Oops! You must enter a search term greater than 3 characters.

Invite reviews

Invite friends and colleagues to share their experiences with this nonprofit
2 Reviews
12.5345
Previous | Next
Write A Review
January 16, 2013

more

January 16, 2013

I was a volunteer for Widecast for three weeks in September 2012. The work the organization does is incredibly useful for the preservation of the sea turtle population in that area of Costa Rica. In the time I was there, at least four grown turtles were saved from poachers, roughly 10 nests hatched and the baby turtles were protected on their way to the ocean, and the hatchery was guarded 24/7.

That said, the work is not easy, can often be tedious, and the management present could use some... reworking. Your sleep schedule gets very off, as you work for 4-6 hours each night, with shifts beginning at 8pm, 10pm, 12am, or 2am. During the day you have a hatchery shift for 2 hours, with the rest of the day to yourself. The time during the day can pass quite slowly (especially if there are relatively few other volunteers there at the time), but the location is gorgeous and on a completely isolated strip of beach (only populated by a few locals and a handful of drug dealers/poachers). The night hikes are physically brutal, and can be quite frustrating if either a) you find no turtles, or b) you spot a turtle that poachers have already claimed (there is a "no confrontational" policy). And in terms of how the project is run... it's honestly hard to say who's in charge. The research assistants (long-term volunteers) basically ran the project, yet they had received little to no training, and were often left without support from the people "in charge," (who were rarely present). There was a lot of griping about management.

Note on meals: The food is not disgusting, yet the meals are very repetitive, food is only available at meal times, and the lack of fresh fruits and veggies is disturbing. (If you love fruit like I do, I recommend asking locals to knock you down coconuts or pippas from the trees.)

The project's mission and work is worthwhile, and the experience is quite enjoyable thanks to the other people (volunteers and locals who help out) that are present. But I feel like, until the project comes under new guidance, a short-term volunteer project is best here. Your body will thank you, too.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unlikely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Unsure

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

September 26, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

more

September 26, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

Let me be clear: the turtle work you will be involved in is incredible. I worked as a research assistant at the Pacuare Project from April-August 2012. I led night patrols, PIT-tagged and skin-tagged leathbacks and greens, collected eggs, relocated nests to the hatchery, etc. This work is extremely important to sea turtle conservation in this area because the beach is loaded with poachers. The poachers take the eggs of the leatherbacks, and they take the eggs and the turtle if it's a green turtle. Without this project, turtles would vanish from this small stretch of beach in just a few years. That said, Widecast as an organization has a lot of problems, and these put a dark cloud over my experience. I recommend going as a short-term volunteer only, because there is a serious lack of food. We got three meals a day and that's it; the meals were a small portion of rice, beans, and some other starch. Very little protein, no calcium, and barely any fresh fruit or vegetables. Much of the work takes place at night, so sleep is of the utmost importance. The camp manager would regularly start the generator/water pump at ungodly hours of the night. The camp coordinator would regularly stand outside the cabin the research assistants slept in and have loud conversations, waking us up out of our much-needed sleep. (Requests for her to stop this behavior were ignored.) We received no formal training from any Widecast employee. The Outreach and Education coordinator (Daniela) offered us endless advice and guidance, but we were told by an office employee (Cristina) not to listen to Daniela because Daniela was "not in charge." Safety rules were constantly changing, and Cristina told us that we did not need to know what to do in an emergency because "nothing would ever happen." (Say what?!) The unprofessionalism of the Widecast employees was endless and I won't detail it all here, but I will end with this: Just before the other research assistant and I left the project, the head of Widecast (Didiher Chacon) sent the message that we were not to say anything negative to the incoming research assistants. He did not apologize for all the mistakes, and he did not say thank you for all the work we did. Widecast has a lot of work to do if they want to keep attracting a large amount of volunteers to the Pacuare project. Final recommendation: if you're interested in visiting Pacuare, volunteer with La Tortuga Feliz. You will still be volunteering with Widecast, but you will be living in a much better place with sufficient amounts of very good food.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Somewhat badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Previous | Next
Write A Review

Support This Nonprofit

Help this nonprofit get more reviews

5 tips for getting reviews

5 tips for getting reviews...

  1. Sending an email to clients, volunteers, donors, board members, and other partners with a link to your profile page.
  2. Putting a link on your Web site
  3. Including a link in your email newsletter
  4. Putting a link in the signature of your email
    Putting a link on your facebook page and status updates
  5. Tweeting out a link to your twitter followers