Posted by WorkingAbroad Projects on Wednesday, 8th April 2015
Volunteer in the Galapagos! We have several volunteer options. These programs aim to bring educational, economic, and social benefits to the Puerto Villamil community. Isabela Island is less touristy than some of the archipelago’s larger islands, but it has no shortage of natural beauty or kindness from locals. If you want a truly immersive volunteer experience where you can even stay with a host family, look no further!
The Galapagos Islands have been, and continue to be, an essential setting for biodiversity and conservation research. Darwin’s evolutionary theory of natural selection was based on his study of Galapagos finches when he visited the islands. And as you probably know from primary school science class and the name of the islands themselves, the Galapagos are home to the Galapagos tortoise, the largest tortoise on earth. These creatures have an enviable lifespan: well over 100 years! However, without continued conservation efforts, their vitality is likely to suffer. Just a few decades ago, only a couple thousand tortoises remained due to problems with invasive species and habitat destruction. Luckily, there are currently around 20,000 subspecies of the Galapagos tortoise today.
The great thing about this project is that it really has something tailored for everyone’s talents.
Do you have a green thumb? You can work at the Galapagos National Park in our Restoration and Reforestation project. There is also a Biodiversity Protection program, where volunteer work with immigration at the island’s entry points helping to prevent the introduction of invasive species and helping to manage quarantine.
For those “lifesavers” out there, we encourage pre-med and medical students to consider a medical internship at the Public Health Volunteer Project. There is a high degree of responsibility required for this program, as you will be interacting with local patients and employees with regards to important health-related issues. Past volunteers have taken part in creating community health databases and leading nutrition seminars for the public. This is a great option for those looking to get field experience before applying to medical school. There have even been vet students who have come to volunteer and help spay and neuter the local pet population.
Hablas español? ¿Te gusta tortugas? Join the zookeeping and research staff at the Tortoise Breeding Center of the National Park. You will be involved in the day-to-day care of these shelled residents.
If you’re seeking contact with children want a more long-term program (4 weeks or more), the local preschool is seeking volunteer English teachers to work with children ages 3-5. As you probably know, this is a critical period for language acquisition, so the activities and games you lead will really help give them a foundation in English.
For more information, and to read volunteer testimonies, click here!
By Lauren Amrhein, WorkingAbroad Blogger
Blog articles from our projects, volunteers in the field and the wider world are posted here.