Whale Conservation Communications Volunteer

Mexico (M52) | View map
PRICE FROM
£252 p.w.

Price is based on 3 months
MINIMUM DURATION
2 months

Build your experience in communications and marketing, working in a whale conservation project

  • Whale conservation project ideal for gap year students or professionals involved in marketing, graphic design and communications
  • An opportunity to develop experience of marketing in eco-tourism
  • Help increase the awareness of the goals of the project through campaigns and communications
  • whale conservation project 1
  • whale conservation project 2
  • whale conservation project 3
  • whale conservation project 4
  • whale conservation project 4
  • whale conservation project 6
  • whale conservation project 7
  • whale conservation project 8
  • whale conservation project 9
  • whale conservation project 10
  • whale conservation project 11
  • whale conservation project 12
  • whale conservation project 13

Project summary

Whale conservation in Mexico: You will volunteer as part of an ecotourism agency based in Mazatlan, Mexico. Their mission is to connect people with wildlife through unique experiences in nature. They achieve this by using whale watching trips as ‘platforms of opportunity’ for wildlife research and monitoring – to get as many people as possible collecting data. The project also supports community conservation initiatives in the region.

A key aspect of their work is the long term monitoring of marine mammal species and populations. The area is an essential habitat for a diverse range of marine life, including sea turtles, sea lions, sharks, birds and many whale and dolphin species, including year round resident populations of bottlenose, spotted and spinner dolphins, plus a winter breeding ground for Pacific humpback whales.

From December through March, the projects operates whale watching excursions designed to document cetacean sightings, particularly humpback whales. On board, the team of marine scientists are supported by conservation enthusiasts who fund the operation, collect data on whale sightings and take photographs of the whales’ tails for individual identification. This technique, known as photo-identification, enables the team to record the natural history of individual whales and to understand fundamental aspects of their behavioural ecology like abundance, movements and habitat preferences.

The information collected is crucial for the implementation of whale conservation and management plans that are used to lobby local government on public policy, with the long term goal to establish a “shelter area” for humpback whales.

The whale conservation project also provides training to local fisherman on disentanglements of dolphins and whales from their nets, as well as working with schools and the community to educate on environmental issues.

Volunteer roles and responsibilities

whale conservation project 14

The Whale Conservation Communications volunteer will work closely with the Director to help develop and improve all aspects of the communications for the project. In particular there is a need to help build followers and awareness of in social media channels, so as to create maximum impact in subsequent campaigns in the areas of conservation and ecotourism.

You will help communicate the goals of the organisation, work with partners, report on research activity, draft and edit publications, presentations, fact sheets and press releases, as well as drive the social media and website content channels.

This will offer the rare opportunity to develop your graphic design, writing, presentation, communication and creative skills in the context of a marine conservation project. You will be largely office based, although as part of the team you need to understand and participate in the research activity so as to better promote it and to build content for the social media networks.

How you can make a difference

The area has a large fishing industry, a substantial commercial port and a growing tourist industry, all of which place significant pressure on the local marine environment. The economic and cultural challenges of Mexico mean that there is still a lack of awareness and policy around environmental threats, so by gathering data on the cetacean population, this projects helps inform government of the incredible natural resources they have and provides support to local policy development on whale conservation.

What is distinctive abut this project

This whale conservation project is a progressive ecotourism agency that is innovating in the area of ‘platforms of opportunity’ – using the activity and funding of eco-tourists to enable a much higher level of monitoring activity than would otherwise be possible. You will work with a small, knowledgeable and fun-loving team in an exciting environment.

Blue Tiger Features

This is an established organisation, using Outreach International to help them access the support of volunteers for the first time. They are excited by the prospect of having volunteers join their self-motivated, friendly and sociable team. Volunteers need to have a strong work ethic, good attention to detail and the ability to work with limited supervision, as the research team will frequently be out on field trips.

It would suit someone passionate about marine conservation and a love of outdoor activities, who knows how to swim and is comfortable on the water.

Season

This role is specifically targeted at the winter months January-March, when the local area acts as a breeding ground for pacific humpback whales.

Languages

The project Director speaks good English, however, a reasonable level of Spanish is required to help you communicate with partner organisations and other third parties.

Experience required

This would ideally suit undergraduate or graduate students studying communications, graphic design or marketing with a genuine interest in ecotourism and biodiversity conservation. Alternatively this could be a great opportunity for an existing marketing executive to use their skills in an exciting and different environment for 3 months. You will need to be competent in Microsoft Office, social media tools and preferably have experience in website development, SEO and adwords.

Good to know

Working with the team will require flexible hours to accommodate the range of activities and may involve working weekends, but you are assured of being involved in an exciting and social team. This role is being promoted in parallel with another volunteer role, to help with the research activity, so you are likely to have company.

Price table

8 weeks12 weeks
£2,455£3,025

Includes: Comprehensive travel insurance (supplements may apply to older travellers). Accommodation, food, airport transfer, travel to projects, in-country support. 20 hours of 121 of Spanish tuition.

Excludes: Flights, visas, vaccinations

Things to see and do

  • Whale watching
  • Beaches
  • The Old Town
Greta Ruiz

Country co-ordinator

Greta Ruiz

Greta lives close to our project base in Puerto Vallarta and has been working with us since 2006. She lived in London for three years where she completed her MSc in veterinary science. In addition to supporting our volunteers she now works as a Pilates instructor. She is brilliantly organised and works relentlessly to improve our programmes and offer support to the Mexico volunteers.

About Mexico