What to Expect Choosing a Placement with GPV

So, you’ve seen the Green Planet Ventures website, you’re a student looking to do some meaningful research and field work, but you want to know more about what you’ll be doing, where you’ll be staying and who you will be working with! That’s why I’ve written this introduction; to help you anticipate what to expect when you take a research placement with Green Planet Ventures.

Firstly, where will you be staying and carrying out this vital research? That is a brilliant Rainforest Lodge and Reserve right in the heart of the edge of Sarapiqui River, on the door step of Braulio Carrillo National Park. With spacious cabin lodge style rooms scattered all over the tropical gardens and reserve, try to spot the beautiful birds, butterflies and mammals that frequent the grounds, all while enjoying delicious, authentic Costa Rican meals and seeing the birds feeding in the garden from above. In the accommodation we were looked after like in no other place, we had comfortable rooms great to come back to at the end of a working day and the staff is attentive and welcoming, something important especially if you go on your own.

I felt fortunate to stay there. To be doing serious field work, you need certain living standards rather than staying in the classic students’camp having to cook your own food in rustic conditions. If I am going on an adventure, I am happy to rough it, but I must admit, after a long day working and sometimes coming back soaking wet from the rain, it was nice to be able to take a warm shower and have my dinner served. I would even say that to be able to work full time and sometimes during the night, as the programme requires, it's probably necessary to have good living conditions, to ensure that you can concentrate on your research and stay healthy for the length of your stay. 

We come here to carry out environmental research, crucial for the sustainable management of natural resources! Green Planet Ventures has a number of programs, including herpetology, ornithology, mammalogy and botanical studies, led by experts in ecology and nature conservation. If you’re fortunate, you may even be involved in the discovery of a new species of animal or plant!

You will be out in the rainforest, carrying out real tropical forest research, guided by the program leaders and volunteer coordinators, attaining valuable experiences in field work. Using appropriate equipment, you will be hiking through the rainforest measuring flora and fauna, taking samples and obtaining data. Not only that, you will have the opportunity to attend engaging and interactive lectures and seminars, furthering your learning.

I went there in my introductory trip in June 2017. Despite not being there for the whole volunteering month, I was not bored a single minute and learned so much. I will definitely go again for longer... and if you want to know what is involved in rain forest conservation, I cannot recommend this experienc e enough. 

It was raining a lot because June is in the middle of the rainy season that lasts from April to October, but that didn’t stop us: with a good rain coat and walking boots on, we ventured into the rain forest. The program leaders guide you on adapting to the working conditions, collating the research you have gathered, analysing the data and producing scientific posters and papers, that can be used towards your university projects. At the end of the program, you will prepare and deliver your work in a presentation, to guests and your program colleagues and leaders. All this will not only be of value towards your degree, but it will also give you a strong foundation in both theoretical and practical scientific research, and important transferable skills.

I met there other students working on the Herpetology Program and here they share their thoughts.

Mariana Raquei Fiodińo Peréz

Estudiante de Lic. Biologia

Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico)

“The programs offer multiple opportunities and allows us to work with experienced people and do field research, applying theory to practice in a specific field. When someone doesn’t have the experience in the field, they come here to get the experience to then get the job they want.”

 

Maria Fernanda Vargus Molina

Estudiante de bachiller en Ing. Ciencias Forestales

Universidad Nacional C.R.

“Being able to interact with different animals is fascinating! We can combine our theoretical knowledge of taxonomy with biodiversity conservation principles, which we don’t get to do at university, and this is important because we can get a complete analysis and understanding of our related field. “

 

During your time off from all the hard work and research, you can enjoy all the activities Selva Verde has to offer.

We were never bored and had endless activities to enjoy, from bird watching in the early hours, spotting Yellow Throated Toucans, Ring Kingfishers and Howler Monkeys, to scouring the rainforest in complete darkness during night walks, searching for anteaters, sloths, glass frogs, kinkajous and more! Our guide, Ivan, was an expert in all flora and fauna, kindly answering all our questions and making the tours much more enjoyable.

If you’re after more cultural experiences, why not try Costa Rica’s Best Chocolate! Right across the road from the lodge is a cacao plantation, run by Rodolpho and his wife. Learn about how the drink of the gods was made and revered, the importance of conservation and of course eat an indulging amount of delicious chocolate! This couple were incredibly inviting, a little bit cheeky, making sure we were having a good time and always in high spirits. They are so passionate about their work, we couldn’t help but be absorbed in all they were saying.

For those looking for a wilder, daring experience, why not try white water rafting on the Sarapiqui River, zip line through the canopy of the rainforest or hike through it with one of the knowledgeable tour guides. All the staff at Selva Verde were exceedingly hospitable, ensuring we were comfortable, but more so, we felt as though we were part of a community.

By doing a research placement with GPV, not only will you be involved with esteemed tropical forest research, and gain important scientific and life skills, but you will meet extraordinary people, learn to live the Costa Rican way and be welcomed to a friendly community.


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