Elizabeth Kimpton - Forest Research Assistant with Frontier, Madagascar

Elizabeth’s role involved learning bird and species present on the island of Nosey Be, Madagascar, where she was based. She passed an exam in order to gain her ‘Research Assistant’ title. Elizabeth took part in daily reptile, lemur and bird surveys, documenting their numbers and behaviour. Elizabeth also completed her Open Water PADI qualification.

‘[One of my biggest achievements was] passing my reptile and bird competency tests first time round. I learnt all species present in our area on the island of Nosy Be and was able to accurately identify these species.’

‘The data collected whilst in Madagascar is all compiled into a report which is then passed on to the local government, so they can address the issues of deforestation and overfishing and their impacts on species and species numbers. We also went on a ‘satellite camping’ trip where we lived on a different island, Nosy Komba, for four days, sleeping in tents and collecting research there. Whilst there we discovered a new species which has never been recorded on the island, which was extremely interesting.’

‘The main skills I have developed during my six weeks in Madagascar are those in the practical field of biology. I have worked alone collecting research in the forest which at first was daunting, as the data collected goes towards scientific reports that Frontier presents to the Madagascar government.

I even helped to teach these skills to other volunteers, improving my own practical work and my ability to help others.

‘As travel is something I would like to incorporate into my future working career the skill of being conservation worker in a third world country will give me an advantage when applying for jobs’.

‘The thing I enjoyed most about my internship was the people I met and the friends I made. All the other staff and researchers on the project were of a similar mind-set to me and so everyone made very tight friendships; we lived and worked together for six weeks and everyone was extremely nice and fun to get to know.’