- Engage with students in scientific research and mentorship activities at our field station in Baja California, Mexico during the BAHIA summer program.
- Opportunities include working alongside students to conduct authentic research projects, leading or supporting with field exploration trips, and/or providing a guest lecture on your work and career path.
- Participation will vary based on your area of expertise and experience with the program.
- Mentor students as they gain skills, experience, and confidence while conducting scientific research and exploring the natural environment.
- Approximately 8 hours per day for 3-7 (or more) days at our field station in Bahía de los Ángeles, Baja California, Mexico during the BAHIA summer program, which takes place between June 23rd – July 22nd, 2018.
Travel and Accommodations
- You will need to factor in one full day driving from San Diego to Bahía de los Ángeles and another full day driving back.
- Ocean Discovery staff will coordinate with you to confirm your travel dates. We will facilitate your departure from San Diego and provide you with safety supplies and directions for your drive.
- All trips between San Diego and Baja will occur on Mondays and Fridays.
- Travel Costs:
- Scientists-in-Residence have the following options for travel to and from BLA. All travel to join the program must be made with at least 1 additional adult.
|Type of Transportation||Travel Cost|
|Travel in an Ocean Discovery vehicle||$200 round trip|
|Travel in personal vehicle
||Gas split between travelers|
|Travel in rental vehicle||Gas + rental cost split between travelers|
|Travel via bus||Bus ticket|
- Options for rental agencies that rent vehicles to travel to Baja are listed on this website: https://www.bajabound.com/mexicocarrentals/
- Lodging is at the Casa Caguama field station with other visiting scientists, Ocean Discovery staff, and students.
- We provide three meals per day and snacks.
- It’s a waterfront field station and all guests sleep on cots under the stars and next to the bay.
- If you’d like to bring family or friends with you, they would need to find alternative lodging at a hotel in town. They may join you at our field station for meals and certain program activities.
Requirements and Costs
- Able to pass a Live Scan criminal history check.
- Able to complete a Tuberculosis Risk Assessment.
- Have a valid U.S. passport or other document to travel outside the United States.
- Comfortable working in rugged conditions, especially extreme heat in a remote location.
- Live Scan criminal history check: $25-40.
- Tuberculosis Risk Assessment: $50-100 depending on health care provider.
- Mexico tourist visa, obtained as you cross the border: $20.
- Travel costs as outlined above.
- We ask that you consider a suggested contribution of $50/day to offset your trip’s expenses.
The Casa Caguama Field Station
Your home for your Baja residency is the Casa Caguama field station in the small town of Bahía de los Angeles, 450 miles south of the US-Mexico border. Situated literally steps from the Gulf of California, Casa Caguama is the picturesque hub of science, education, and discovery during Ocean Discovery Institute’s BAHIA program.
The rustic campus contains multiple adjacent buildings that are used for different purposes.
The main station has both outdoor classroom space and an indoor student computer lab, as well as a large, fully-equipped kitchen, where a local chef prepares delicious, healthy meals.
Next door, the communal office allows staff and scientists to work away from the liveliness of the student programming, although the ocean views still threaten productivity from time to time.
A large garage is the research workspace and supply storage area.
Lastly, staff and scientists can retreat a few hundred feet down the beach to the privacy of the staff house.
Although Casa Caguama is a fantastic home for all during the program, its best feature is the access it provides to Bahía de los Angeles, part of a biosphere reserve and home to incredible biodiversity.
The bay is dotted with several arid desert islands, which stand out in contrast to the surrounding productive sea. Pristine coastal wetlands are scattered along the edges of the bay. These ecosystems support diverse populations of invertebrates, fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals.
Perhaps most notably, whale sharks are consistent visitors to the bay during the warmer months, and close encounters with these incredible animals thrill students and adults alike.
Imagine Your Day
Waking up in Bahía never gets old.
The sunrise’s first rays shining from over the mountains serve as your alarm clock. Pelicans soar ahead and sea lions splash just a few feet offshore as you take in the stunning early-morning scene from the comfort of your cot, set just a few feet from the water under the open sky.
You silently retreat to the staff house without waking any of the 40 students and adults still sleeping nearby. Sitting on the front porch with a cup of coffee, you and the other early-rising staff and scientists enjoy the sunrise and the calm before another exhilarating day in Bahía begins.
The silence is then broken by the mellow wake-up music that rouses all from their slumber. Students ease into their day as they put on their field clothes and sit down to breakfast.
You sit down next to a student and, while eating huevos rancheros, talk about all the shooting stars you both saw the night before while drifting off to sleep.
Before long, plates are cleared and students assemble into their research teams to make final preparations for the field day. You hastily apply sunscreen and gather your hat, water bottle, sunglasses, and life jacket – after all, with the expectation that every student, staff, and scientist arrives to each activity on time and prepared, you want to set a good example!
You join the fisheries research group as their Directed Research Fellow reviews boat assignments. When every supply has been accounted for, the team walks down to the shoreline to load gear into the waiting fishing boats.
This is the halfway point of your week in Baja filling in for this group’s Principal Investigator while she is back in the states. The group’s Fellow is skilled at coordinating field activities and managing the students, but with your experience, you have helped the group understand the big picture importance of their project and walked them through the more complicated statistical analysis of their results.
By working alongside you – a scientific professional – this group of students has received the mentorship that is critical to their success along their pathways to scientific careers.
Your morning on the water is marked by extremes: the intensifying heat as the sun rises, the unbroken glassiness of the bay’s water, the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Your boat’s crew – the fisherman, two students, and yourself – work in a steady rhythm to haul in the fishing net and record data on the fish catch. You show one of the students how to correctly measure a fish. You all laugh as the fisherman sings to the nearby hungry pelicans. You exclaim in excitement when a whale shark slowly glides by a few feet away from the boat.
After the last few meters of the net are hauled in, you meet up with the other boats and return to the field station. You and the students enjoy these few brief moments of relaxation before the rest of the morning’s research tasks begin. After all, there are still supplies to be rinsed and put away, fish to be weighed, and data to be entered, all before lunch.
Over a lunch of salad and quesadillas, students from all three research groups share stories from their exciting mornings in the field.
After lunch, you meet with your Fellow for a project status check in, then steal away for a quick snorkel in front of the station to rinse off, cool down, and relax. Before long, the students begin their “Salud” period – time to tend to their health, in the form of snorkeling with a buddy, learning to paddleboard, relaxing with a book, or connecting over the phone with family – whatever will restore their bodies and minds after a rigorous morning. This afternoon, you play chess with a small group of the students under the shade of the station’s front porch.
As afternoon blends into evening, students and staff gather for a presentation from another visiting Scientist-in-Residence, who has been working with the island ecology research team. He talks about his pathway to his career, the challenges he has overcome, and what it’s like to work as an ecologist. Students take notes, ask questions, and envision themselves one day having a job like his.
Dinner is the best fish tacos you’ve ever had. After the students finish the dinner dishes, they pile into the vans to head to the town soccer field for some pickup games against the local kids.
After joining them last night, you decide to take this night off and instead join the staff and other scientists on the staff house’s front porch, swapping stories and watching the setting sun light up the mountainsides in shades of pink and purple.
Later, music cues the students to prepare for bedtime, just as it woke them up. Tired from your lively day, you settle into your cot not long after the students have gone to sleep. Your last vision before drifting off is a shooting star racing across the sky.