Conservation Research Assistant Program in Romania
97% Rating
(9 Reviews)

Conservation Research Assistant Program in Romania

Operation Wallacea is a research and environmental organisation, working alongside university and college academics to build long term datasets to put towards various conservation management goals. We recruit volunteers to help out with the data collection, and train them in the skills and background that's needed to help effectively. There's also the option to complete dissertations or senior theses at our sites.

The Romania project is based in the Tarnava Mare region in Transylvania, in a series of remote saxon villages focused on traditional farming methods. The Opwall teams are completing surveys of the region to assess the effectiveness of maintaining these practices in protecting this outstanding area, as well as conducting surveys on the biodiversity of the region. The projects focus on everything from plant and butterfly life to large mammals - including boar and deer, as well as looking at livestock levels and more agriculture based impacts.

Locations
Europe » Romania
Length
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
Language
English
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    93%
  • Support
    97%
  • Fun
    87%
  • Value
    93%
  • Safety
    98%

Program Reviews (9)

Default avatar
Antoinette
Female
28 years old
Toronto
York University

Opwall Transylvania Expedition Review - Butterflies! Everywhere!

10/10

I am very new to travelling, although not new to ecology and field work. Nonetheless, signing up for the Transylvania Expedition was a huge move for me - and I am thrilled I decided to join in!
This trip represented 1) my first time backpacking in Europe 2) First trip to Romania 3) First time camping and doing field work for a lengthy period of time.

A few things I noticed: It really helps to be fit. You will learn soon enough that you will be doing a lot of hiking, and it will really work your muscles! As well, stay hydrated and take care of yourself when you get back to camp.

This experience was wonderful overall. The camp and schedules were extremely well organized, and the camp was well stocked with medical materials if anyone were to fall ill. The staff were friendly, attentive, and addressed any concerns. We could have used a bit more time to rest to remain on form throughout the trip though! This experience allowed me to test my own endurance, to learn many new and cool skills, and to meet plenty of awesome people along the way. It was a safe intro to field work and camping, and an excellent stepping stone for future experiences abroad. I highly recommend it!

Default avatar
Paul
Male
39 years old
Dublin

Opened my eyes...

10/10

I am a theology doctoral student and I came to Romania to see how scientific research is carried out first hand. What I experienced was incredible and has changed my outlook on life in a real way.
The care and dedication of the survey leaders was outstanding. Not only did they know there areas of expertise but they where engaging and helpful. Each day was filled with new experiences, from trekking bears, to catching birds and chasing butterflies.
I had left my children at home to come on this trip and I missed them incredibly but I had so many stories to tell them when I came back of what we did and saw.
I spent time on the computer showing them my pictures but also looking up the other species that we had seen from scoops owls, to black woodpeckers and wild boar.
They have learnt so much and have now the same affinity with nature that I have had since I came back from Romania.
I loved my time there and would recommend it to anyone.

How can this program be improved?

The food was at times not great but the people providing it were trying there best.

Default avatar
Tom
Male
21 years old
Cambridge
University of Exeter

Transylvania travels.

8/10

We were on the herpetology survey, in the middle of the blazing Romania summer. It's over 30 degrees out in the open, and sweat is already starting to ooze down my back. I am armed with my trusty net and backpack full of jars and snacks. Having rounded a local on horseback towing a cart full of fresh milk, I see the lid of a drain. Many amphibians seek shelter from the fierce heat during the day and so avoid the worst of it, this could be an opportunity! My expert in the field, Simon, helps us lift the lid. Upon inspection the drain contains nothing, we straighten up and begin to move on, but wait! I spot a reflection down below. It is a common toad, squatting on the edge. Between myself and Simon we capture it and record the data. Day well spent.

How can this program be improved?

A greater choice given to volunteers. Allow them to choose there tasks for the day.

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Emily
Female
22 years old
Bicester
University of Exeter

My experience in Transylvania with Operation Wallacea

10/10

I have been to many places in Europe on school trips and this was the first time I have been abroad completely on my own. Although a daunting experience; getting on the plane alone, going somewhere that you don't know the language and to people who you've never met before, it was all worth it and would definitely do it again. It was by far one of the best experiences of my life! Once out there everyone was so friendly and everyone got to know one another very quickly making for an incredible time. It was all great fun, but if I had to choose my best survey when I was out there, it has to be the butterfly surveys - running around the countryside with butterfly nets frantically chasing after species to try and catch them!

How can this program be improved?

I can't suggest any improvements, it was so well organised before and throughout the trip.

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Laura
Female
22 years old
Poundstock
University of Glamorgan

Amazing, once in a lifetime experience.

10/10

I have to say that my trip to Romania was a once in a lifetime experience. I truly enjoyed every aspect of it, even when it got tough, it rained too much, or when I had to try sleep in a tent I stupidly set up on a slope! Overall, I would highly recommend Romania to anyone who appreciates lush, green countrysides with thick magical woodlands. Not only was it beautiful, but the locals at each village were welcoming and friendly. However, I must say one highlight for me were the puppies we occasionally encountered!

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Hugh
Male
21 years old
Dublin, Ireland
Trinity College- Dublin

Operation Wallacea - Transylvania

10/10

I went for two weeks as a research assistant to Transyvlania in Romania. I was excited before I left and knew it would be a great trip but the reality of the expedition greatly surpassed my expectations.

The pristine landscape, the massive diversity of plants and animals and the group of fellow students and staff all contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable two weeks. I particularly enjoyed seeing the unspoiled landscape. The Târnava Mare region is one of the last pockets of Europe that exists as it did during Medieval times. I found it fascinating to see the hay meadows full of flowers, the simple farming methods and the way of life of the people who live in the region. It was truly like a time warp.

I will share one anecdote to show the staff at Operation Wallacea's competence and concern. I stupidly got the dates wrong for my flight and ended up arriving a day after everyone else. This was dealt with excellently - I wasn't made to feel bad or as though I was putting anyone out. Someone was sent to collect me from the airport and drive me to the camp. I was so grateful and impressed by the staff and their concern that everyone was safe and enjoying themselves. They are a professional, knowledgeable, friendly group - I cannot commend them highly enough.

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Vicki
Female
22 years old
Kirkcaldy
University of St Andrews

A Truly Magical Experience

10/10

My time in Transylvania was absolutely fantastic. Never before have I been unable to hear the sound of the birds singing over the buzz of the crickets and grasshoppers in the grass. With every step I took, hundreds hopped away from my feet and it made me feel like I was in some sort of fairy tale. On my first day out in the field, within the first five minutes I had seen more butterflies than I had ever seen before in my life. I got to hold my first ever bird, a tree sparrow which we'd caught in the mist nets and I even got to stroke the head of a magnificent Hawfinch. I learned so much from this trip and it has got me hooked on doing fieldwork in wonderful and exotic places. It was a truly magical experience, and one that I will never ever forget.

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Helen
Female
20 years old
Sutton Coldfield
University of Liverpool

Fantastic Experience

10/10

This trip was only my second going abroad and I have to say I enjoyed it so much. Romania is a beautiful place and so rich in nature. Getting up everyday at 4:30am was hard to begin with but so worth it. I'm also fairly sure my feet have grown into elephant hide from going on this trip and I can no longer sleep past 9am. HOWEVER, I got to meet some amazing people and experience so many things for the first time including mist netting and seeing an Aesculapian snake, bee eater, hoopoe and hawfinch. The experience was not only valuable to me as a zoologist but also as a person.

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Jamie
Female
29 years old
Markfield
University of Northampton

An amazing experience with some of Europe's richest wildlife

9/10

This expedition allowed me to fully immerse myself in Transylvania, it's people and it's wildlife. Participating in a variety of surveys with experts in their fields allowed me to expand my knowledge of the native species. The entire trip was very well organised and the daily timetable was full of activities. I experienced the culture of the local people, the effects of traditional farming on creating wildlife-friendly habitats and the camaraderie of carrying out surveys with a group of enthusiast research assistants. This location is an unexpected wildlife haven and should be of interest to anyone with an interest in native British wildlife.

About The Provider

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Operation Wallacea is a network of academics from European and North American universities, who design and implement biodiversity and conservation management research programmes. Research is supported by students who join the programme, to strengthen their CV or resume or collect data for a dissertation or

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