Escape to Madagascar – the magical island which is home to some of the world's most spectacular and least explored dive sites. The crystal clear waters host a dazzling array of pristine marine habitats and support a huge diversity and abundance of marine creatures. The vivid multi-coloured corals and luxuriant sea grass beds provide rich feeding grounds for an extraordinary array of colourful reef fish, rays, sea urchins, anemones, octopus and even sea turtles. While barracuda, sharks, dolphins, migrating whales and shoals of pelagics cruise the deep blue waters offshore. You can explore this exquisite, untarnished underwater world as you learn to dive off the island of Nosy Be. Meaning ‘Big Island’ in Malagasy this location certainly lives up to its name. You will discover and chart extensive areas of pristine coral, record healthy populations of fish and coral cover, and learn to identify a wide range of intertidal creatures from tiny Hermit Crabs to sparkling sea anemones. On shore you will explore the lush mangrove forests; the unique ecosystem which straddles the land and the ocean. You'll learn how artisanal fishing communities live and utilise the rich marine resources. You will discover which groups of marine organisms are being harvested sustainably and which are being over exploited or hunted to extinction. Your days will be eventful; the work will be challenging, rewarding and fun. Your discoveries will be of huge benefit to the conservation of these fabulous coral reefs and you will gain immense satisfaction from knowing that you have helped protect these precious natural resources for future generations. The results from your investigations will supply vital information on the Madagascan coastline to enable the sustainable management of natural resources in the region and the protection of the marine wildlife. WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO? An Exotic Island Paradise 165 million years of isolation have created a globally important biodiversity treasure with over 80% of species endemic to this island paradise. Frontier Madagascar’s conservation project is located on the island of Nosy Be in the northwest Mozambique Channel. Characterised by shallow continental shelf waters, the mangrove and coral reef ecosystems are home to a diverse array of associated fauna and flora and home to many charismatic and unique marine mega- and micro-fauna. Population growth and removal of foreign aid has lead to the coastal zones being under chronic stress from socioeconomic anthropogenic pressures. Increased deforestation causes sedimentation to the reefs and removal of mangroves for wood and building materials has removed many precious nursery areas for coral reef fauna. The Malagasy government is now working with international conservation and aid agencies to halt this destruction and save the island's invaluable biodiversity, and Frontier volunteers are an integral part of this effort. Record Marine Biodiversity Through SCUBA and snorkel surveys you will map coral, identify reef fish and invertebrates, study abundance of indicator fish species and possibly sight whale sharks. Diving under the supervision of a professional dive officer, you will become confident and comfortable underwater. Your results will determine the biodiversity of these waters and help formulate future management plans. Other activities include surveying mangroves, a vital buffer against storm surges caused by cyclones, and an important part of the coastal ecosystem. If you are only able to join the project for 2 or 3 weeks your involvement in the surveys and conservation work will be limited. Malagasy Culture & Communities Working alongside the Malagasy people will give you an insight into their extraordinary culture. You may even be invited to some of their ceremonies as such as local weddings or the Donia street festival. Community work includes Environmental Awareness days in local schools and villages to explain Frontier's work and promote conserving the environment. The data from your investigations will supply vital information on the coastline for the Madagascan National Programme. WHAT WILL I BE DOING? The marine research and conservation programme is run in association with L'Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marine (IHSM), with whom Frontier has been in partnership since 2000. This research and conservation project aims to provide the local communities, stakeholders and government bodies with the information they need to design and implement management plans for the future protection of this pristine marine ecosystem. To gather the data needed you will undertake diving surveys and snorkel surveys (weather permitting), mangrove transects and interviews, with one day off each week. If you need dive training we will train you up on the Frontier camp at the start of the project. Your activities will involve locating and mapping the extensive, pristine coral reefs and studying the various communities existing on them. The number of dives completed each week on the project depend on the quarterly science plan and itinerary as set by the Frontier field staff. You'll also explore the important mangrove forests and record the rich variety of organisms living there and in the other intertidal zones. Whilst diving you will discover dense sea grass beds rich sources of nutrients for the marine communities. You will deploy a wide range of newly learned research skills and scientific techniques including: underwater visual census of reef and commercial fish such as trigger fish and parrot fish, assessment of algal and coral cover to determine the extent of coral bleaching and damage, and line intercept transects for benthic life and indicator invertebrate species such as nudibranchs. You may even get to study the impact of potentially destructive fishing methods on the corals reefs, study the effects of global warming on marine communities or note any indication of the impact of the marine-curio trade on endangered marine invertebrates. Whilst diving and snorkelling, you'll see an extraordinary array of animals from colourful reef fish species to turtles, sea cucumbers to cushion stars and spiny urchins to octopuses. By the end of your project you will be capable of identifying a wide range of colourful and patterned reef organisms, as well as being an experienced and competent diver. Although the work is intense and challenging you'll get immense satisfaction from having survived and from having made a valuable contribution to the conservation of this marine environment. Volunteers who join the project for less than 4 weeks will not be able to participate in the full range of project activities and surveys, but will still be able to make a valuable contribution to the work. You will return home with vast numbers of photos, lots of new friends, a wealth of fascinating stories and extraordinary memories. You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages and experiences, with members who all share a passion about travelling in developing countries and conserving nature. Your staff will be a friendly and welcoming group who are highly experienced in their research field and many of whom will have been Frontier volunteers at an earlier stage in their career.
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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. All this and more is waiting to be discovered within this unique island located in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. With this project you will experience the best that Madagascar has to offer, with an unforgettable teaching experience in a developing community, a breathtaking trek through the prolific forests stuffed full of flora and fauna, and scuba diving over the reef-scapes of one of the best diving spots in the world. Join this project for a varied and exhilarating journey through this most tempting of travel destinations! WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO? madagascar\'s lemurs (mgf) Madagascar has been isolated for over 165 million years, creating a biodiversity resource of global significance, with over 80% of species found nowhere else on Earth, including leaping Sifaka Lemurs, Lesser Mouse Lemurs or even the elusive Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur. Sifaka Lemurs are very popular with visitors due to the unusual manner in which they traverse open ground. They are mainly found in trees and are capable jumpers, but due to the dispersal patterns of their favourite trees, they cross un-jumpable spaces by sashaying sideways on their hind legs, with their arms in the air! Sadly these beautiful creatures are threatened Ã¢?? which is why programmes such as this are so vital. Other interesting creatures found here include an abundance of reptiles such as tortoises, snakes, iguanas and a vast array of chameleons, both the smallest and largest in the world. There is spectacular bird life, and over three-quarters of the flora are endemic, with palms and more orchids than in all of mainland Africa. This incredible flora and fauna, unique in its ability to resist the region\'s aridity, has led naturalists to describe Madagascar\'s forests as \"the eighth wonder of the world\". protecting marine wildlife (mgm) Madagascar\'s human population has doubled since 1960, leading to increased deforestation and overgrazing, which in turn has caused massive soil erosion and desertification, and damage to the marine ecosystems due to pollution and runoff. Through marine SCUBA and snorkel surveys you will map coral, identify reef and commercial fish, and record marine species including fish, dolphins and turtles. Diving under the supervision of a professional dive officer, you will become confident and comfortable underwater. Your results will determine the biodiversity of these waters and help formulate management plans. Other activities include surveying mangroves, a vital buffer against elements such as tsunamis, and also documenting coastal bird and reptile populations, an important part of the coastal ecosystem. lack of foreign-language teachers (mgt) The majority of primary school-age children and 36% of secondary school-age children attend school. However, schools are severely under-funded and there is an unequal distribution of educational resources across the country. Poor and rural communities can only attend seriously disadvantaged public schools. Depending on the time of year, for example during the long summer holidays, you may be teaching adults lessons to members of the village, held either at camp or in the church. The vast majority of the population speaks only Malagasy, and there is a lack of foreign-language teachers. Your help can give children and adults a sense of confidence, encourage their enthusiasm and ambition, and even improve their opportunities for the future. To teach, you will need to be patient, flexible, a confident communicator and able to use your initiative and imagination. It would be helpful to have beginner\'s level French, but you will have plenty of opportunities to learn! Lessons will be fun and interactive, developing the pupil\'s confidence and conversational skills. Students will be interested in life where you come from. You may be able to get involved teaching other activities such as sports, music or science, if you are interested and have the relevant skills. There will also be the possibility of working with our field conservation programmes to arrange collaborations for environmental education. WHAT WILL I BE DOING? sample itinerary This is a specimen itinerary for a 3 week project and the order and duration of the project components is subject to change. The 6, 9 and 12 week project option will mean more time on each project component. Timing of Marine, Teaching and Forest phases may vary depending on the time of year you depart. The 2 week project option allows you to take part in your choice of 2 projects from those listed above, each for 1 week. 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 (Ã?Â£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 Ã¢?? 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; Vegetation surveying Small mammal and lemur sampling Reptile and amphibian sampling Butterfly trapping Bird-watching 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 Ã¢?? 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!