A magical landscape punctuated by the strange, root like forms of beautiful and unearthly baobab trees, forest canopies filled with unknown species and unique creatures such as the minute mouse lemur with its round lamp like eyes, skimming kingfishers catching tiny fish from the limpid forest pools, and the curiously coloured tenrec, amongst thousands of other endemic animals. An ocean that teems with an abundance of marine life, providing the perfect environment to discover diving under the glorious warmth of the Madagascan sunshine. Hospitable communities where you will find a culture that evokes the exotic aura of Africa with a distinctly French European flavour.
Day 1 & 2: orientation
Arrive in Nosy Be and receive orientation and briefing by the Frontier staff on the beach camp.
Week 1: diving and marine conservation
The camp is the sociable hub of Frontier-Madagascar, and is perfect for relaxing and enjoying spending time with your group at the end of a busy day of diving. Whilst completing this project, you will be able to gain your PADI Open Water diving qualification (£250 extra), an internationally recognised certification. The research programme within the Bay is a very exciting and dynamic. The priority for this phase will be BSP (Baseline Survey Protocol) although other activities will be included: Rapid Assessment Protocol (RAP), collaborating and adding to underwater species lists, sediment traps – setting and analysing, algae/coral quadrats to monitor phase shifts, benthic surveys to assess the extent of pink line syndrome, nutrient water testing across the bay, mangrove survey work and various socio-economic work such as village workshops for PADI Aware, interviewing of local fishermen and trips to the fish markets. With such a wide array of activities on-going you are unlikely to be able to do everything, especially with dive training to fit in: so please be realistic. Diving regularly in the waters of the Indian Ocean over perfect coral reefs, amid spectacular fish, turtles and rays is an experience you will never forget.
Week 2: forest conservation
You will have the chance to explore the forest of Nosy Be, and maybe even further afield on the mainland or local islands on an infamous satellite camp. You will experience a truly remote environment, spotting rarely seen wildlife along the way. As you go you may have the chance to carry out opportunistic wildlife spotting as you travel.
This may allow you to take part in the following sampling;
Small mammal and lemur sampling
Reptile and amphibian sampling
Opportunistic observation of birds, reptiles and mammals
Week 3: teaching english
Your work schedule will cover a comprehensive, varied and enjoyable teaching programme which will engage you fully with your pupils and will awaken your creativity and initiative. You may be helping a local teacher at the school as well as being required to take control of your own lessons, which will encourage you to formulate ideas and develop your teaching skills and techniques. You may be involved with activities such as marking pupil’s work, and producing an inspiring teaching strategy including preparing homework and assembling innovative and effective lesson plans.
As well as this you will have the opportunity to help with lots of extracurricular activities which will vary extensively depending on your personal skills and interests – whether it is helping organise a school show, playing football with the super competitive and highly skilled local kids. You may even get the chance to join the Frontier marine or forest camps for their regular Friday night themed parties, depending on the overall work programme. The teaching programme is demanding but thoroughly rewarding and is excellent preparation for anyone looking towards a career in teaching or who is just keen to get exposure to this worthwhile field of work. Whatever you decide, you are sure to gain huge satisfaction from inspiring these communities, whilst significantly enhancing your own skills and experience.
Day 21 travel to the airport and prepare for departure
You will be dropped off at the airport in time for your return flight.
If this is your first time doing conservation work, don’t worry! It will only take a short while for you to feel totally at home on camp and confident with the science work. Although the work is intense you’ll find that living in such a beautiful and inaccessible environment alongside friends who share your passion for conservation will be the experience of a lifetime!