ProTECTOR Inc. Volunteers and Interns

ProTECTOR Inc. is now featured in the new MOON Volunteer Vacations in Latin America.
Thanks to Amy Robertson, the author!

To find out more about ProTECTOR Inc. Volunteer and Intern opportunities, and to find out how you can apply, see the ProTECTOR Inc. Volunteer and Intern Guide here.

NewProTECTOR Volunteer Guide

New 2017 - 2019 Guide Available HERE

"Kudos to you for your excellent, and much-needed work!!" - Amy Robertson

 
   
Leslie Roberson 2010  

"In Honduras, there’s much more to conservation than passing laws. However, there is reason for optimism that well-planned conservation efforts, can succeed. I partnered with ProTECTOR Inc., one of the few organizations in Honduras that is focusing on coupling scientific research and community development. ProTECTOR Inc. is working in a very difficult environment, attempting to combat the decline in turtle populations amidst the wide scale degradation of the entireecosystem. The members of ProTECTOR realize that sea turtles are one part of a complex system. Although I witnessed many discouraging things, I was also introduced to many individuals making remarkable progress. I collaborated with Honduran biologists passionate about saving their country’s natural resources and eager to introduce me to the scientific community in their country."

Lesley Roberson

Leslie oberson

 

Haruka Ito 2010
Haruka

"I went on this internship 4 summers ago, when I was just starting my undergraduate career. It was great to use my love for scuba diving and get research experience! At the time I had no idea how much this short "research vacation" would impact my scientific career. Looking back I know that these 10 short days led to my experiences at conferences, presentations, and even publication! It's gotten me to my masters program, and I know this internship was definitely worth it!"

Haruka Ito

See publication resulting from work by Haruka Ito and Dr. Stephen Dunbar, PDF here.

See 10th anniversary SWOT report article on photo ID, PDF here.

 

Ken Lindsay 2010

"I really enjoyed meeting you and getting out to El Venado. I realize that dealing with some aspects of culture there can be a challenge, but I also found it very interesting to be part of the process. I hope to be able to join you again in the future, and for a longer time than just a week next time."

Ken Lindsay

Ken Lindsay

 

Marta Llorca 2010
Marta

"I liked being able to help and train people who live there in order to devote their efforts in conservation of species and respect for nature. My days in Honduras have helped me to realize how fragile the natural world can be and how we must strive to cherish, and appreciate it. I encourage everyone that has the opportunity to work on a project like this to participate in the conservation of nature, starting with our inmediate environment."

Marta Llorca

 

Oliver and Anna Nash 2010
"We loved the opportunity to work alongside Steve Dunbar and his ProTECTOR Inc. team. What struck us most was the collaboration between the community members and the research team - they all had so much fun, but were doing great research work together! We're glad that some of our contributions have gone to help improve the turtle Center there at El Venado, and we hope for many more years of successful turtle research and conservation at this wonderful spot."
OliAnna
Oli Nash is the author of the nature adventure book,The Primate Puzzle
Oli and Anna Nash
 

 

Alejandro Lopez and Marta Llorca 2010
volunteer Marta & Volunteer
   

 

Christina Martin 2010
  Christina Martin

 

UNAH Students 2010
UNAH Students Students from the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) worked with the project over several days at Punta Raton to gain research experience. Jose Vindel (center) and Jimmy Valle (far left).

 

UNAH Volunteer Club 2011
GroupJan11  
Dorian Arguijo, Carmen Nunez, Melissa Ramirez, Lidia Salinas, Hanna Roque, Samaria Castellanos, Steve Dunbar  

 

Tyler dos Santos 2011

"I've learned a lot on my trip to Honduras with ProTECTOR Inc. While the politics involved behind the conservation were a shock to me, it's good to see a group that is still dedicated to help, even through all the difficulties. I hope my four weeks down here will help make a difference in the project, and we'll be able to see the populations of turtles rise over time. Thank you so much, for the opportunity to help out and learn so much about the biology world."

Tyler dos Santos

Tyler

 

Christine Ha 2011
Christine Ha

"I was very excited and happy to be in Honduras. I really enjoyed walking the beaches and seeing turtles. For me, being at the Center at Punta Ratón was kind of like camping indoors. The Center was not bad at all, just mosquitoes drove me crazy. I also enjoyed my time at El Venado. The people there were all so talkative and friendly. I felt like I was taken care of very well. I would surely recommend other people to come and volunteer here. I myself am thinking of organizing a group to come to El Venado and Punta Ratón next summer."

Christine Ha

 

Katelyn Schiller 2011

"My favorite thing was working with the turtles, but I also enjoyed connecting with the community. They were very sweet and kind to us. I felt that us being there encouraged the people from the community and showed them what it's like to have enthusiastic visitors at the centers. They saw our energies and that reminded them of why they are doing what they do. When we touched the eggs and squealed with delight, we hope it energized them. I am thankful to ProTECTOR Inc. because they did everything they could to accommodate me."

Katelyn Schiller

Katie Schiller

 

Larry Williams Bracho 2011
Larry Bracho

"There were real challenges working among the communities of the south coast. There is a lot of poverty, and unemployment there. But I had a great two months working alongside Steve and the other ProTECTOR Inc. team members. I saw they had a real interest in conservation of the turtles, and in helping the people in the communities. Working with Noemi, Sami, and the other volunteers, made me feel a part of the ProTECTOR Inc. team. Everyone did whatever they could to help me have a great experience here."

Larry Bracho

 

Christi Linardich 2011

"During the few weeks that I spent working with Noel, tagging and tracking hawksbill sea turtles I was able to log an amazing 39 dives. Roatán, Honduras has unforgettable diving with a population of hardworking, but fun-loving people. It's not surprising that tourists from the world over travel there. Groups such as Protector are a step in the right direction to educate the locals and tourists about the nature of the turtle's plight. I was glad to be a part of not only that, but helping in the scientific quest to decipher more about the behaviors of this charismatic animal."

Christi Linardich

Christi Linardich

 

Amy Tan 2012
Amy Tan  

 

Avril Williams 2012
  Avril

 

Robyn Reeve 2012
Robyn Reeve  

 

Ariana Cunningham 2012

"I feel that the research opportunity ProTECTOR Inc. gave me was one of the most unique experiences of my undergraduate carreer and I greatly enjoyed your leadership, program, subject matter, and fellow volunteers."

Ariana Cunningham

Link to project report and poster page

Ariana Cunningham

You can find more details the project Ariana was involved with by viewing her poster pdf here.

Ariana's honors thesis may be viewed in her pdf here.

Ariana's honors PowerPoint presentation is available as a pdf here.

 

Dustin Baumbach 2012

Dustin

"During the summer of 2012 I volunteered on both the North and South coasts of Honduras. On the north coast at Cuero Y Salado I helped in both beach profiling and turtle monitoring, which helped to first teach me about turtles and their natural habitat. This was my very first experience with turtle habitat and I found it to be very informative and helped to start building a basis for the types of habitat where turtles may nest. I then traveled to the south coast of Honduras to help out with the Olive Ridley veda. This was amazing because it was my first interaction with turtles and gave me several ideas to help develop my current Masters and future Doctorate research. I had such a fun time getting to observe hatchling swim patterns along with recording nesting female data, which I believe gave me a new passion for sea turtles in general."

Dustin Baumbach

 

Ken Lindsay 2012

"I have volunteered with several different sea turtle protection projects in Central America and the Caribbean over the past five years. My time spent in Honduras has been different from the other projects that I've been involved with. While many projects are just about data collection and have limited interaction with the local community, working with ProTECTOR Inc. one quickly becomes immersed in the community. We walked the beaches with the locals at night, working together with each turtle that was encountered. During the day we had plenty of interactions as well. We worked, talked and laughed often with the local people, who are very invested in the sea turtle egg protection project. I left feeling I had a good understanding of the community and of their daily lives. While life in remote Honduras is very different from home, the reward of knowing that I am helping turn the tide towards saving the Olive Ridley turtle in the Gulf of Fonseca, gives me the desire to return.

The other aspect of ProTECTOR Inc. that is different from other projects, is the quality of research that is taking place under Steve Dunbar's guidance. Steve and his students are asking new questions and seeking answers to currently unknown aspects of the sea turtle's life, with the hope of offering greater means of protection in the future. Steve was very willing to share the details of the projects with me, and made me feel that I was an integral part of the team."

Ken Lindsay

Ken

 

Christian Hayes 2013

Christian Hayes

 

"My time in Honduras this summer was, without a doubt, one of the most enlightening and formative experiences of my life. I spent a month on the southern coast of Honduras aiding Noemi Duran in her research and a variety of activities, including tagging turtles, teaching English to Honduran children, and setting up a children’s day celebration. At one point I even got to dress up in a turtle costume and help construct a turtle piñata for the kids. During my brief stay I also saw the abject poverty of some of the Honduran people and felt the pressing need for continued work in this area. The work being done in Honduras by ProTECTOR Inc. is truly a worthwhile cause that I look forward to continuing in the future."

Christian Hayes

 

Kyungje Sung 2013

"This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work as a ProTECTOR Inc. Volunteer and Undergraduate Research Student under Dr. Dunbar in the beautiful island of Utila . I worked with turtles to observe the effects of pollution on their movements, and collaborated with the dive shops on the island to collect turtle sightings data in and around Utila. Overall, it was a great experience! It was amazing to witness the hatchlings as they crawled to the ocean despite the many obstacles in their paths. I also had the chance to see see much of Utila; snorkeling with the many fish among the reefs that surround the island, and hiking through the various mangroves that teem with all kinds of critters. I would highly recommend to anyone to participate in such a wonderful program! "

Kyungje Sung

Kyungje Sung

You can find more details the project Kungjie was involved with by viewing her poster pdf here.

Kyungjie's honors thesis may be viewed in her pdf here.

 

Lelyn Castilo 2013
   

 

Liesl Cole 2013

"Working with the turtle hatchlings on Utila was a fantastic experience. The people at ProTECTOR Inc. and BICA: from Ana to the rotating cast of volunteers were helpful and interested in the improvement and protection of the turtles habitat. Getting a chance to live on a tropical island, dive and work with the hatchlings was wonderful." 

Liesl Cole

 

Samantha Serna 2013

Samantha Serna

"I just returned from a week long volunteer trip in Honduras with Dr. Steve Dunbar. This specific project involved conservation work with Olive Ridley turtles in the small community of El Venado, Choluteca, which lies along the Gulf of Fonseca. As I worked alongside Dr. Dunbar and the people of El Venado, I felt as though I was a welcomed part of the team. By day I enjoyed walking throughout the community, conversing with the adorable children, constructing items needed for the research, and reading/relaxing in the hammocks. By night we all walked the beautiful moonlit beach in search of turtles and nests. When we found one, we would tag the turtle, measure the turtle, collect the eggs, redeposit the eggs safely in the hatchery, and perform various other aspects of research. Dr. Dunbar operates in a manner true to his website's call for real volunteers. I was never a spectator to his work, rather I was warmly and eagerly welcomed as a "colleague." Dr. Dunbar invited me to join him in almost every aspect of the daily objectives and happenings. If you want a hands on experience with turtles and research you will not be disappointed. 

Dr. Dunbar was also an invaluable source of information on sea turtles, research practices, conservation, and Honduras in general. He has a wholistic understanding Honduras, as a country and people, which truly enriches his research and your experience as a volunteer. I left the country with a broader worldview and a much deeper understanding of the people, animals, politics, economics, and history of Honduras. Dr. Dunbar graciously answered question after question as I soaked up every bit of information I could; it is evident that he truly loves his work and is dedicated to understanding the country where he conducts his research. If you could imagine everything you might walk away with from an experience such as this, just know that in actuality it will far surpass your predictions and expectations. It did for me and I will never forget this experience!"

Samantha Serna

 

Gabriela Ochoa 2013
  Gabriela Ochoa

 

Marsha Wright 2014
Marsha Wright

"Working with the ProTECTOR Inc. organization over the past two months has truly been an eye opening experience. Not only was I able to spend time on the beautiful island of Roatan participating in marine research, but also I was able to meet new people and learn many life lessons through my interactions. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and would love to do it again."

Marsha Wright

 

Linda Baeza 2014

"My summer spent in Honduras was defiantly a once in a life time experience. I learned a great deal about myself and what I’m actually capable of accomplishing. On the island I was given the opportunity to learn how to scuba dive. With this new found skill I was able to assist two of the grad students with their research on the majestic hawksbill. Being able to observer these beautiful creatures pushed me to want to do more for them and other endangered species. I was also given the tasked of data collectionn from the dive shops on the island. This information was very helpful to us because it gave us a better idea which dive sites experienced a greater number of hawksbill sightings. We were also able to utilize a new program which helped us specifically identify almost every hawksbill we found on our dives. Overall, volunteering for Protector is something I will carry throughout my career and my life."

Linda Baeza

Linda Baeza

 

Rodney Smith 2014
Rodney Smith

"My time in Honduras working with the ProTECTOR Inc. beach monitoring on Utila was a great experience. The chance to experience a new culture and get experience in conservation while working with one of the ocean's coolest creatures was amazing. I wont say it was fun in the sun all the time but it was certainly a worthwhile experience. It opened my eyes to the need and difficulties of conservation in the world."

 

Rodney Smith

 

Selina Anaya 2015

"The short amount of time I spent on the island of Utila as a ProTECTOR Inc. Intern was an experience that I will never forget. Each day there, was full of new adventures and surprises that made me fall in love with the Island. During my stay I collected sand temperatures of a polluted area with different pollution densities. While collecting data, I was able to see a Hawksbill nest, which was an experience in itself. By the end of the trip I learned many things about myself, including my interest in Marine Biology. Overall, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to be a part of ProTECTOR Inc. and collect data that I hope will be useful for the protection and conservation of sea turtles.  A big thank you to Dr. Dunbar for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful program, I would love to do it again. "

Selina Anaya

Selina Anaya

 

Roberto Reyna 2015
Roberto Reyna

"My experience in Utila working as a ProTECTOR Inc. Intern was great! As an undergraduate biology major, getting to put my knowledge and skills to work in the field was a great payment after studying in the classroom for the past three years. I had the opportunity to practice my Spanish and get to meet great people on Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras! The science and work I put into my project while on the island were a big part of my trip, but another part was getting to experience the culture and interacting with scientists on the island. The trip was a blessing and has influenced me in such a way that now I will be pursuing my PhdD in biology! "

Roberto Reyna

 

Diana Espinoza 2015

"My time in Utila this summer with ProTECTOR Inc. is an experience I will never forget. Even though collecting data from local dive shops was a bit of a challenge, I was able to interact with people from different cultures that shared their passion for marine biology. The people were very friendly and helpful throughout our stay. Additionally, participating in the tagging of juvenile hawksbill sea turtles was an exciting experience, as well as witnessing the releasing of new hatchlings. Overall, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be part of the group of volunteers in ProTECTOR Inc. during the summer."

Diana Espinoza

Diana Espinoza

 

Sara Holloway 2015
Sara Holloway

"As I sit on the plane waiting for my departure, I decided it was time for me to write about my experience. I just finished six weeks of helping Loma Linda’ University graduate student, Dustin Baumbach, with his research in Roatan. We were stationed in West End, a touristy little town with white sand beaches, palm trees, and colorful stores along the street. But my trip was not a vacation, I was there to work. The plan was to study Hawksbill sea turtles through observation, capture, measurements, blood and tissue sampling, tagging, and of course finish off with releasing the turtles back into the wild.  But this plan didn't work out. Instead of daily diving in a picture perfect coral reef with lots of hands on experience with turtles, I had a front row seat in conservation conflict and resolution. I did get to observe and help tag a couple of turtles, but our diving was cut short due to some issues with permits and misunderstandings. Days before my departure, some important steps were taken in educating the local marine park and dive shops about the importance of doing research on the local population of sea turtles. Hopefully, soon a better understanding of the benefits of turtle research will affect the policies and values of the people involved with marine conservation in Roatan."

Sarah Holloway

 

Emily Manzano 2016

"My experience as an intern for ProTECTOR Inc. in Utila, Honduras was unforgettable. It was a great opportunity to learn about the nature of field research, its challenges and rewards, and to learn about a different culture, as well. It was incredible to share in the passion of local organizations and individuals for nature while monitoring the nesting beach and while sharing the purpose of my research with  new friends and strangers, alike. Having the opportunity to be so close to such beautiful creatures has given me a greater appreciation and sense of responsibility for our planet."

Emily Manzano

Emily Manzano

 

Ryan De La Garza 2016
Ryan De La Garza

Going to Honduras and doing research as a ProTECTOR Inc. Intern, was one of the best things I have ever done in my life.  I met lots of incredible people who enjoy working in the scientific field and made many new amazing friends among them.  The people in Honduras were so nice and always willing to help.  The research that I performed as an intern for ProTECTOR Inc. gave me the opportunity to branch out from classroom learning and execute scientific procedures with my own hands through field research; that’s an experience that is invaluable and I would encourage anyone to do the same. I have the utmost gratitude for those that I worked with and for ProTECTOR Inc. that gave me the opportunity to expand my education and perspectives through such an amazing experience.

Ryan De La Garza  

 

Daniel Trujillo 2016

"I really enjoyed being here, the turtles are some of the sweetest, loving creatures that I have ever met. My time diving was absolutely breath taking, Its an amazing thing to see all the things I've been studying right before me. I have plenty of gorgeous footage of these Hawlksbills. Overall my time in Roatan was life changing and I hope I can join the ProTECTOR Inc. Intern Team for further research in the future, maybe even as one of your students. Thanks to the ProTECTOR Inc. Internship Program for accepting me. I was thrilled with everything I got to do in the program."

Daniel Trujillo

Daniel Trujillo

 

Justin Cruz Le Duc 2016
Justin Cruz  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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