Working4Wildlife: Mammals of the primeval forest, Poland

The location

The Białowieża Primeval Forest is a breathtaking natural woodland which has been largely left to itself for hundred of years.  As such it is a remarkable place to visit with a unique and wonderful atmosphere.  Occupied by spectacular mammals such as bison, badgers, bats your time here will allow access to the Primeval (strict reserve) Forest as part of the research work you will undertake with the Mammal Research Institute.

Outside the strict reserve is the wider forest which, along with the strict reserve, is home to beavers, deer, wolf and lynx.  Białowieża village is rural (2.5hr drive north east of Warsaw) and right next to the forest.  The area is on many people’s bucket list. This is your opportunity to experience it for 14-weeks!


Mammals of the primeval forest, Poland

Your host organisation

The Mammal Research Institute (MRI) is a grant aided research institution which carries out a range of ecological studies on mammals of Białowieża Forest.  These studies inform management decisions and increase our understanding of an internationally recognised site of nature conservation importance.

The Institute hosts numerous research projects with a particular emphasis at this time on predator-herbivores-forest interactions (trophic cascades), bat feeding dynamics, camera trapping surveys, parasites of mammal species and edible dormouse physiology.

Ambios Ltd has worked with the Institute for over 30 years and this work experience offers a unique opportunity to be involved in projects at the cutting edge of mammal research in a stunning and unique location.

Moreover, Białowieża Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. For information at

The mobility part of Working4Wildlife is totally funded by ERASMUS+


Participant Feedback

Previous participants have said

The best part was “Having access to Bialowieza forest through the research institute and able to visit areas unaccessible to tourists.”

Professional things learnt: “Different use of camera traps for mammalian research, How to identify and survey badger setts, Observed bat mist netting for the first time.”

A recommendation: “Be prepared to organise your own time and ask for experiences and opportunities rather than expecting the research institute to offer or organise things for you.”

Tasks During Mobility

Two Working4Wildlife places are available at the Mammal Research Institute (MRI). While you will travel and live as a team your daily tasks are more likely to be undertaken independently.  MRI researchers will give full training to enable trainees to undertake a range of tasks as part of a research team.

Previous trainees have assisted with camera-trap projects associated with meso-carnivores and wolves, conducted leaf sampling from different species of trees in the Białowieża Primeval Forest and undertaken an independent project surveying badger setts and making observations in the evening.  They also analysed camera-trap footage of ungulates, collected data on the role of bats in nutrient cycling and helped with the English translations of manuscripts and documents prepared in MR. You can also participate in lectures and seminars concerning different aspects of mammal ecology, biology, evolution and conservation. The MRI participates in local festivals allow for a few interactions with local people. Basic Polish language practice is also part of the training.

Dates for your diary

The journey begins at the UK residential 23-27 March at Lower Sharpham Farm where you will learn practical nature conservation survey and communication skills and hear more about your chosen mobility.

You’ll learn

  • Introduction to bird, mammal and invertebrate identification
  • Small mammal and camera trapping
  • Meet your fellow participants
  • Hear more about your host organisation and logistics
  • Discuss the kit list
  • Be introduced to your on-line learning environment
  • See how the paperwork bit works
  • Hear about the post-mobility Employers’ knowledge cafe
  • Understand how our system of support works

Field trip dates to Poland for 2020 are:

Saturday 13th June – Tuesday 22nd September

Travel and Insurance

For logistic and funding reasons we will probably have to fly you to Poland (not our wish).  You can help begin to address the carbon impact during your time at Lower Sharpham Farm in March when you can be involved in our tree planting plans for 2020 and beyond..

Successful applicants will be awarded an Erasmus+ financial contribution towards personal insurance. This must be purchased before the field trip and a copy of the insurance certificate supplied to Ambios Ltd prior to your departure.

Food and accommodation in Poland

The accommodation for trainees is c. 500m from the MRI and is called “Domek pod żubrami” (house under the bison). You can see a photo here. It offers comfortable single rooms with shared bathroom and kitchen.  For over 20 years this place has provided accommodation for the MRI and you may find yourself sharing with students from different countries.

The MRI is based in a rural village of Bialoweiza in Poland, very close to the border with Belarus. You will be given a cash food allowance that can be used in the local supermarket and village shop, all of which are within walking distance of the accommodation.


Kit list: We recommend you bring the following items

  • Head torch and spare batteries
  • Good waterproof coat and trousers
  • Sturdy walking boots
  • Slippers for around the accommodation
  • Wash kit / personal towel
  • Personal medication
  • Water bottle
  • Plastic box for lunchtime food
  • Laptop or tablet (optional)
  • Mobile telephone and charger
  • Adaptor from EU to UK electrics
  • Binoculars!
  • Pen, pencil and note book
  • Bird field guide – we recommend the Collins bird guide
  • Spending money
  • Camera (optional), with charger leads
  • Passport
  • EHIC card
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Suncream, Sun hat, sun glasses
  • Mosquito repellent
  • If you happen to play some kind of musical instrument, bring it along if its handy, the MRI team often jam together with friends in the village during summer



Post Mobility

Following your mobilities you’ll receive recognition from your hosts and a Europass.  Once you’ve completed the on-line learning you’ll receive further recognition via an e-badge.

You’ll also be invited to a final course get together in October at our farm in South Devon.

Note: You can take up to 1 year from your date of registration to complete the on-line course.

How to apply

To access the Erasmus+ funding you must have a UK residential address (evidence may be required). As we experience high demand for this course you will need to make an application.

ROUND 1 = Closing date 12noon Monday 2nd March.

ROUND 2 = Closing date 12noon Monday 16th March.

Limited places: ROUND 1 strongly advised.  Successful candidates will be invited to a Skype or WhatsApp interview within 5 days.


Ambios Ltd are committed to protecting your personal data and working in accordance with all relevant data protection legislation. We will never sell your data to anyone. Your data will be used for contacting you about this course and may be used to make you aware of other similar offers. You can opt out at any time via an email to with ‘Opt Out’ in the subject line.