required to ensure visitors safety and enjoyment of the park. You will work alongside the national park ranger.

Whilst doing this, you will also carry out various monitoring projects of our important species. For example, we are currently experiencing an invasion of the Green Iguana onto the island. This species has mated with the local and critically endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana of which several hybrids have now been found. We are working with other stakeholders on the island to survey selected areas to find hybrid specimens. Any prior knowledge of invasive reptiles and/or of iguanas would be of much assistance in our efforts to stop the extinction of the Lesser Antillean Iguana on our island.

Main responsibilities:

  • Work with Terrestrial Park Rangers, other staff, interns, volunteers
  • Take part in all nature conservation activities on the island
  • Monitor of species and habitats
  • Maintenance hikes across the national park
  • Assist with the development of weekly maintenance schedules
  • Development of trail signage, repair signs
  • Assist with erosion control
  • Map trail using GPS
  • Carry equipment to specific points on the trails for use in maintenance activities
  • Accompany educational hikes with various youth groups
  • Assist the garden ranger twice a week in the botanical garden
  • Assist with regular iguana surveys and tagging
  • Join sea turtle patrol (when it is sea turtle nesting season)

Reforestation Project 

The Reforestation Project was initiated to replace the trees that were felled by Hurricane Irma and Maria. The goals also include the reduction of erosion around the island.  The ReforeStatia Nursery has two shade-houses, a shipping container for storage, a tractor, water tanks and a mini lake, a guard dog, and a food forest. The flora and fauna have been allowed to increase without the interruption of roaming animals or constant mowing. Out-planting of trees has begun in at least 3 locations around the island, including the reinforced Fort Oranje Cliff. These areas will be maintained and added to during the rainy season, after the hurricane season has ended.

Main responsibilities:

  • Work along with On-Site Manager, other staff, interns, and volunteers
  • Take part in all nature conservation activities on the island
  • Maintain potted plants in the shade-house at the ReforeStatia Nursery Site
  • Maintain food garden on the ReforeStatia Nursery Site
  • Assist with out-planting of trees (during the rainy season – Nov to Feb)
  • Assist with composting projects
  • Join sea turtle patrol (June-November)
Book with Confidence

Travel & Accommodation

Our primary location is a central, two-bedroom house. The monthly rent is $275. A deposit of $275 is also required.

Our secondary location is the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute (CNSI) dorms. Rent varies with the room.

Fundraising Help


  • Min age: 18
  • Minimum commitment is 2 months
  • Good English skills
  • Good organizational skills
  • Ability to work as a team but also able to work independently
  • Must be physically fit with ability to do manual labor and the use of heavy tools
  • Must be a good hiker/used to climbing
  • Has preferably a drivers license (manual driven preferred)
  • Hard worker with good organizational skills
  • Preferably has previous experience of working in a national park or relevant educational qualification
  • Handy with carpentry/painting/construction and other related skills
  • Willing, enthusiastic and proactive
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Necessary flights & visas
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Places are confirmed with a $250 placement fee. You will also need to cover the costs of your food and accommodation during your stay

What’s Included:

Accommodation in shared dorm section of a science facility, utility bills, internet and airport pick up / drop off. The fee is paid upfront.

What’s not included:

Food (grocery runs are included during quarantine), flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations (if applicable). Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our

Premium Support.

You should budget a minimum of $400 per month for food.

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Note: Map coordinates are approximate