Activities at the Iguana Station
The breeding season is one of the most interesting periods in which you can volunteer at the Iguana Station. It is at this time that our females lay their eggs and we carefully collect them in order to incubate them artificially under optimal conditions (temperature and humidity). In addition we collect females from different beaches around the island and bring them to the station to lay their eggs. We return them to the mangoves onces they have done so. This allows us to increase the genetic pool of the iguanasl in the station and to give the females an opportunity to lay before a hunter catches them. Breeding season is from February to August.
Activities carried out by volunteers during this time include:
- preparing the females´ cages
- collecting females from the beaches
- marking and making an inventory of the females we collected from the wild
- releasing the females collected after they have laid their eggs
- preparing our breeding groups with nesting boxes
- collecting of eggs
- taking care of the eggs in the incubators
- making an inventory of the newborns
- releasing the juveniles from last year
- releasing newborns
- monitoring the growth of the newborns (year round)
For five days every month we monitor the iguanas in the wild on the north east side of the island in an area called Iron Bound. During this week we count as many swampers as we can in a marked area called a transect, which covers in length 630m of mangrove forest.
Volunteers at the IRBS also carry out research into other species of flora and fauna belonging to the island. We also welcome other volunteers who wish to carry out their own field work in the area.
Environmental Education Programme
The centre is open to visitors every day from 9 am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. During these times volunteers give tourists a guided tour of the visitor centre and enclosures of the IRBS. Also very Monday, Wednesday and Friday school groups are taken for environmental education lessons, either at the centre or in their classroom. This program is important as it improves environmental awareness in the local population and for tourists who visit the Iguana Station.
We also visit the local kindergartens and schools periodically and encourage the children to preserve the natural resources of Utila through games and other thematic activities. We also take older children on outdoor excursions where they can discover nature through their own experience and become a part of it. We also invite the kindergartens and schools to visit the station and get involved with the volunteers´ activities.
Volunteers that have participated in environmental programmes or have experience in working with children are more than welcome to contribute new ideas, games and activities in which the children learn about the importance of conservation and protection of natural resources.
We also participate in the Recycling Programme that is conducted by the municipality. We collect plastic bottles that are later taken to the compacting plant and shipped to La Ceiba to be recycled. We also carry out beach clean-ups for the beaches that are the nesting sites for our iguanas.
Other activities done at the Station:
- Feeding of the iguanas
- Collecting crabs and termites for the iguanas
- Periodical inventory of the iguanas
- Maintenance of the enclosures — which includes cleaning of the cages, trimming of the trees inside the cage, repairing the cages
- Maintenance of the house — weekly cleaning of the kitchen, visitor centre, toilets, showers and garden
- Maintenance of the garden — lawn mowing, trimming the Hibiscus plants and other fruit trees, collecting leaves and burning branch piles
- Feeding Rosalitha — our parrot
- Collecting and feeding the animals in terrariums — anolis, geckos, skinks, tarantulas, scorpions, praying mantis, mosquito fish
- Collecting of butterflies and other insects for the display in the visitor centre
- Guided recreational tours around the island.
Volunteers preparing the Iguana meals
Volunteer checking to Iguana food stock
Volunteers feeding the Iguanas
Volunteers preparing for the island carnival
Volunteer making kites for a local education visit
Volunteer collecting termites for feed time