Reserve Stewardship Couples: Las Tangaras Reserve, Mindo, Ecuador
Positions are filled for 2023. Couples interested in 2024 please email Dr. Becker. Position starts in January, 2024.
Life Net Nature seeks a capable couple with backgrounds in protected-area management, ecotourism, conservation biology, and/or related fields to steward and live at Reserva Las Tangaras. Las Tangaras is a 50-hectare nature preserve, near Mindo, Ecuador. The reserve protects habitat for native plants and animals in threatened tropical montane forest and is home to more than 350 bird species. The reserve has one of the oldest and largest Andean Cock-of-the rock display leks in the region, several endangered mammals, and many endemic and endangered reptiles and amphibians.
Qualifications include ability to communicate well in Spanish (intermediate or above), and one person with a university degree in a topic related to the position. Applicants must be comfortable hiking about steep terrain on narrow trails in the mountains. We seek applicants with experience in rugged biology fieldwork, hospitality services and nature interpretation, birding, wilderness leave no trace camping ethics, handy skills, especially carpentry and plumbing, basic financial management capacity, first aid training, and who are social media savvy with mature, common sense.
New managers overlap with out-going stewards for 2-4 days of training and contract for a 165-day service commitment at the reserve within a 180-day visa. Life Net covers the visa renewal fee.
Duties include maintenance of trails, cabin, out buildings, water and septic system, as well as transporting gas tanks (possibly by horse), care and use of reserve tools, equipment, research materials, doing inventories and maintaining a small library. Managers collect data on weather, and about several bird-themed topics: Andean Cock-of-the Rock lek, Club-winged Manakin lek, hummingbird species at feeders, and habitat use of migratory Swainson’s Thrushes and resident Andean Solitaires. Managers maintain a monthly bird list and report “big days” or special species via eBird. Stewards may develop their own research projects. Managers may also keep organic gardens and agro-forestry projects going and expand on work of previous managers. Other useful activities include small construction projects, furniture or shelf-building, doing needed repairs, doing ecotourism marketing and improving services, and providing outreach to the local community.
As a buffer property on the edge of the Mindo-Namibillo Bosque Protector, Reserva Las Tangaras provides additional habitat for wildlife at elevations typically deforested for agriculture and poorly regulated “adventure” tourism. As a tropical forest, the reserve also sequesters carbon. Las Tangaras receives light visitation by bird-watchers, nature enthusiasts, photographers, hikers, campers, and tropical biology researchers and students. Monetary fees and contributions from visitors help to sustain the reserve and fund the stipend for stewards.
Stewards should be capable of:
1. Hosting nature-oriented guests and visitors and maintaining a tidy and clean research station and guest cabin.
2. Keeping financial records, & setting and completing management tasks including AirBnB reservations via phone & internet.
3. Maintaining all trails on the reserve and the entrance bridge.
4. Improving trail(s) and signage from main road.
5. Sustaining gardens and orchards, and wildlife friendly plantings.
6. Using Excel & Word for monthly reports, updating and recording data.
7. Have good internet and social media skills to blog at the reserve website (at least monthly), make engaging and informative posts at the reserve Facebook and Instagram sites, submit Excel data sheets, do regular emails including thank you emails to guests, and contribute bird lists to eBird.
The reserve is an incredible place to live, and the research and photographic opportunities abound. Life Net volunteer teams annually monitor and research bird communities in July – August and December, and stewards, visiting scientists and students can add to discoveries about the complex and diverse biological nature on the reserve.
Stewards receive $400/month as a partial cost of living stipend during rainy season and $350 during dry season to achieve the basics of reserve management. Stewards earn additional income providing food and beverages, and by offering guiding services to visitors.
To apply, contact Dr. Dusti Becker by email: email@example.com and send your application as one united PDF document (if possible) with: 1) a single joint cover letter expressing interest and qualifications of each individual and strengths as a couple, 2) your two professional resumes (CVs), and 3) three easily contactable references each.