Conservation and Sustainability Volunteers can join this programme all year round from 1 week up to 3 months in duration. We also offer weekly lectures, bi-weekly hikes, the opportunity for cultural exchange with the Ecuadorian staff, and friendships with other volunteers from around the world. Typical volunteer activities include:
- Planting 150 native trees per person within the group (groups of 4-8 usually)
- Designing and opening a new trail in the reserve
- Maintaining existing trails
- Collecting data for the station’s research projects
- Maintaining and improving the medicinal garden
- Working in the organic vegetable garden
- Alternative animal production
- Coffee, banana and citric production
- Bio-food production
- Sustainable wood production, and
- Medicinal garden work
Please note that we are also able to arrange for volunteers to conduct independent research projects during their stay on this programme, a particularly good option for university students doing dissertations or those wishing to undertake scientific research at a nature reserve.
As part of your volunteer experience, you can also conduct an independent research project on a topic of your interest. With ten years of experience in supervising research projects, we will give you ideas and supervision during your project. You can study different subjects at the reserve ranging from wildlife to agriculture. This opportunity will contribute to your personal and professional skills, by learning new self-directed skills and research techniques, in addition, your work will help us to increase our knowledge and research data at the reserve itself.
Please state your interest in this option in your application form or tell us during your first days at the reserve and we can assist you with arranging a research project.
Ecuador is one of the world’s seventeen megadiverse countries. With forty-six different types of ecosystem, the country is one of the most diverse in the world with respect to its size. Ecuador also holds second place in the world for its diversity of orchids and amphibians. However, an average of 200,000 hectares of Ecuadorian forest disappears every year. Our most important goal is to protect part of this amazing ecosystem and to fight against deforestation. However, this fight is not easy and we need as much help as possible. Our ethos is that everybody should participate in conservation efforts because conservation is a shared responsibility.
The biological nature reserve is located in the western range of the Andes at an altitude of 1100-2040 meters above sea level. With an area of 814 hectares, it is located in the centre of the Rio Toachi-Chiriboga IBA (Important Bird Area, declared by BirdLife International and Conservation International). The reserve is also part of two important bioregions; The Tropical Andes and the Choco-Darien of Western Ecuador, considered within the top five biodiversity hotspots on earth. The station works towards combatting deforestation, protecting the existing forest, restoring degraded areas and searching for sustainable activities that enable us to support the reserve and to offer a better way of life for the local community. Ecuador is the smallest country in the rugged Andean highlands of South America. It has an array of vibrant indigenous cultures, well-preserved colonial architecture, amazing volcanic landscapes, dense rainforest and the fabulous Galapagos islands – all in a nation no bigger than the US state of Nevada. With a population of about 13 million, Ecuador borders Peru and Colombia.
Accommodation is in the Volunteer House, in shared rooms (2 – 5 volunteers per room). There is running water, electricity, showers, internet, public telephone (you can buy a phone card in town or in Quito) and excellent views of the forest. The internet is free (wifi) and volunteers need to bring their own devices (laptop or phone). The internet is only available during some hours of the day (normally from 0700-0830, 1230-1400 and from 1700-1900). Bedding (pillow, sheets, and blankets) will be provided but a sleeping bag may be necessary if you are planning to travel to colder parts of the country or camping at the reserve. They offer a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals that includes traditional Ecuadorian food. Private rooms with en-suite bathrooms can be made available for couples/families if we are notified in advance.
Conservation and Sustainability Volunteers can join this programme all year round from 1 week up to 3 months in duration.