Short-term Reserve Steward – Ecuador

Life Net Nature
Reserva las Tangaras
Job Category
Housing and $300/month COL stipend
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
Short-term Reserve Stewardship Position - Mindo, Ecuador Life Net Nature seeks a reliable and responsible person or couple to replace two stewards who recently resigned due to discomfort with multiple aspects of the job: hiking on steep trails with some drop offs, navigating a very rustic trail including some rock scrambling to maintain a spring-water gravity-feed water system, managing public relations related to a rumor of treasure on the property, and crossing a swinging cable bridge to access the reserve. Outdoor recreation oriented person or couples with a solid history of working and living together in a remote wilderness setting desired. Backgrounds in wilderness or remote property management, ecotourism, conservation biology, small business management, marketing and related fields are ideal. An adventurous spirit and good physical fitness are a must. Contract dates: October 10 to December 5, 2022 Reserva Las Tangaras is a 50-hectare protected area, near Mindo, Ecuador, mainly covered by tropical montane forest. Wildlife include many endemic and endangered species of amphibians, birds, and mammals. The reserve and nearby properties are home to more than 350 bird species, including 25+ hummingbird and tanager species. Qualifications include ability for both applicants to speak English and at least one applicant to communicate very well in Spanish (fluently desired; intermediate or advanced with evidence at a minimum). One person should have at least an undergraduate degree in a topic related to the position (ecology, biology, ecotourism, business & marketing, natural resources management, conservation, etc.). We typically seek applicants with experience in: 1) field ornithology or biology (ideally some tropical experience), 2) ecotourism and hospitality services, 3) guiding or nature interpretation, 4) interest/experience related to simple bio-regional living including organic gardening, solar equipment maintenance, and composting, 5) wilderness and leave-no-trace camping ethics, 6) carpentry, plumbing, and building skills, 7) small business and financial management experience, 8) first aid training, 9), but for this replacement contract we mainly need someone responsible and capable of taking care of the place until we fill a longer-term contract. However, if a couple applies ASAP and meets our normal requirements (outlined below), they could have the option to take on a 165-day contract. Duties include: taking care of the 51-hectare property, a two-story wooden lodge/cabin, and a ~20Km trail system and being able to plan and manage the reserve with very limited supervision. Special attention must be allocated to maintaining the entrance bridge over the Nambillo River. Monitoring and repairing the gravity-feed water system is another basic task, as well as being on top of plumbing and outdoor composting toilet maintenance, replacing and transporting gas tanks and supplies as needed to survive and operate while hosting a few day hikers and overnight guests each month. Being a keen birder or wildlife enthusiast is ideal, as stewards collect some wildlife data and care for a small library as part of the work. Stewards collect data on weather (daily at 6 pm), an Andean Cock-of-the Rock lek (weekly), hummingbird species at feeders (daily). Stewards maintain fresh sugar water in the feeders. Stewards skilled with birding, make a monthly bird list (birds seen/heard during a given month), and upload lists to the Las Tangaras eBird page. Swainson's thrushes and Andean Solitaires are monitored (opportunistically/daily) along with activity at a Club-winged Manakin lek (weekly). There is a small fruit tree orchard that requires some weeding, but stewards may hire local workers to help with that and other work around the reserve. Stewards typically update interpretive materials for reserve visitors, do ecotourism promotion and provide guest-hosting services, and market the reserve in Mindo. Marketing helps sustain the reserve and brings additional income to stewards who can sell food and drinks to guests, as well as earn additional money guiding. As a buffer property on the edge of the Mindo-Namibillo Bosque Protector, Reserva Las Tangaras adds critical habitat for wildlife at elevations typically deforested for agriculture, and more recently cleared for vacation-housing and intensive “adventure” tourism activities like ziplines, motorcycling, ATVing, and mass trampling to see waterfalls. Las Tangaras encourages light visitation by bird-watchers, nature enthusiasts, photographers, and tropical biology researchers and students. Stewards should be capable of: 1. Surviving well in a wilderness setting. 2. Hosting international and local nature-oriented guests and visitors, maintaining a tidy and clean research station/guest cabin, preparing and selling meals and drinks to guests (with all proceeds from food and drink sales accrued by the stewardship couple). 3. Keeping financial records, setting realistic goals and completing management tasks including AirBnb communications, reservations via phone & online communications. 4. Maintaining the cabin's water system with difficult access requiring rock scrambling. 5. Improving trails and signage from the main road and throughout the reserve. 6. Sustaining gardens and orchards, with some need to remove exotic species. 7. Using Excel & Word for monthly reports, updating and recording data. 8. Good blogging, social media, and computer skill for doing: monthly blog with attractive photos, submission of Excel data sheets, monthly reports via email to Dr. Becker, email thank you notes to guests, contribute lists to eBird, and post interesting and alluring photos and facts on the reserve Facebook and Instagram sites. 9. One of the stewards must have at least intermediate to advanced-level skills with spoken and written Spanish. Both stewards must have advanced level with English. The reserve is an incredible place to live. Research and photographic opportunities abound. Each year in December and July/August, Life Net Nature volunteer teams monitor and research bird communities to raise funds for the protected area. Reserve stewards, scientists and students can make discoveries about the complex and diverse biological nature on the reserve. Reserve data are available to stewards for crafting scientific publications. Stewards receive free housing along with a $300/month cost-of-living and reserve management stipend to be used to sustain selves and cover basic reserve expenses such as supplying hummingbird feeders with sugar water and stocking basic supplies to host guests. Stewards can earn additional income by providing food and beverages and by providing guide services to visitors. To Apply: As one PDF document, please send ASAP 1) a cover letter expressing interest and qualifications of each person, 2) a professional resume (CV) for both applicants, and 3) three references per applicant with email & phone contact info. Email application materials to Dr. Dusti Becker at
See job description. To Apply: As one PDF document, please send ASAP 1) a cover letter expressing interest and qualifications of each person, 2) a professional resume (CV) for both applicants, and 3) three references per applicant with email & phone contact info. Email application materials to Dr. Dusti Becker at
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Dr. Dusti Becker
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