BFREE is now offering an extraordinary opportunity to learn how a biological research station runs while gaining extensive experience in field methods as a Volunteer Field Assistant! Opportunities are for all ages (18+) and last anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months.

The Belize Foundation for Research & Environmental Education (BFREE) Biological Research Station is located in the foothills of the Maya Mountains on a 1,153 acres privately protected area. Founded in 1995, BFREE’s mission is to conserve the biodiversity and cultural heritage of Belize. We seek to achieve our mission by facilitating scientific research, conducting environmental education programs and through conservation messaging. Hundreds of interns and long-term volunteers have stayed at our tropical field station since its inception. These volunteers have benefited from the unique experience of living and working in the rainforest and have made tremendous contributions to our wildlands conservation programs, environmental research, and education efforts, as well as to the development of our sustainable facilities.

Learning objectives may include:

  • •Gain experience with collecting data in the field
  • •Develop observation and record-keeping skills
  • •Engage in all aspects of animal husbandry
  • •Enhance problem-solving skills by working and living in a remote rainforest environment
  • •Create outreach materials to be used in affected communities
  • •Participate in the implementation of conservation strategies in tropical environments
  • •Learn techniques relevant to protected areas management


•Husbandry Field Assistant

BFREE is seeking dedicated and motivated individuals to assist in the care and research of one of the world’s most critically endangered freshwater turtles, Dermatemys mawii. Locally known as the hicatee, this turtle has been hunted to the brink of extinction for its meat and is currently classified as Critically Endangered. This volunteer position will take place at the BFREE Biological Field Station, home to a captive breeding facility for the hicatee, the Hicatee Conservation & Research Center (HCRC). In this immersive opportunity as a Volunteer Field Assistant, you will assist in all aspects of animal care for the captive population of adult turtles, juveniles and hatchlings. As part of the husbandry program, you will participate in collecting food from the wild for the turtles, weekly cleaning and maintenance of hatchling tanks, health checks of the hatchling turtles, monitoring of incubated eggs, associated data collection and photo documentation, routine maintenance of the grounds at the HCRC, and other relevant duties and special projects as assigned.


This program is available all summer. Choose from any of the arrival and departure dates depending on your desired length of stay. Minimum stay of 2 weeks (11 Nights/12 Days).

Monday, June 4 Friday, June 15
Monday, June 18 Friday, June 29
Monday, July 2 Friday, July 13
Monday, July 16 Friday, July 27
Monday, July 30 Friday, August 10
Monday, August 13                            Friday, August 24                                          


•Cacao Agroforestry Field Assistant

This volunteer position will take place in BFREE’s cacao agroforest and our Cacao Discovery Center (BFREE’s classroom and post-harvest processing center). Under the supervision of the Cacao Farm Manager, work will fall under several categories including: Cacao Nursery Development (planting seedlings, managing plants within the nursery); Agroforest/ Farm Maintenance and Management (structural pruning, grafting, thinning canopy to produce appropriate percentage of light, compost and organic fertilizer methods); Harvest and Post-harvest Processing (collecting cacao pods, fermentation, drying, preparation for shipment); and Geospatial Analysis of the wild cacao farm (work with team to georeference wild cacao trees, data collection, data entry).


This is a 12 week (3 months) summer-long program open to a limited number of participants. There are currently two remaining volunteer positions available.

Monday, June 11                                  Friday, August 31                                        



These are volunteer positions, Field Assistants pay for their own international airfare and for travel costs from the airport to the BFREE Field Station. A small daily project fee covers lodging, meals, administration and 4×4 transport from the Southern Highway to the BFREE Biological Research Station & privately protected area. Many past students have received funding and/or credit from their host institution to participate. Payment is due 30 days in advance of arrival. Preferred payment method is by check mailed to our US for BFREE office. Online payments can be made with an additional 3% charge through PayPal.

        LENGTH OF STAY:               COSTS:
              Two Weeks                 $607
               One Month                 $1,250
                Two Month                 $2,226
              Three Month                                                   $2,754                                    

*Belizean rates available for local students, please contact Tyler Sanville at tsanville@bfreebz.org to inquire.


All volunteers will also be assigned a schedule to include assisting with general day to day needs around the field station including support within the cacao agroforest, helping with meal preparation and clean-up, assisting with trail maintenance, town runs, and administrative tasks. Duties may change as determined by current needs at the time of your assignment.

  • •Commitment to BFREE’s mission and a passion for environmental education and conservation
  • •A positive and flexible attitude, desire to learn and work hard, willingness to adapt to a changing work environment
  • •Comfortable living in remote and rustic living conditions in a tropical environment, ability to get along with others in tight, close-knit, living conditions
  • •Selected applicants must complete a physician signed health form of good health
  • •Availability meets arrival and departure dates as outlined for each position
  • •Field experience or international experience a plus


Step One: Review the three available opportunities and program costs above. Determine that you meet the basic requirements. Keep in mind, not everyone is well-suited to the physical and emotional challenges of living in a remote wilderness setting. If applicable, determine your desired start and end date from the list of available dates.

Step Two: Email a letter of interest as well as completed application to BFREE Program Coordinator, Tyler Sanville at tsanville@bfreebz.org. Complete the Volunteer Application to include in your email here:

Click here to view application  →  Volunteer Application PDF

Step Three: If determined to be a good match for a volunteer field assistant position, a telephone interview will be scheduled.


Send an email to US for BFREE Program Coordinator, Tyler Sanville for questions: tsanville@bfreebz.org