Wilderness Experience FAQ Arizona

Research course in desert herpetology

Prior to arrival

Do I need specific requirements or abilities to apply for this project?

In order to participate in this project you do not need specific previous knowledge. It is important that you are flexible, enthusiastic about nature and motivated to work and study. Also, you should be at least 18 years old and proof sufficient skills in English in order to understand the instructions of your team leaders. Furthermore, you should be in physically fit in order to be able to handle the extreme and often changing desert climate and you should not be afraid of dealing with amphibians and reptiles. You might need a visa for your stay during the course. Ever country has its very own requirements for a visa and depending on the duration of your stay a tourist visa might not be adequate. Get information at the Federal Foreign Office before or contact us directly.

Which services does the price include?

We will support you with the information needed regarding planning your journey and getting travel insurance prior to your departure. In addition to that, we will help you plan your travel route. The price includes the transfer from Tucson International Airport to the hotel and straight on to the project location as well as vice versa. The price also includes the accommodation and food during your whole stay. The transfers within the course will be organized by the team on site. You will do daily excursions, you will be accompanied by an experienced natural scientist and a professional photographer and you will visit a herpetology museum – it is all covered by the price of the course. If there are any questions or problems during your stay in Arizona feel free to contact us anytime or the team on site.

Do I need certain medical precautions or requirements?

We recommend to refresh the vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria, MMR, hepatitis A and B, influenza and pertussis before every departure. We also recommend a vaccination against rabies. You should contact your doctor regarding this topic and get information about recent travel alerts before departing to the US, e.g. on the website of the Foreign Office. Important: Travel insurance is obligatory in order to participate. We will help you with that, of course.

What kind of equipment should I take with me?

For the time of your stay in Arizona you need a backpack for hikes, tramping boots (waterproof ones), a water bottle, a battery-powered headlamp/a flashlight, bug spray and binoculars. Do not forget to take enough sun lotion, a sun hat/beanie, sunglasses and a raincoat. We also recommend taking a pocket knife, some extra snacks and an additional towel. Furthermore, you should take gumboots and a pair of sneakers with you. We highly recommend to take your laptop, your phone and zip lock bags with you. Last but not least you should not forget to pack a small first-aid kit including band aids, broad-spectrum antibiotics, electrolytes, antihistamines, medication against diarrhea etc.


How do I arrive at my destination? Do I have to organize it myself?

First, you will travel to Tucson International Airport. You have to plan your arrival to the airport on your own. After you have arrived, an employee will come and pick you up. You will spend the first night in a hotel in Tucson before you will be taken to your new accommodation close to the actual research location in the Chihuahuan Desert.

During the course

What is my main function? Can I choose my tasks and will I be working independently?

During this course you will gain an introduction and deailed knowledge about the world of reptiles and amphibians which live in desert areas. The location of your research adventure will be the Chihuahuan Desert in Arizona but you will also get to know the fauna of the Sonora Desert during excursions. You will practice basic techniques and gain knowledge in the sections of taxonomy, identifying species, handling reptiles and amphibians as well as species conservation. Your days will be defined by hikes, presentations and group discussions. You will be led by an experienced natural scientist and a professional wildlife photographer who will help you to improve your skills behind the camera as a bonus during the course.

How big is the group?

The maximum amount of people participating in this Wilderness Experience is 12 people.

Do I have to regard any specific security measurements?

We recommend moving in the desert with eyes and ears open. The leaders of your research course will instruct you and your group in detail and tell you about potential dangers. No worries, though: Just stick to the rules and security measurements.

Life on site

What is the accommodation like?

You will spend the first and the last two nights in a hotel in Tucson after your arrival, in which you will share rooms plus bathroom with two other participants. You will spend the remaining time in a guest lodge located in New Mexico close to the border of Arizona. There you will share a small apartment with other participants. This apartment includes bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, living room and a washing machine. There is WiFi as well.

How is the food provided?

The hotel in Tucson provides breakfast, lunch and dinner. During your stay in the guest lodge you will be provided with three daily meals as well. You are in charge for breakfast and lunch; the course leaders will buy the groceries you need. The dinner will be ordered, you will be eating out or you will prepare it yourself. For the small appetite, we recommend bringing some of your own food, like cliff bars or fruit snacks.

Is it possible to receive vegetarian meals?

Since your course leaders will go to a local supermarket to buy the groceries you need for meal preparation, various diets can be considered. This means a vegetarian diet is possible as well. Nevertheless, we ask you to inform us about any special diets before.

How are work time and free time divided?

In general, your work time depends on circumstances like weather, sudden difficulties or unpredictable opportunities. Therefore, your time for private activities varies.

How can I spend my free time?

At intervals there is time for private activities. We recommend to bring some of your own series, movies and books.

Do I have a contact person on site?

During your time in the course experienced team leaders will always be by your side and support you. Feel free to contact us any time if there are any questions or problems.

What expenses do I have to expect during the project? Can I withdraw cash on site and do I have to pay in local currency?

Even if meals and accommodation are provided, you should budget some money, especially for your stay in Tucson, and also for trips you might be doing before or after your program starts. The currency in the USA is the U.S. dollar. In general, you can change money at your local bank. The easiest way to withdraw cash is using a credit card at an ATM. You can use ATMs in Tucson to withdraw cash. In the guest lodge this possibility might not be given. We recommend bringing 100 U.S. dollars in cash in case of an emergency.

How can I contact family and friends at home?

The hotel in which you will spend the first and the last two nights during your stay provides WiFi. Due to the hotel being located in the middle of Tucson, you will also have cellphone reception. The guest lodge – which is located at the border between New Mexico and Arizona and which will be your main accommodation during the course – provides internet connection which can be slow sometimes, though. A cellular network is provided as well. In the desert you will not have any cellular reception or access to the internet.

What's the weather/climate like?

In most cases, it is very warm in summer so that you will not freeze during daytime. Nevertheless, you should pack some warm clothing because temperatures can vary, especially in the desert, and after dark it can really cool down. Moreover, you should not forget to pack rainproof clothing because you will be in the desert during monsoon time and therefore unpredictable, strong rainfalls are most likely to happen.

Is there a prohibition concerning alcohol?

Yes, it is strictly prohibited to consume or to take alcohol to the course location.

Will I receive a certificate after completing the course?

Yes, you will receive a certificate which confirms your work and your learning achievement.

Do you have further questions that you did not find here?

Then call us at +49 241-91994357 or send an e-mail to info@natucate.com

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