The Utila Iguana Conservation Project operates the Iguana Station, located on the island of Utila. Several species of swamp iguana (Ctemosaura baberi) are found only in the mangrove swamps of Utila and are in danger of extinction due to overhunting (for consumption) and the cutting of mangroves.The iguana breeding season is February-August and can be an especially interesting time to visit.All that is needed to volunteer is a passion for nature. The work includes caring for the iguanas, butterflies, tarantulas, geckos, and other animals at the station, but it can also include teaching, public relations, gardening, maintenance, or ecological research, depending on the interests and skills of the volunteer.
Volunteers are expected to work Monday-Friday (8:30am-noon and 1:30pm-5pm) and Saturday (8am-noon). The iguana breeding season is February-August and can be an especially interesting time to visit.
English is the primary language spoken on the island (although Spanish is useful if you are interested in teaching and community outreach). Free time can be spent snorkeling and scuba diving. There is a large and eclectic group of international expats on Utila, resulting in plenty of restaurants and a lively nightlife.
Utila Iguana Conservation Project
Application Process: An application form is available online. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
Cost: US$75 per week, which includes a shared room at the Iguana Station (US$90 for a private room), drinking water, and use of bicycles. Meals are not included.
Placement Length: There is a minimum placement of three weeks.
Language Requirements: Spanish is not required. An intensive Spanish-language course is available at a local language school (US$100 for 20 hours).
Housing: Volunteers stay in a dorm at the Iguana Station and are responsible for their own meals, but there is a fully equipped kitchen.
Operating Since: 1997
Number of Volunteers: 55 in 2012