Internship at PODA

Internship, photo: Petar Iankov


Internship at PODA Protected Site, Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife Bulgaria (BSPB) provides opportunity for internship at PODA Protected Site on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.

PODA Protected Site is situated on the very coastline of the Black Sea near the southern edge of the city of Burgas (Bulgaria). It is situated at the westernmost point of the Black Sea which premises a very intensive and narrow-fronted bird migration. This is the site where the only mixed colony of Eurasian Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Pygmy Cormorant and six species of egrets and herons occur on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. That is why in 1989 BSPB proposed the site for legal protection and after that was officially assigned with its management. PODA is one of the richest bird sites in Europe with 290 bird species, recorded on just one square kilometer. Other wildlife of the site is equally interesting with one of the healthiest in Bulgaria populations of the Blotched snake, good population of the Syrian spadefoot, several pairs of Otter, bats, interesting insects and rare plant communities. PODA is recognised as one of the best in Europe birdwatching sites and migration watch points for birds.

In 1994-1997 BSPB created with the support of the Swiss Government the Nature Conservation Centre PODA as a focal point for conservation, education, tourism and information. The Centre manages the Protected Site, but carries out important or urgent conservation actions for the rest of the Burgas wetlands (Atanasovsko, Burgas and Mandra Lakes), too. PODA is officially included in the list of the 100 most important tourist sites in Bulgaria and attracts thousands of visitors every year. They can observe rare and endangered bird species just from the terraces of the building - Dalmatian Pelican, White-tailed Sea Eagle, Pygmy Cormorant, Purple Heron, Great Bittern and many others. During the period of migration (March-May and August-October) more than 260000 White Storks, tens of thousands White Pelicans, Lesser Spotted Eagles, Honey Buzzards, Short-toed and Booted Eagles, harriers, falcons pass over. Every year Greater Spotted, Imperial and Steppe Eagles, Saker Falcon can be seen, too. The Centre has an interactive exposition and a little gift and drinks shop.

More than 15 years PODA Nature Conservation Centre accepts internship students from different European universities. Under the supervision of recognized experts they have the opportunity to get conservation training by direct participation in research, monitoring and management of protected areas and endangered species. As a rule, these activities are in direct correspondence with the needs of PODA Protected Site Management Plan and its actualization. Meantime the internship students have the task to introduce foreign visitors with PODA and its wildlife, to do educational activities with school and university students. They participate also in the maintenance of the Center and the Protected Site by cleaning the building, visitors' trails and observation hides, participate in the overall life of the Centre.

Practical education tasks:

- Management of the visitors (giving lecture in English, German, French or other language according to the student's linguistic knowledge);
- Study or data gathering on birds or other animal groups, and on the plants, flora or vegetation in the protected area (inventory, mapping, monitoring, population studies, etc.);
- Study and monitoring of the migration of birds, bats, insects, etc.;
- Direct field conservation actions (management of reedbeds and other vegetation, optimization of the breeding conditions for different birds species, maintenance of the conservation infrastructure, etc.);
- Study on the effect of the conservation and management actions to the protected area;
- Individual work on a project of the relevant university according to the personal interest, abilities and level of knowledge of the student;
- Socio-economic studies (tourist flow, visitors' expectations, etc.).

What we offer:

- Extremely interesting and exciting stay and excellent opportunities for observation and working with wetland and Southern birds;
- Unique natural site on the coast and close to a big city;
- Accommodation in the Conservation Centre for a minimal payment to cover the overhead expenses for electricity, water, etc. (90 Euro per person per month);

Travel, food and all other expenses for insurance, personal needs, entertainment, etc. are on behalf of the internship student.

We propose possibility to the students to visit some of the most famous natural and cultural sites in Bulgaria, such as the neighboring Strandzha National Park, the BSPB Nature Conservation Centre Eastern Rhodopes (best vultures and other raptors' region in Bulgaria), interesting historical objects on the Black Sea Coast, such as the UNESCO site Nesebar, old town of Sozopol and other. There is a bicycle path from PODA Burgas, which provide easy access to the very centre of the city.

What are the requirements for internship at PODA?

- To be 18 years old or older;
- To speak fluent English;
- To have Nature Conservation interest and motivation;
- To have basic or better ornithological, zoological or botanical knowledge;
- To have positive attitude or experience in working with school and university students;
- To be able to stay at PODA minimum one month between March and October;
- To have attitude or experience in working with visitors and volunteers;
- To be responsible, well organized and self-sufficing.

Driving license is an advantage, as well as some knowledge about Bulgaria and Bulgarians, recognising the letters of the Bulgarian alphabet.

In case of interest, you can send a motivation letter and CV in English to the e-mail of PODA Centre: poda@bspb.org.

For more information you can visit the BSPB web-site (www.bspb.org/poda) or write to us on the PODA Centre's e-mail: poda@bspb.org.



Data gathering, photo: Petar Iankov
Work with pupils, photo: Petar Iankov
University students, photo: Petar Iankov
Lecture, photo: Petar Iankov
Tourists, photo: Petar Iankov