Ugalde Forsyth Rainforest Field Fellowship 

At Osa Conservation, we reconnect the rainforest, monitor and protect biodiversity, and work hand-in-hand with the local community to build climate resilient ecosystems for people and wildlife. Our team works across Southern Costa Rica, connecting and protecting landscapes and biodiversity from the ridges of the Talamanca mountain  to the coral reefs of the Golfo Dulce and the Pacific Ocean. 

Be part of our conservation successes and come get your boots dirty in one of Earth’s greatest wildernesses. We are currently offering 5 fellowship positions: 

The Movement Ecology Program aims to develop and use novel animal tracking technology to increase our understanding of the movement ecology of scavenger networks, and the predators which drive them, in south and central America. It involves the capture and deployment of tracking equipment on cathartidae vultures and large cat species, taking biological samples and implementing a variety of different surveys to estimate the density and determine the ecological roles of scavenging communities. This program  aims to address this fundamental issue through provisioning animal carcasses on the landscape, then experimentally excluding vultures from the decomposition process. Invertebrate community composition at the carcass site (point sampling), behavior (mark recapture using fluorescent dyes), and carcass decomposition rates will be determined. This Invertebrate Community Responses to Experimental Scavenger Exclusion Research Fellowship will explore this component and trial innovative methods to understand and document the invertebrate community in relation to carrion removal in tropical rainforests. 

The Sea Turtle Conservation Program focuses on safeguarding the four sea turtle species that nest along the beaches lining the Osa Conservation Campus and to reduce their threats on a regional and international scale. One of these threats is plastic pollution, which impacts all stages in the sea turtle life cycle, both in-water and in-land. The Plastic Pollution Effect on Hatching Success Fellow will analyze plastic and microplastic pollution at plots distributed along Piro beach and will assess the effect of plastic presence on nests relocated in the hatchery. The fellow will also conduct and lead beach clean-ups and weigh and classify the collected plastic containers to determine their origin and manufacturing year to use results as a powerful communication tool.

The Conservation Technology and Wildlife Monitoring Program guides the region’s conservation action. This program leads an exciting arboreal bridge study to find the best suitable ways to re-establish forest connectivity, providing a safe passage for the great variety of arboreal mammals found here, from mice to monkeys. Fellows will gain experience trialing and utilizing cutting-edge technology to collect and publish critical data on Costa Rica’s wildlife and learn how wildlife monitoring informs biodiversity conservation efforts in the tropics. As Arboreal Wildlife Bridge Research Fellow, you will lead the way to 1. Provide in-depth insights into current bridge effectiveness; 2. Work out most optimal designs, specifically addressing our target species in the Osa Peninsula; and 3. Prepare final designs for installation into the wider region.

The Regenerative Agriculture Program and The Ridge to Reef Restoration Program mark the collision of sustainable food systems and healthy ecosystems, where humans and threatened species thrive. Focusing on restoration and sustainable use of native and threatened species, these programmes work together to support sustainable livelihoods through agroecological practices, plant propagation, and research. A five-year-old Vanilla plantation has been a conjunction point with remarkable researchers, and the objective of the Native Vanilla and Agroecological Fellow is to scale up the lessons learned locally and regionally to output research that fills in knowledge gaps, and protocols that guide best practices of sustainable vanilla cultivation.

The Scientific Communications Department is key to executing high level multimedia storytelling (photography, videography, podcast production, writing, graphic design, and more) and elevating the conservation successes of our team. Osa Conservation Science Programs conduct field research studies to fill data gaps in the region, implement mitigation solutions to overcome habitat fragmentation, work with communities to increase citizens awareness, and work in the implementation of big scale solutions to climate change. The communication of these efforts is key to maintain and grow the impact these efforts have locally and globally. Thus, the OC Wildlife Conservation efforts storytelling Fellowship will be vital to take our communication media to a higher level by combining the baggage of knowledge of the fellow with the amazing experience of immersing as a conservationist in the tropical rainforest of the South Pacific of Costa Rica. 


Fellow activities, training  and experience 

Fellowships are designed to empower and immerse early-career conservationists in one of the most important neotropical landscapes on Earth while developing crucial career skills. Come live in a tropical rainforest and learn, explore and achieve alongside an outstanding community of conservationists, biologists, media-specialists, educators, community outreach leaders, and more to fill knowledge gaps and push the frontier of tropical conservation. This team will provide one-on-one mentorship, advise on research methods, and equip Fellows with tangible career skills to solve real-world conservation issues.

Click on the fellowship you are interested in applying to and learn more about the specific activities and training you will experience. 

Invertebrate Community Responses to Experimental Scavenger Exclusion Research Fellowship

Plastic Pollution Effect on Hatching Success Fellow

Arboreal Wildlife Bridge Research Fellow

Native Vanilla and Agroecological Fellow

OC Wildlife Conservation Efforts Storytelling Fellowship

Field Fellowship details:  

This field fellowships will span 6 months from May 15 – November 15. May 15 is the required start date. Fellows live alongside the team at the Osa Conservation Campus (OCC), located at the heart of Osa’s tropical rainforest. The OCC is home to our top-tier biological station, boasting a research lab and classroom, regenerative farm, arboretum, restoration experiment, and over 30 km of trails through old-growth and secondary forests, mangroves, rivers and pristine coastlines. 


During your Fellowship, all food and accommodation will be provided and you will receive a small stipend. Reasonable transportation costs are included in the fellowship. At the OCC, you will live in the middle of the rainforest in basic shared-living accommodation. You will be provided with meals and/or groceries to cook your meals in your living quarters. 


Apply to be a Fellow now! 

If you are interested in this unique field opportunity to develop your scientific and conservation career, please send your CV, cover letter and a 1-minute video explaining why you are the perfect person for this tropical rainforest conservation experience to [email protected] the email title of your fellowship position by 30, April, 2023.