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Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

Teen Team

Welcome Letter

Dear Earthwatcher,
Welcome to the Puerto Ricos Rainforest expedition, part of the Las Casas de la Selva tropical rainforest enrichment and sustainable forestry project on the beautiful Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. When you join us this year, you will help the project staff assess the results of 25 years of research into the sustainable use of tropical rainforest land, and the impact of our forestry work on rainforest ecology. The December team will also help study our magnificent lizard and frog populations. The data collected will help us plan for the future, decide how to best expand our research, choose what to try next, and become better stewards of our rainforest biome. Youll participate in physically demanding research: hiking through beautiful tropical rainforests, sometimes climbing up steep hillsides and sometimes following fast-flowing rivers. The December team will have the chance to join a

night expedition into the forest to help count coqu frogs. In your recreational time, you will be able to enjoy hikes, take part in some forest-related craft activities, use the project library to learn more about the ecology of the area, or just relax and enjoy an area of the rainforest that very few other people have had a chance to visit (our site is well off the beaten track). In the afternoons youll return to comfortable accommodations, a hot shower, some presentations, fun and games, great meals, and magical evenings listening to the coqus calling throughout the night. We very much look forward to welcoming you here, Thrity (3t) Vakil, Mark Nelson, Norman Greenhawk, Jimena Forero Montaa, and Marta Edgar Earthwatch scientists And all the staff at Las Casas de la Selva

Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

Table of Contents
General Information 2 The Research  6 Your Destination  8 Daily Life in the Field 10 Accommodations and Food 12 Travel Planning  14 Travel Tips 16 Project Conditions 18 Safety  20 Project Staff 22 Recommended Reading 23 Participant Rights and Responsibilities  24 Communications 28 Message from Earthwatch 29

Images Earthwatch, Kate Young, Geordie Torr, David Croad, Kevin McAndrew, Robin Kimball

Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

General Information
Puerto Ricos Rainforest

Earthwatch Scientists: Thrity (3t) Vakil, Mark Nelson, Norman Greenhawk, Jimena Forero Montaa, and Marta Edgar Research Site: Las Casas de la Selva, Patillas, Puerto Rico

Expedition Dates:
Team 2 TEEN*: June 22 July 1, 2013

Rendezvous and departure information is available in the print version of the briefing only.

*Earthwatch Teen Teams are open to 15- to 18-year-olds (18-year-olds may participate if they finished their last year of high school in the previous school year). Participants on this team will receive a separate expedition briefing. 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds may also participate on standard teams if accompanied by a parent or guardian. See Volunteers Under 18 Years of Age (pg. 17) for traveling advice for minors.

Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

trip planner
 To do immediately  Book an appointment with a doctor; youll need him or her to sign the Health section of your Earthwatch Participation Form.  Make sure you understand and agree to Earthwatch policies and participant responsibilities (see pg. 24).  Book travel arrangements (see the Travel Planning section, pg. 14, for details).  If you plan to purchase additional travel insurance, note that some policies require purchase when your expedition is booked (see the Insurance section, pg. 21, for more information).  If traveling internationally, make sure your passport is current and obtain a visa for your destination country, if necessary (see the Passports and Visas section, pg. 17, for more details).  Make sure you have all the necessary vaccinations for your project site (see the Health Information section, pg. 20).  Bring your level of fitness up to the standards required (see the Project Conditions section, pg. 18).

90 days prior to expedition

Complete and return your volunteer forms. Below are the specific forms required for this expedition:  Earthwatch Participation Form for Teens Travel Form European volunteers can download forms on: U.S./North American volunteers can download forms at: Australian volunteers can download forms on: volunteer_forms/ Japanese volunteers can download forms on: formdownload-i.html Note: If you have signed up for an expedition within 90 days of the start date, you must return your fully completed volunteer forms as soon as possible.  Pay any outstanding balance for your expedition.

60 days prior to expedition

 Review the packing list (pg. 4) to make sure you have all the clothing, personal supplies, and equipment needed.

30 days prior to expedition

 Leave the Earthwatch 24-hour helpline number with a friend or relative (see the inside back cover).  Leave copies of your passport, visa, and airline tickets with a friend or relative. Confirm your travel arrangements.

Read this expedition briefing thoroughly. It provides the most accurate information available at the time of your Earthwatch scientists project planning, and will likely answer any questions you have about the project. However, please also keep in mind that research requires improvisation, and you may need to be flexible. Research plans evolve in response to new findings, as well as to unpredictable factors such as weather, equipment failure, and travel challenges. To enjoy your expedition to the fullest, remember to expect the unexpected, be tolerant of repetitive tasks, and try to find humor in difficult situations. If there are any major changes in the research plan or field logistics, Earthwatch will make every effort to keep you well informed before you go into the field.

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expedition packing checklist Required General

 This expedition briefing  Photocopies of your passport, flight itinerary, and credit cards in case the originals are lost or stolen; the copies should be packed separately from the original documents  Passport and/or visa (if necessary) Certification of vaccination (if necessary)  Documentation for travel by minors (if necessary) (see Volunteers Under 18 Years of Age in the Travel Tips section, pg. 17) Calling card/mobile phone (with international calling capabilities if applicable) Credit card that may be used (internationally, if applicable) in an emergency (travel delays, etc.) Earthwatch T-shirt  Strong, comfortable, well-worn-in hiking boots or shoes with good tread and good ankle support (synthetic materials that dry easily are preferable to leather, which may get moldy). Note: Participants without appropriate footwear will not be permitted to conduct fieldwork. Tennis shoes, sneakers, and rubber boots (e.g., Wellington, gumboots) are NOT suitable for hiking in the forest.  Lightweight, quick-drying, long-sleeved shirts (nylon or synthetic blend strongly recommended; long sleeves can protect from insect bites and scratches) At least three pairs of lightweight, quick-drying pants/trousers (nylon or synthetic blend strongly recommended) Warm sweatshirt (especially for winter teams, Nov. Feb.) At least eight pairs of socks (wool or synthetic hiking socks are best)  Rain gear (poncho or jacket, pants, and hood or hat)  Bandana(s) for neck protection against sun and insects

Clothing/Footwear for Fieldwork

Note: Please bring plenty of changes of clothing. It is very difficult to get clothing completely dry due to the high humidity and frequent rain.

Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

Clothing/Footwear for Leisure

At least one set of clothing to keep clean for end of expedition Hat with wide brim for sun protection

 Gaiters for hiking in the forest; highly recommended to help keep your pants, socks, and shoes clean and dry  Rain pants, especially for bird studies. Camera, film or memory card(s), extra camera battery Swimsuit Sandals  Drybag or plastic sealable bags (good for protecting equipment such as camera from dust, humidity, and water)

Field Supplies
 Insect repellent spray Headlamp (preferred) or flashlight/torch with extra batteries and extra bulb (essential) Working gloves, preferably heavy canvas type (very important)  Small daypack to carry personal water, lunch, etc.  Plastic container, e.g., Tupperware, for lunches At least two large water bottles able to hold at least one liter each (you will need to carry your fluids for the day)  Sunscreen lotion with SPF 30 or higher

Hardware for sharing digital photographs at the end of the expedition Travel guidebook  Books, games, journal, art supplies, etc. for free time Compass (if you have your own, please bring it)  Binoculars if you want to birdwatch Field guide  Large hip sack or waist pack for equipment Earplugs to block out the frog noise at night  Knee pads for nighttime frog studies (December team only)  Used books to donate to the project library for other travelers  Flip-flops for the showers  Pocket knife (remember to pack this in your checked luggage, not your carry-on bag)  Some duct tape (this is always handy, though a whole roll is not necessary)  Favorite snack food Note: Required, Recommended, and Optional lists are accurate to the best of Earthwatchs knowledge at the time of publication.

Bedding and Bathing

Note: Mattresses, sheets, and pillows will be provided.  Lightweight sleeping bag  Towel (we recommend a quick-drying pack towel from a camping store)

Personal Supplies
 Personal toiletries (biodegradable soaps and shampoos are encouraged) Antibacterial wipes or lotion (good for cleaning hands while in the field)  Personal first-aid kit (e.g., anti-diarrhea pills, antibiotics, antiseptic, itch-relief, pain reliever, bandages, blister covers, etc.) and personal medications Sunglasses

Spending money

Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

The Research
Puerto Ricos Rainforest

The Story
Each year, people cut down between three and six billion trees from the worlds forests, according to the UNs Food and Agriculture Organizationroughly the same as annually removing an area of trees the size of Ireland. We rely on these trees for timber, paper, and other wood products and the space they leave behind for raising livestock and cultivating crops. Humans have extensively disturbed most of Puerto Ricos forests over the last few centuries, traditionally by using them for agriculture, coffee plantations, and pastures. As standards of living have risen and reliance on farming has lessened, wood has increasingly been harvested for fires and charcoal. Most recently, as more people move to cities, urban sprawl threatens forest landscapes. The most marginal of already

harvested lands have reverted to secondary forestthat is, they have grown over with a second generation of treesand remain untended and unmanaged until it proves profitable to exploit them again for timber, fuel, or agriculture. If we want to keep using forests in Puerto Rico and globally, we must understand their ecologyin other words, how all of the organisms that live within them coexist. Ecological research can lead to the development of smart management plans, which will help us preserve the forests for the future even as we continue to harvest the trees and use the cleared land. In the case of Puerto Rico, ecologically sound management plans can also contribute significantly to the islands economy.

Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

Research Aims
This project takes place on 409 hectares (about 1.5 square miles) of rainforest, which contain some of the steepest slopes and most diverse ecology in the mountains of southeastern Puerto Rico. Youll mostly work in old secondary forest dominated by the tabonuco tree, a majestic species with smooth, pale bark that can grow up to about 100 feet (30 meters) tall. As an Earthwatch participant, youll join up with the Las Casas de la Selva program, established in 1983 as an experimental research project. We at Las Casas have created an approach to profiting from a rainforest environment without diminishing its species richness, biological diversity, or total biomass (the mass of all living organisms in the forest). Most other rainforest researchers work in mature rainforests, so our focus on secondary growth forest is especially important. The area around our base is particularly well suited for studying these questions because it has been dramatically impacted by humans. People have cleared much secondary rainforest to accommodate agriculture and livestock grazing, and because much of the land slopes steeply, it erodes severely once cleared of plants. Unless local farmers heavily apply chemical fertilizers to this nutrient-depleted land, their crop yield is poor. At this project, were testing the viability of line-planting enrichment (interplanting tree species in already growing forest) on this same land, which is clearly unfit for longterm agricultural use. Were looking not just at the health of the enriched forest, but also at how this planting impacts the diversity and abundance of local reptiles and amphibians, in particular the coqu, a nocturnal frog. If our results prove successful, we hope to encourage similar forest-regenerating practices throughout Puerto Rico. New research components for 2013 include planting tree species native to Puerto Rico as part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife program to enhance the habitat for endangered flora and fauna. Well also begin a bird census to establish an baseline understanding of which avian species use the forest. Already, the data collected with the help of Earthwatch volunteers have led us to implement new landmanagement plans and figure out how to direct our future research studies. The Las Casas project, with the contribution Earthwatchers like you have made, has become a living demonstration of new models for forest management in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

How You Will Help

Because were looking at the health of the whole rainforest ecosystem, youll experience a rich array of research activities. Youll generally get to work on four or five different studies during your stay, which may include:
 Monitoring the development of the line-planted areas

to measure the impacts on economic viability, tree density, and tree growth at later stages of their growth cycle. liberation thinning (trimming older trees from the canopy so that younger trees can thrive) on maturation and volume of tree crops in secondary forest areas. Wildlife program. census.

 Measuring trees to assess the effectiveness of

 Planting native tree species as part of a U.S. Fish and  Counting and observing birds as part of a baseline

Specifically, youll help with the following activities:

When we establish new tree study plots with new tree seedlings or other plants, youll label each plant and map its location in the plot on a reference grid. Youll also help map our study areas and enter data. For the coqu and anole studies (December team only), you will help locate animals in their habitats; identify them; capture, measure, and determine the sex of frogs; and measure the lizard or frog abundance and diversity within the areas we are covering. Youll also record data on the weather. We can usually accommodate volunteers with a range of physical abilities and stamina. For instance, if you dont feel comfortable hiking at night, you can simply participate in other aspects of the study. But at minimum, you must be able to walk or hike often muddy and rugged terrain without difficulty or assistance. Inclement weather conditions can make certain activities hazardous and, in some cases, prevent proper data from being collected. In this challenging research environment, we take pleasure when our volunteers overcome challenges and open themselves up to the joy of the outdoor life. We look forward to welcoming you into the ranks of our volunteers and introducing you the truly stunning Puerto Rican rainforest.

Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

Your Destination
About Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is the smallest and most easterly of the four islands that comprise the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The Las Casas de la Selva forest, located in the region of Patillas on the southeastern side of the island, is near the wilds of El Yunque National Forest, beautiful beaches, and major commercial centers (its about two hours by car from San Juan International Airport). Since the 1930s, Puerto Rico has become increasingly industrial and urban as the production of coffee and sugar cane has declined. This cultural and agricultural shift spurred what many consider the largest forest recovery event in the world, proportionate to total land areaas people and companies stopped using Puerto Ricos land for agriculture, the forest reclaimed it. Forestprimarily young secondary growthcurrently covers nearly 60% of the island. In part because of its rich rainforest habitats, Puerto Rico has become an increasingly popular tourist

destination, which has inspired more locals to take an interest in preserving the islands natural resources. The El Yunque National Forest, the most-visited rainforest in the Caribbean, also happens to be the only tropical forest in the U.S. National Forest system. The island also has outstanding examples of tropical karst (limestone geological formations) and one of the largest river cave systems in the western hemisphere. As an official territory of the U.S., Puerto Rico has a blend of typical American commercial traits (fast food, large chain retail stores, etc.) with its Hispanic culture. Salsa, bachata, and reggaeton (a Puerto Rican original) are all popular. In the mountain area where youll stay as an Earthwatch volunteer, lechonerassmall restaurants that serve spit-roasted pig along with various other Puerto Rican dishesare very popular on the weekends; it is normally very quiet during the week, so you can fall asleep to the sound of coqu frogs singing from the trees.

Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013


Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

Daily Life in the Field

Plans and Policies
When you arrive,the Earthwatch scientists will present on rainforest ecology, the effects of human intervention on the ecosystem, and the global importance of rainforests. You will also get a site orientation and safety talk. During the week, staff members will introduce you to the most common plant, lizard, amphibian, and bird species in our forest, and teach you about biodiversity in Puerto Rico. Well also train you on taking measurements, recording data, and identifying various species. For the bird studies, youll learn about the following aspects of the species:
 General characteristics and how to distinguish species  Ecological and cultural importance  Natural history (e.g., their calls, reproductive habits,

Recreational time: Well organize optional Sundayafternoon excursions (when possible) to our local town, Guavate, for barbecue, music, and dancing, or to the beach in the town of Patillas. On one day, well plan a trip to Old San Juan, the district of the islands capital containing old colonial buildings and fortresses, as well as museums, shopping, bars, and restaurants. Please prepare to pay approximately US$150 to cover entrance fees or day passes and meals out during the day. At the end of a work period, you can relax, enjoy our library, take a walk to a river, and generally take in the ambiance of the forest.

predators, prey, and habitat) and how we can help them collection

 Why some are endangered, threatened, or declining  Field methods for monitoring animals and data

Staff members will give evening presentations on topics related to the project and their other ecological research.

Earthwatch Recreational Time Policy

Earthwatch will accompany teen participants from the rendezvous to the end of the expedition. If there is a recreational day during the expedition, the project staff and/or Teen Team facilitator will supervise a planned team activity or a small choice of supervised recreational activities that have been vetted and comply with Earthwatch standards. You will also have the option of remaining at the project accommodations to rest, provided supervision is possible.


Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013


Weather and research needs can lead to changes in the daily schedule. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

Day 1: Meet and drive to the site; orientation; settle in and introductions; dinner; presentation over dessert. Days 24:
7:30 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 8:30noon Noon 12:303:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m. 6:30 p.m. Rise, eat breakfast, and prepare a packed lunch Depart for the research site by foot Fieldwork and data recording Break for lunch Fieldwork and data recording Return to house; input data and recreational time Dinner, followed by staff or volunteer presentations

Some mornings per team, a few volunteers at a time can take part in a bird census in place of morning tree fieldwork. The likely schedule is: 4:30 a.m. 5:00 a.m. 5:3011:00 a.m. 11: 30 a.m. Gather at the homestead; prepare equipment and a snack Depart for the study site Data collection Return to the homestead in time for lunch

Day 5
Recreational Day: Trip to Old San Juan.

Days 69
The schedule will be the same as on Days 24, with an added closing celebration and bonfire at 7:30 on Day 9 (subject to weather).

Day 10
7:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 10:00 a.m. Breakfast Homestead cleanup (will involve cleaning bathrooms, showers, and common areas), final packing Group photo Bus arrives, departure for San Juan International Airport

Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013


Accommodations and Food

About Your Home in the Field

Youll stay in our bunkhouses or in large tents on platforms, protected by roofs that keep the camping area dry; both bunkhouses and tents are near Casa de la Selvas main house. The bunkhouses accommodate ten each. If sleeping in a tent, youll either stay alone or with another person of the same gender, depending on the number of volunteers. If you have a preference for one or the other sleeping area, well do our best to accommodate you, but arrangements will depend on the number and gender of volunteers. We provide mattresses, sheets, and pillows for both the tents and the bunkhouse; however, please bring your own lightweight sleeping bag, as the evenings can get chilly (although it is in the tropics, the project site is in the mountains and can be considerably cooler at night than at lower elevations). Although we provide tents, you may bring and pitch your own if you wish.

Bathroom Facilities
There is a shower block (pictured on the next page) with four showers that have hot and cold running water, along with two toilets.

The area has frequent power failure during heavy rains, and we have a small generator for essential use only on site. Candlelight dinners are a frequent occurrence. Unless you absolutely must bring electronic devices, we dont recommend that you do; if you do, please remember that humidity can damage your electronic equipment and that the power is irregular.

Internet and Other Communications

There may be some limited cell phone reception and possible access to pay phones, but please be prepared to do without phones and email during your stay. The project site has high-speed Internet service with a wireless connection, but capacity for the researchers is limited, and you are not guaranteed access to email. We discourage volunteers from bringing their own laptops, as the humidity and rain create a high risk of damage. We strongly encourage you to tell friends that youll be out of


Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

communication during your stay, except for an emergency. Finally, please bring headphones if you would like to listen to your personal radio or mp3 player outside of research time.

The project has many great chefs on staff, and youll have the opportunity to sample Caribbean cooking and other diverse cuisines. Local fruits, vegetables, and seasonal greens from the garden will be used whenever possible. Three volunteers will be asked to assist with meal preparation and clean-up after each breakfast and dinner. Below are examples of the foods you might expect in the field. Variety depends on availability, and while this list provides a general idea of food types, please be flexible. Breakfast: Cereal, eggs, pancakes, toast, fruit, oatmeal, coffee, and tea Lunch: Sandwiches (youll make your own from a choice of cheeses, cold meats, tuna, salad items, etc.), fruit, trail mix Dinner: Puerto Rican-style rice and beans, pasta dishes, salads, meat and vegetarian options Snacks/Other: Dessert: fruit, pastries, cakes Beverages: Juice, water, coffee, a variety of black and garden herbal teas Water: Filtered river water and bottled water

Facilities and Amenities

The small main building has a library and office and a kitchen area that is open on one side. A long roof attached to this building covers an open-air dining area. You can access the dining area at all hours of the day; there, you can relax in one of the hammocks, read a book, or play cards at the table. We have limited refrigerator space, but it is available to volunteers who must bring items that need refrigeration (e.g., medications). You do not need to bring food items unless you have dietary restrictions. We advise that you bring enough clothing so that you will not need to wash clothes during the expedition. Due to the expense of running the washing machine, we generally dont allow volunteers to use it, unless the expedition has been particularly muddy. Also, we dont have a dryer, which means that any washed clothes will probably sit on the clothes line, wet, for the remainder of the expedition.

Distance from the Field Site

Generally, we can walk to all sites within two hours; some are very close, and most are within a half-hour walk. However, for the hikes into the valleys, be prepared to hike for several hours.

Special Dietary Requirements

Please alert Earthwatch to any special dietary requirements (e.g., diabetes, lactose intolerance, nut or other food allergies, vegetarian or vegan) as soon as possible, and note them in the space provided on your volunteer forms. Accommodating special diets is not guaranteed. Vegetarian and vegan diets can be accommodated on site, but when we are off site, it may be difficult to find food free of animal products. If this is an issue, you are encouraged to bring some snacks from home. You can also make sandwiches at the project site to bring with you when we go out.

The project is isolated, and there are no restaurants or services within walking distance.

Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013


Travel Planning
Rendezvous and Departure Information
The rendezvous and departure information for this project has been removed from this web version of the expedition briefing. It is only available in the printed version of the briefing. Please do not make any travel arrangements to join an expedition without having full and up-to-date travel information from Earthwatch. Full rendezvous details, including places and times are available from Earthwatch upon request prior to registration for an expedition. Please use the Contact Us button on the top right-hand corner of the website to get in touch with an Earthwatch representative, who will be very happy to help you.


Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

Travel Tips
Suggestions for the Road
Lost and delayed luggage:
If your luggage goes astray, please have the airline deliver it to: Las Casas de la Selva, Route 184, Km 15.9, Patillas, Puerto Rico, 00723 Phone: 787-329-7761 Please direct the airline personnel to call the project ahead of time, so that someone can meet the driver at the gate to retrieve the luggage; otherwise, the driver will drive from the airport to the other side of the island, only to find a locked gate. General considerations: Do not bring more luggage than you can carry and handle on your own. If traveling by air and checking your luggage, we advise you to pack an extra set of field clothing and personal essentials in your carry-on bag in case your luggage is lost or delayed. Many airlines have strict baggage policies. Please check with your airline(s) on baggage weight limits, liquid restrictions, fees for checked baggage, etc. Transferring luggage: If you will be taking an international flight that has one or more connections within the country of your destination, you must collect any checked bags at the airport where you first arrive in the destination country. After proceeding through customs, you will have to recheck your luggage before flying on to your final destination.

Your Destination
Language: The official languages of Puerto Rico are Spanish and English (Puerto Rico is a part of the United States of America). The project will be conducted in English. Most Puerto Ricans speak both Spanish and English. Most Puerto Ricans like to meet visitors with at least remedial Spanish-speaking abilities; this is NOT at all required, but merely a cultural nicety. Electricity: 120 volts, 60 Hz, standard U.S. two-prong, flat pin plug. Plugs are two flat parallel prongs or two flat parallel prongs and one cylindrical grounding prong. For additional information, see

Time zone: GMT/UTC -4. For time worldwide with GMT/ UTC, see Telephone dialing codes: When calling Puerto Rico. from another country, dial that countrys international dialing code, followed by (1) and the number. When calling within Puerto Rico, you will still need to dial (1). When calling another country from Puerto Rico, dial (011), followed by the other countrys country code and the number. NOTE: Check with your cell phone provider to obtain any carrierspecific dialing codes you may need; many providers have dialing procedures that may differ in whole or in part from these directions. For additional information, see www.

Money Matters
Local currency: U.S. dollar Personal funds: The airport has ATMs and moneychanging facilities, but bank services and ATMs will not be available at the research site. ATMs are also available during the day out, but not during the evening out in Guavate. You wont be able to use travelers checks or credit cards at the research site. Therefore, bring some cash in U.S. dollars to purchase drinks and snacks, and for entrance fees for recreational activities (at least US$200 is recommended) during the expedition. Workers will expect to be tipped according to the following: restaurant staff (15-20%), taxi drivers (15-20%), and porters at the airport (at least $1 per bag).

Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013


PASSPORTS AND VISAS Will You Need a Passport?

Travelers to the United States from other countries will need passports valid for at least six months beyond the dates of travel. Note that as of January 2007, under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, all citizens of U.S. dependencies and Canada will be required to present a passport when traveling to and from the Americas, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the U.S. (previously only required to present proof of citizenship).

Suggested Agencies
In the U.S.: Travisa; 212-613-2223; In Europe: CIBT, Inc. (U.K/);; www. In Australia: Ask your travel agency if it can send your visa application on your behalf. Required information: You will need to send your passport (valid for at least six months beyond your stay), a visa application and immigration form, two to four passport-size photos, and payment to the embassy or visa agency (if applicable). Please be sure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your stay. Contact information: You may be required to list the following contact information on your visa application and immigration form: Thrity Vakil Las Casas de la Selva, Tropic Ventures, HC 63 Box 3879, Patillas, Puerto Rico, 00723-9643 786 329 7761 Cost of a visa: Generally between US$40 and $100, but varies from country to country and can cost up to US$180. A visa agency will charge an additional fee.

Will You Need a Visa?

Citizens of the U.K., EU, Australia, Canada, and Japan DO NOT need tourist visas for entry. Citizens of other countries should check with their travel agent or a visa agency for specific visa and entry requirements.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

ESTA screens short-term visitors who are citizens of the 36 countries eligible for the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). For a list of those countries, see gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html#countries. Visitors are required to complete ESTA at least three days before traveling to the U.S. Once approved, the authorization is valid for up to two years if the individuals passport does not expire in the meantime. Submit applications through the ESTA website: https://esta.cbp. As of publication, ESTA costs US$14.00. Citizens of countries covered by the VWP traveling to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less do not need to obtain a visa provided they have a valid passport (for exceptions see VWP-QuickReferenceGuide.pdf).

Volunteers Under 18 Years of Age

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have procedures at entry and exit points to protect minors. Thus, if a minor will be traveling with only one guardian or alone, he or she may need a notarized letter from all legal guardians stating that the minor may travel unaccompanied or in the presence of a single guardian. If necessary, this letter must give an explanation for why only one parent or someone other than a parent is signing the letter. For example, if one parent is deceased, only one parent has legal guardianship, or someone other than the parents are legal guardians, the letter should state that. Airlines may also have documentation requirements for unaccompanied minors, e.g., a birth certificate or a notarized letter like the one described above. Important: Requirements of specific countries and airlines vary and change frequently. You must keep informed of the requirements on your own to avoid problems at immigration. If the minor is refused entry into a country or onto a flight because of lack of documentation, there is nothing Earthwatch can do to help.

Information for Volunteers Requiring Visas ONLY

Type of visa to get: TOURIST The purpose of your visit is for vacation, holiday or travel. Immigration officials do not always understand the concept of a working vacation or volunteering. Words such as working, volunteering, research, or scientific expedition can raise questions concerning the countrys foreign labor laws and about official scientific research permits and credentials, etc., to which volunteers will not be equipped to respond on their own. All required research permits for the project are in place and have been approved by the proper authorities. Where to get a Visa: Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to find out how to apply. This process can take weeks or even months. We strongly recommend using a visa agency, which can expedite and simplify the process.


Puerto Ricos Rainforest 2013

Project Conditions
The Field Environment
Please show this section to a doctor when he/she is completing the Health section of your Earthwatch Participation Form. Be sure to discuss vaccination requirements with the doctor well in advance of your departure date. See the Health Information section (pg. 20) for vaccination information. To the doctor: This patient has volunteered to join a field research team that has specific physical demands of which you and the patient should be aware. We need your accurate evaluation of this patients ability to meet the conditions detailed below in order to care for his or her health and safety, and to assess that he or she can participate fully and effectively.

Eligibility Criteria
All participants must be able, independently or with the assistance of a companion, to:  Follow verbal and/or visual instructions. Wear all protective equipment recommended or required by industry standards. Enjoy being outdoors all day in all types of weather and in the potential presence of wild animals and insects. Endure tropical (hot and humid) work conditions.  Negotiate steep slopes in densely wooded forest on uneven, muddy terrain up to five miles a day.  Be comfortable living in and moving between remote study sites.

General Conditions
The information that follows is as accurate as possible, but please keep in mind that conditions may change. The forest flora varies greatly from area to area. Areas with large, mature trees have relatively thin undergrowth and are easy to work in. Areas that have been severely disturbed due to landslides or tree-fall may have thick undergrowth with sharp razor grass. The humidity can be high, especially in the summer, but as the site is at a relatively high elevation, there is generally a breeze and conditions rarely get unbearably hot and sticky. For the most part, the tree canopy will shade you. June to November is hurricane season in Puerto Rico. The terrain ranges from very narrow ridge tops, down generally convex upper slopes and concave mid and lower slopes (generally 30 to 45 degrees in slope), to fast-running perennial streams.

Humidity: High (up to 99%), especially in the summer months Average Temperature: 23C/73F Altitude: 600610 m / 1,970 2,000 ft Average Rainfall: 3,000 mm / 118 in

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Hazard Type Transportation Associated Risks and Precautions A professional bus company that also runs the local school buses will transport volunteers. Drivers in Puerto Rico do not follow all Western standards, and large buses dont have seatbelts. Volunteers are not permitted to drive, and seatbelts, when available, must be worn at all times. The main forest road is relatively even and well maintained. Once off the road and in the forest, there is increased risk of slipping, falling, and injuring yourself due to uneven and frequently muddy terrain. The steep slopes on which the team will work can be slippery in wet weather. Risks will be discussed with the group before going into a particular area of the forest. The best way to prevent injuries of this manner is to walk slowly and pay careful attention to your surroundings. Be prepared to get very muddy and be aware that you may have to crawl up slopes or slide down them. This does not require a great deal of acrobatics but, rather, a willingness to get dirty. Proper footwearhiking boots with good tread and ankle supportis essential; volunteers who do not have adequate footwear will not be permitted to join the team at the study sites. There are non-aggressive bees and wasps in the forest. Those who know they are allergic to bee or wasp stings must carry the appropriate medication (antihistamines, at least two EpiPens, etc.) just in case. Mosquitoes and midges are also present but not in large numbers. There is no malaria in Puerto Rico, but dengue fever is common (see the Safety section, pg. 20, for more information). The best protection are long sleeves, socks, long pants, and mosquito repellent. The forest has razor grass, which is why long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and gloves are important. There are also stinging nettles and plants that contain toxic sap. These will be pointed out so they can be avoided. Walk carefully and pay attention to your surrounding at all times. Climate/Weather There may be high humidity and heavy rain, so you should bring good raingear and quickdrying clothing. The sun is very strong in the Caribbean, so use sunscreen lotion with high SPF protection and appropriate clothing (wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves, sunglasses, etc.) if you visit the beach during your stay in Puerto Rico. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. Because of the high humidity, persons using a hearing aid may find it doesnt work properly. You should consider purchasing a hearing aid dehumidifier. June to November is hurricane season. In the event of an approaching hurricane, we will take you to a place of safety, either a hotel near the airport or, if time does not permit, a local hurricane shelter. In the event of inclement weather, heed staff instruction without fail. Project Tasks/ Equipment Some project tasks may result in slightly increased risk, mainly due to the area of the forest being studied. Any risks will be assessed on a day-to-day basis. Staff will inform the team of all risks and risk prevention for all areas and tasks before entering each area. Always pay attention to your surroundings and heed staff instructions.



Personal Security The site is reasonably secure and there is always staff on site at the homestead so theft is not a common concern. However, it is always best practice to leave any unnecessary valuables at home. In addition, you are encouraged not to bring any high-value equipment, especially electronic equipment, as the high humidity can damage it. Swimming Swimming may be possible during recreational time, and typical water-related risks will be present. Teen team volunteers are not permitted to swim if a certified lifeguard is not present. The team may visit a local beach during the recreational day, and there are also swimming holes or shallow, slow-moving rivers on and off site for swimming. These holes are not deep enough to dive into; doing so may result in serious injury. Participants must swim in pairs or groups and inform staff where and when youll be swimming. Swimming is not permitted at night, alone, or if the project staff considers water conditions unsafe.


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Health Information
Routine Immunizations
All volunteers should have the following up-to-date immunizations: DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus), polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), and varicella (if you have not already had chicken pox). Please be sure your tetanus shot is current. Medical decisions are the responsibility of each volunteer and his or her doctor, and the following are recommendations only. Earthwatch can only provide details regarding suggested vaccinations, and we are not a medical organization.

Emergencies in the Field

Minor injuries will be treated on site. All staff members are first-aid certified. Major injuries will involve a car ride to the nearest hospital, 40 minutes away from the project site. The project vehicle is always on site when volunteers are on expeditions in the field. The project vehicle may not always be available when volunteers are not in the field and are resting at the homestead. In the event of an exceptionally serious major bodily injury, where the injured cannot be moved and carried out, an ambulance will be called by telephone after first aid is administered. In the case of a personal emergency that requires early departure, the project staff will assist in helping the participant get to the airport. All transportation and any other fees will be paid for by the participant. Physician, nurse, or EMT on staff: Project staff members are not medical professionals.

Project Vaccinations
REQUIRED: If traveling from countries or region where yellow fever is endemic, you must have a certificate of vaccination. RECOMMENDED FOR HEALTH REASONS: Hepatitis A, hepatitis B

Staff certified in safety training:

CPR: 3t Vakil, Andres Rua, Norman Greenhawk First Aid: 3t Vakil, Andres Rua, Norman Greenhawk Wilderness First Responder: 3t Vakil Water Safety: Norman Greenhawk

Advice Regarding Diseases

Travelers diarrhea affects many international travelers. Diseases found in Puerto Rico include dengue fever, leptospirosis, and typhoid. Please see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( or the World Health Organization ( ) websites for more information on these conditions and how to avoid them. You can decrease your risk of most diseases above by avoiding mosquito bites, practicing good hygiene, and drinking only bottled or filtered water when appropriate. If you feel ill once you return from your trip, make sure you inform your doctor that you have recently returned from a tropical region. A few notes on vaccinations and treatment:
Malaria: Currently, malaria is not an issue in Puerto

Nearest hospital and clinic:

Patillas Clinic (for minor emergencies)
Route 3, Patillas Puerto Rico, PR 00723 Tel: +1 (787) 839-4772 Approximately 40-minute drive

Hospital Episcopal San Lucas Guayama (major emergencies)

Avenue Pedro Albesus, Guayama Puerto Rico, PR 00784 Tel: +1 (787) 864-4300 Approximately 40-minute drive


Tuberculosis: Volunteers returning from developing

countries may wish to have a (PPD)-tuberculin skin-test to screen for potential infection.

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MedEvac assistance, advice, and insurance are included in the contribution you pay to Earthwatch. The insurance covers your travel medical risks, including medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation, while you are traveling. It also provides trip cancellation insurance and baggage and personal money insurance. It doesnt provide personal liability insurance. This coverage is valid in the country of your Earthwatch expedition and during travel to and from your expedition. Note: For U.S. volunteers, the coverage is valid only when the expedition is over 100 miles from your place of residence. For Australia volunteers, the coverage is limited if the expedition is less than 50 kilometers from your place of residence. This insurance policy is secondary to your existing health insurance policy (e.g., NHS in the U.K., Medicare in Australia). Because of different governing laws in each country, policies are specific to each regional Earthwatch office. Please check with your sign up office about your insurance coverage. If you signed up through Earthwatch U.K. or Earthwatch Japan, visit:

If you signed up through Earthwatch U.S., visit: www. If you signed up through the U.K., U.S., or Japan: If you have additional vacation time before and/or after your Earthwatch expedition that forms part of your overall time away from your place of residence, this additional vacation time is not covered under this policy. If you signed up through Earthwatch Australia, visit: www. or contact Earthwatch Australia. Please refer any queries regarding Earthwatchs policy to Earthwatchs Operations Department at 978-450-1222 or

Emergency Medical and Evacuation Assistance

Emergency medical and evacuation assistance from CEGA Medical, a 24-hour international service, is also included in your contribution. Please see the contact information in the Medical and Security Assistance Helpline Numbers section on the inside back cover. You can also call CEGA for non-emergency information before your trip, such as advice on visas and vaccine requirements.


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Project Staff
Your Resources in the Field
Thrity 3t Vakil, the president of Tropic Ventures Education & Research Foundation, has worked in this rainforest for over a decade. Along with managing volunteer youth groups and all Earthwatch expeditions, she has a hand in every aspect of forestry, including tree and vine identification and research; selection of trees for harvest; logging and sawing operations; and marketing and selling of sustainably grown and harvested wood, wood products, and non-wood forest products. Born in Kenya, she has always been an avid explorer of nature, and her travels have taken her all over the world. She is also an accomplished painter, a web and graphic designer, a documentarian, and a photographer. All Teams

Andrs Ra Gonzlez, director of technical systems at the project, hails from Marin Bajo in Patillas, Puerto Rico. A qualified chainsaw operator, he manages tree-felling operations, hauling, and milling wood. He is also a fine woodworker, a proficient tractor driver, a skilled electrician, an organic gardener, and a talented composer and musician. He has worked with all Earthwatch groups since 2005, has led many other volunteer youth groups, and has involved Las Casas de la Selva in many community and environmental projects. Andrs also organized a complex event to clean up the reservoir of Lake Patillas, calling hundreds of local people to action. All Teams

An Earthwatch Teen Team facilitator will be with your team from the time you step off the plane for the rendezvous to the end of the expedition. If you have any questions or problems during your expedition, such as issues with another volunteer, homesickness, or an emergency back at home, please talking to your facilitator. Also follow the advice and expectations set by your facilitator regarding safety and personal conduct. All Teen Team facilitators have experience teaching and leading groups of teenagers and are familiar with the team dynamics necessary to make each expedition a success. Remember, your facilitator is there for you! (Teen: Facilitator ratio: approx. 6:1) Note: These staff members are all scheduled to be present on your expedition. Some staff schedules may be subject to change.

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Recommended Reading
Your Resources at Home
resources Ecology and the Tropical Rainforest
 Pearce, Fred. Deep Jungle. New York: Eden Project

Puerto Rico
 Balletto, Barbara. Insight Guide: Puerto Rico. 3rd ed.

Books. 2005.

London: Apa, 2000.

 Vandermerr, John, and Ivette Perfecto. Breakfast

of Diversity: The Political Ecology of Rain Forest Destruction. Oakland: Food First Books, 2005. New York: Scribner, 1987.

 Marino, John. Puerto Rico: Off the Beaten Path. 2nd

ed. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot, 2002. Australia: Lonely Planet, 1999.

 Forsyth, Adrian, and Kenneth Miyata. Tropical Nature.  Kricher, John. A Neotropical Companion: An

 Peffer, Randall. Lonely Planet: Puerto Rico. Victoria,  Pitzer, Kurt and Tara Stevens. Adventure Guide to

Introduction to the Animals, Plants, and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics. 2nd ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Puerto Rico. 4th ed. New York: Hunter, 2001.

Project Field Report

Each Earthwatch-supported project submits a report on past research and results. The most recent field report for this project is available online at FieldReportPDF/Nelson_FieldReport2010.pdf. Note that reports are not available for all projects.

Deforestation and Sustainable Forest Management

 Wadsworth, H. Frank. Forest Production for Tropical

America. USDA Forest Service, 1997.

 Jenkins, B. Michael, and Emily T. Smith. The Business

Earthwatchs Volunteer Resources

Please see Earthwatchs Volunteer Resources pages for additional information on:
 Travel agencies with whom Earthwatch volunteers

of Sustainable Forestry. Chicago: Island Press, 1999.

 Anderson, Anthony B., ed. Alternatives to

Deforestation. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. and Our Future. New York: W.W. Norton, 1992.

can get preferential rates

 Myers, Norman.The Primary Source: Tropical Forests

 Recommended kit and clothing providers  Recommended travel booksellers

The Global Situation of Tropical Rainforests

 Caulfield, Catherine. In the Rainforest: Report from

Volunteers who sign up through our US office, visit: Volunteers who sign up through our UK office, visit: Social media: Find Earthwatch on Facebook at www., follow us on Twitter @ earthwatch_org, and see videos of many Earthwatch expeditions on YouTube at earthwatchinstitute. If youre on Twitter, use the hashtag #globaltweet when in the field with Earthwatch to help literally put your work on the map of worldwide volunteering efforts. We also invite you to use the Facebook and TurnTo plug-in features right on our websites expedition pages to connect with other volunteers and staff.

a Strange, Beautiful, Imperiled World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Handbook. Boston: Beacon Press, 1990.

 Carson, Walter H., ed. The Global Ecology  Gradwohl, Judith, and Russell Greenberg. Saving the  Head, Suzanne and Robert Heinzman, eds. Lessons

Tropical Forests. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1988.

of the Rainforest. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1990.


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Participant Rights and Responsibilities

This document contains important information concerning Earthwatch Institute policies and participant rights and responsibilities for inclusion in an Earthwatch expedition. Please read this document thoroughly and sign the Liability Release section of your Earthwatch Participation Form to indicate that you understand and accept the risks inherent to your expedition and the policies, rights, and responsibilities enumerated in this document. You will not be permitted to participate in an expedition until Earthwatch has received the signed release form. law and respects participants right to privacy. However, you must be aware that local laws in countries in which Earthwatch operates may not be antidiscriminatory and that the possibility exists that local residents may not have an awareness of preferred practice regarding discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation will not be tolerated on Earthwatch teams. Disruptive behavior or verbal, physical, or any other type of abuse or harassment will also not be tolerated. Violation of Earthwatchs nondiscrimination policy is grounds for expulsion from the program without a refund.

Intellectual Property Rights

It is permissible to share photos, videos, and stories of your expedition with family, friends, local media, and in a public forum. Sharing your new perspectives and experiences is welcomed and encouraged. However, please recognize that all information, data, and images shared or gathered in the course of your expeditions field work become the intellectual property of the Earthwatch scientist. Co-opting or plagiarism of data, images, or information gathered during an expedition for use in a scientific thesis, masters, or PhD work, or for profit or for the academic or business use of a third party without the permission of the Earthwatch scientist is strictly prohibited. Please be aware that data gathered during the interviewing of local people become the intellectual property of the Earthwatch scientist. Earthwatch scientists have the right to place additional restrictions on your ability to share data or certain research-related images. Conversely, an Earthwatch scientist may give written permission to use data and images for academic or profitable activity. Please be sure to ask what is acceptable to the Earthwatch scientist. Fellows or scholarship recipients are sometimes required to submit a written report reflecting what they have learned on a project, sometimes as a step toward developing a curriculum. Earthwatch scientists have the right but not the obligation to review and edit materials involving information gathered on one of their expeditions.

Intimate relationships
Earthwatch scientists, their staff, their colleagues, and their associates are prohibited from becoming romantically involved with participants during the entire duration of the period that the team is in the field. Romantic relationships that may otherwise seem permissible may eventually create an unpleasant or unproductive work environment and are therefore prohibited for the duration of an Earthwatch project.

Sexual Harassment
Please recognize that the relationship that exists between Earthwatch scientists and staff and participants is analogous to the student-teacher relationship. Therefore, please be aware of the following policies. Sexual harassment of participants by the Earthwatch scientist or Earthwatch staff is prohibited. Likewise, sexual harassment of other participants, Earthwatch field staff, or local people by participants is also prohibited. Sexual harassment infringes on an individuals right to an environment free from unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtones of conduct either verbal or physical. Sexual harassment does not mean occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. Sexual harassment refers to conduct which is offensive, which harms morale, or which interferes with the effectiveness of Earthwatch expedition teams; such conduct is prohibited. Lewd or vulgar remarks, suggestive comments, displaying derogatory posters, cartoons, or drawings, pressure for dates or sexual favors, and

Earthwatch does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or any other reason prohibited by applicable

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unacceptable physical contact or exposure are examples of what can constitute harassment. No one should be touched in areas that would be covered by a bathing suit. It is important to realize that what may not be offensive to you may be offensive to participants, the local population, or Earthwatch field staff. Any individual who feels subjected to sexual harassment or has any knowledge of such behavior should report it at once to the Earthwatch scientist, Field Team Leader, or other Earthwatch staff member. The Earthwatch scientist or Field Team Leader will notify Earthwatch when an accusation of sexual harassment or abuse is made or when such conduct is witnessed. All reports of sexual harassment will be handled with discretion and will be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Any participant who is found to have engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment will be removed from the expedition at his or her own expense. If a minor is involved in allegations of sexual harassment, his or her parents or guardians will be contacted.

manufacture, possession, use, purchase, or sale of illegal drugs or other illegal substances while on an Earthwatch expedition is strictly prohibited. Prescription drugs may only be purchased and used by the individual indicated on the prescription in keeping with their intended use guidelines.

Local statutes, customs, practices, ordinances, and regulations with regard to the use, possession, sale, or purchase of alcohol are applicable to all participants and project staff on Earthwatch expeditions. Participants and project staff on Earthwatch expeditions must comply with the law of the country in which a project is located regarding the minimum age required to consume alcohol. In addition, restriction on the use, possession, sale, or purchase of alcohol may be set by the Earthwatch scientist. Any restrictions on the consumption of alcohol should be clearly outlined by the project staff in the on-site briefing to participants at the start of the project and in the expedition briefing. Consumption or possession of alcohol or smoking is not permitted on any Earthwatch Teen Team, regardless of local law. Excessive consumption of alcohol by staff or participants

Laws on drug use in most countries are severe and may impose lengthy prison terms or the death penalty. The


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is not acceptable on any Earthwatch project. Intoxication can jeopardize personal safety, in addition to the safety of the team. It can also cause delay and hinder response in the event of a crisis or emergency situation. Earthwatch staff and the Earthwatch scientist have the discretion to remove individuals from the project who consume alcohol in a time and manner that endanger the safety and/or productivity of the expedition.

transport of project equipment after arriving at the site. Participants who have driven themselves to the project may choose to utilize their own vehicles during recreational time, but project staff will brief them on any driving restrictions. All driving during recreational time is done at your own risk. Please be advised that the only exception to the above driving restrictions is emergency situations. Riding in other participants vehicles is not covered under the participants insurance policy for the expedition. Riding in another participants vehicle is done at a participants own risk.

Earthwatch considers participants less than eighteen (18) years of age to be minors. Minors are not permitted to participate on any of Earthwatchs standard teams unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, in which case the minimum age is fifteen (15). Guardians accompanying minors on standard teams must be 21 years of age or over. Minors on standard teams do not receive additional guidance or supervision from Earthwatch beyond what is offered to the adult participants. The total number of minors on standard teams may be limited on a project by project basis; this will be noted in the expedition briefing. A maximum of two minors may accompany each parent or guardian on a standard or Family Team. Earthwatch has developed teams specifically for 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds (Teen Teams) as well as teams specifically for families (Family Teams) with children as young as 10 years. These teams focus on the same research activities and have the same expectations as our regular teams, but with more facilitation and support. Exceptions for some projects may be made at the discretion of Earthwatch and the Earthwatch scientist. Due to a more in-depth screening process for certain programs that select candidates based on school year rather than age, there may be 18-year-olds fielding on the same team as 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds. Please be aware that some Earthwatch projects do not allow participation by minors in any circumstance.

In the Event of an Emergency

In the event of emergencies, judgments must be made by Earthwatch field staff and participants. While Earthwatch makes an effort to ensure that qualified people make the most informed decisions possible, occasionally first aid may be administered and other immediate steps taken by expedition participants who are not licensed medical providers. Each Earthwatch expedition has safety protocols and emergency procedures in place. Earthwatch encourages team members (the field staff and participants) to exercise their best judgment with regard to their own safety and the safety of other team members. Other participants may perform Good Samaritan actions, or actions taken to assist fellow participants during emergency situations in the field. However, Earthwatch does not encourage or expect you to jeopardize your own safety or that of others in attempting to rescue or assist your fellow team members.

Right of Refusal
Earthwatch reserves the right to refuse an applicants participation in an Earthwatch project at any time and to terminate any work being done by a participant and require the participant to vacate the project site if the Earthwatch scientist, Field Team Leader, or other Earthwatch staff member in his or her absolute discretion considers it appropriate. In this event, the participant (and his or her parents or guardians, if appropriate) will be responsible for arranging and paying for any accommodation, travel, or other arrangements which may be necessary following the termination of a participants involvement in a project, for whatever reason, and will not be eligible for a refund. Earthwatch may not refuse an applicants participation in a project for discriminatory reasons (race, religion,

Participants and Driving

Participants are not allowed to drive project vehicles (including motorcycles or all terrain vehicles) or aircraft during an expedition. In select circumstances, participants may be able to drive boats under the direct supervision by project staff. These circumstances are predetermined by project staff in collaboration with Earthwatch. Participants must respect the restrictions for boat driving in place for each project. If a project environment is such that participants can drive their own vehicles to the rendezvous, those who have driven themselves to the project may not drive their own vehicles to, from, or for project activities, including the

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ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or any other reason prohibited by applicable law). However, an application may be denied in the interest of team compatibility or due to logistical limitations. Earthwatch will make reasonable efforts to accommodate participants with disabilities, and the organization endeavors to find appropriate expeditions for those participants who have physical limitations. Refusal of an applicant is an unusual event and is generally done either because of an applicants failure to meet the essential eligibility requirements of a particular project or in the interest of team compatibility. In the event that an applicant is refused participation for health reasons, Earthwatch will refund in full any deposit or payment made toward the expedition. Earthwatch scientists have the right to refuse special requests, such as visits by media (film, photography, or print), special groups, or teams (students, donors, etc.), if they conflict with Earthwatch scientist schedules, safety, research objectives, or general performance of the team. Any participant found in violation of any of the policies described in this document (Participant Rights and

Responsibilities) is subject to removal from the team at his or her own expense. By signing the Liability Release section of your Earthwatch Participation Form, you are indicating that you have read and understand the policies in this document. Removal of a participant from a team is at the discretion of the Earthwatch scientist, Field Team Leader, or other Earthwatch staff. In addition, Earthwatch will support the right of the Earthwatch scientist, Field Team Leader, or other Earthwatch staff to send a participant away from a project once in the field should his or her behavior compromise the safety, research objectives, or general performance of the team, or if the participant has violated a stated policy. In the event that a minor is dismissed from a project, Earthwatch will contact the participants parents or guardians prior to his or her dismissal. Should a participant be removed from a team, he or she is responsible for any and all costs associated with departure from the team and will receive neither refund of the minimum contribution for the expedition nor any expenses incurred by participation on the expedition. (November 2012)


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Contact Information

Emergency Communications
Two-way radios are used for communication in the field, although communication by radio with the homestead may not be available depending on the location of the research site. The project also has a mobile phone that is taken into the field, but reception is not available in all areas. The Earthwatch 24-hour helpline number is +1 (978) 4610081 or (800) 776-0188 (see the next page for calling instructions).

There is no telephone land linestaff members all have cell phones, so communication should be restricted to essential calls only. The project email address below will NOT normally be available to volunteers (emergencies only). Personal communication with outsiders is not always possible while participating in an expedition. Earthwatch encourages volunteers to minimize outgoing calls and immerse themselves in the experience; likewise, family and friends should restrict calls to urgent messages only.

Personal Communications
There may be limited mobile phone reception at some sites within the research area (Verizon and AT&T have the best reception). There will likely be access to a pay phone during the recreational day. Long-distance calls require a calling card, which are not sold on site. In case of emergency, volunteers can be reached through Tropic Ventures by phone or email (see below). There are English and Spanish speakers at the project site.

Volunteer Contact Info

This information is available in the print version of the briefing only. Contact Earthwatch for assistance.

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Message from Earthwatch

Dear Earthwatcher,
Thank you for joining this expedition! We greatly appreciate your decision to contribute to hands-on environmental science and conservation. As an Earthwatch volunteer, you have the opportunity to create positive change. And while youre out in the field working toward that change, we are committed to caring for your safety. Although risk is an inherent part of the environments in which we work, weve been providing volunteer field experiences with careful risk management and diligent planning for over 40 years. Youre in good hands. We hope this expedition will inspire you to get more involved in conservation and sustainable development prioritiesnot just out in the field, but also when you return home. We encourage you to share your experiences with others, and to transfer your skills and enthusiasm to environmental conservation efforts in your workplace, community, and home. If you have questions as you prepare for your expedition, contact your Earthwatch office. Thank you for your support, and enjoy your expedition! Sincerely,

Larry Mason President and CEO

Connect wit h other Earthwatch ers! Find us on Face book at facebook.c om/ Earthwatch

us on d n i f or r Twitte _org atch w h t r a @e

Earthwatchs 24-Hour Helpline

If you need help at any time, call Earthwatchs 24-hour on-call duty officer in the U.S.: +1 (978) 461-0081 +1 (800) 776-0188 Note: The 800-number works as a toll free call only for calls placed within the U.S. After business hours, leave your message with our live answering service. State that you have an emergency communication and leave a clear message with the name of the field program, your name, location from which you are calling, and if possible, a phone number where you can be reached. An Earthwatch staff person will be contacted and will respond to your call within one hour.

Medical and Security Assistance Helpline Numbers

(For assistance while in the field) When calling any of the helplines, please mention Earthwatch and policy reference number 560020011200. CEGA Emergency Medical & Travel Assistance: +44 (0)20 3059 8770 You may call this number collect or reverse charges if necessary in a medical emergency. Henderson Risk Security Assistance and Advice: +44 (0)20 3059 8772


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Earthwatch U.S. 114 Western Ave. Boston, MA 02134 www. Phone: 1-978-450-1246 Toll-Free: 1-800-776-0188 Fax: 1-978-461-2332

Earthwatch U.K. Mayfield House 256 Banbury Rd. Oxford, OX2 7DE United Kingdom Phone: 44-0-1865-318-838 Fax: 44-0-1865-311-383

Earthwatch Australia 126 Bank St. South Melbourne, VIC 3205 Australia australia Phone: 61-0-3-9016-7590 Fax: 61-0-3-9686-3652

Earthwatch Japan Sanbancho TY Plaza 5F Sanbancho 24-25, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 102-0075 Japan Phone: 81-0-3-3511-3360 Fax: 81-0-3-3511-3364