Tropical Butterfly Intern

San Gerardo de Rivas, Costa Rica (CR)
May 30, 2017
Jul 29, 2017
Job Level
Entry level
Salary Type

Founded in 2002, Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is a private, non-profit cloudforest reserve in the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica. Beginning with the purchase of degraded farmland, Cloudbridge has been actively reforesting the area in order to connect the forests of the Cerro Chirripó National Park with adjacent nature reserves and forested areas. Beyond reforestation work, Cloudbridge is also committed to environmental education and conducting research on the unique and diverse cloudforest ecosystem.

Starting August 2017, Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is looking for research interns to conduct a butterfly abundance and diversity study on an ongoing basis. Multiple positions available with flexible start dates, lasting a minimum of 11 weeks. This is an unpaid internship position. Training and guidance will be provided.

Interns stay in one of our dormitories and share kitchen and living spaces with our other interns and volunteers. Dorms rooms cost $15 USD/night. Some private rooms with queen beds may be available (subject to current occupancy) for an additional fee. Food costs and cooking are the responsibility of the intern. A basic diet typically costs around $4-6 USD per day.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct live-trap and sweep-net surveys in accordance with Cloudbridge’s Butterfly Survey Protocol under the direction of the Reserve Manager and Scientific Coordinator,
  • Learn how to accurately identify butterflies using the resources provided,
  • Maintain a photographic database of captured butterflies,
  • Enter survey data into the butterfly survey database,
  • Summarize collected data into a data report and give a presentation on the results,
  • Greet visitors at the Welcome Centre (rota shared between all volunteers and interns),
  • Perform required cleaning duties in shared living areas, and,
  • Participate in reserve activities and community events.


  • Schooling in entomology, biology, wildlife or related studies, or relevant work experience; preference for entomological related experience.
  • Keen interest in butterflies; preference given to those with previous field identification experience.
  • Must be physically fit and able to hike 5-8 hours a day, 5 days a week in steep, high-altitude terrain.
  • Experience with Microsoft Excel.
  • First aid training an asset.
  • Good English communication skills; ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. Ability to communicate in Spanish an asset.
  • Must be able to commit to 11 weeks.
  • Minimum 18 years of age.
  • Able to pay for your accommodation for the duration of your stay ($15 US/night).
  • Able to pay the $200 USD good faith fee upon acceptance. This fee is credited towards the last two weeks of your stay.


  • Demonstrated ability to work independently
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; ability to develop and maintain good relationships with others in a communal living environment
  • Excellent attention to detail and adherence to survey protocols
  • Strong time management skills
  • Ability to persevere and maintain high-quality work in difficult environmental and physically demanding conditions.
  • Demonstrate good judgement and common sense in a wilderness environment

Locations/Working Conditions

  • Position is located in the montane cloudforest of the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica, adjacent to Cerro Chirripó National Park.
  • Survey trails are steep and at times difficult and narrow.
  • Altitudes range between 1550 m (5085 ft) and 2200 m (7220 ft).
  • Work hours typically between 7 am and 12 pm for field work, with 2-3 hours in the afternoon for identification and data entry. Some variation depending on survey route and survey type.
  • Work is typically Monday-Friday, although some flexibility is possible depending on the survey schedule.
  • Required to work outdoors under varying weather conditions.

Physical Requirements

  • Must be able/willing to hike 5-8 hours per day, 5 days a week in steep and difficult terrain.
  • Must be able to work outdoors under varying weather conditions.

To learn more about Cloudbridge, please visit our website at and check out the Volunteer/Research section ( for more detailed information on the research intern program.

To apply, please submit your CV and two references, along with a brief cover letter to Jennifer Powell at In the cover letter, indicate you are applying for the Tropical Butterfly Intern position, and state your preferred start date and how long you would be available.

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