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Amazon Conservation Volunteer, Ecuador
Volunteers are needed to help conserve the great rainforests of the Amazon. Help with research, maintenance and environmental campaigns to protect this magnificent forest.
The project, located in El Tena, is one of the six stations created by the Ecuadorian Foundation for the 'protection, defense, and conservation of the natural and human environment, investigation and scientific education'.
The present size of this reserve is 2,000 hectares. The reserve was established thanks to donations from various individuals and organizations that were concerned by the rapid loss of the tropical Rainforests in the Amazon and the world. The Foundation has two main programmes that assist local communities through the preservation of the rainforest:
- The Center for Plant Conservation - which is a center for experimental silviculture, more commonly known as 'woodland management', botanical gardens and agro-forestry extension programmes (fruit trees).
- Organic Farming - educational and model farms for communities, seeking to produce alternative food sources as well as income.
- Pre-departure briefing in London
- Pre-departure information and advice
- In-country assistance and support
- 24-hour emergency contacts
- In-country induction or training
- Donation to the project
- Accommodation: volunteer or on-project residence or homestay or hostel/lodge
- Food: some meals included and provided by staff or host family
What's NOT included?
- Sightseeing activities
- Monthly stipend
- Transportation: airport transfers*
* Airport transfers are available on request. For more information please enquire with a travel advisor.
Nestled in the foothills of the Andes, the main base is situated in Tena (Napo Province). Tena is about 40 minutes bus ride from the station and busses pass every hour in front of the station's main entrance. Tena has internet cafes and telephone cabins available. There is also limited internet access at the station.
Project life and Photos
On arrival in Quito, you will be met at the airport and taken to your accommodation. Once you have settled in and unpacked, you will receive an induction, telling you all you need to know about living in Quito and preparing you for your project. To help you ease into your new surroundings, the induction is conducted in English.
The work schedule is very flexible and there will be plenty of opportunities for you to work on a variety of projects. You should expect to work approximately 9.00am to 4.00pm, but this might vary depending on the project you are working on.
The volunteer activities are organised on a weekly basis. A typical week for a volunteer may be:
- 2 days working at the Amazon Plant Conservation Center
- 2 days working at the Organic farm
- 1 day trekking through the rain forest collecting seedlings and seeds for the nursery and the farm
- 1 day may be spent working on miscellaneous projects that arise
- Time will be spent learning local handicrafts in traditional styles
- You will also get some time off to relax and explore your surroundings, including trips to places of interest.
Trips to the local town of Tena will be arranged a couple of times per week.
Flights, transportation and visas
- Flights are not included
- You will be met at Quito Airport and taken to your accommodation
- A full introduction to the public transport system will be given
- You will be given full instructions on how to get to the base in the jungle using public transport. This is approximately a 5/6 hour journey and costs US$10
- If your stay is less than 180 days, you can get a 90 day tourist visa at the port of entrance, then extend your visa for another 90 days (for US$ 3) when you are in Ecuador.
- If you are staying longer than 180 days, you will need to get a student or volunteer visa before you depart (costs US$ 150)
CIBT Visa advice...
For expert visa advice we advise our volunteer, work placement, and internship participants to get in touch with CIBT - a company that we work in partnership with. Our UK, Canadian, and US travellers can use CIBT for visa advice and to get their visa applications processed - with visas returned within a week.
Dates and duration
The basic programme is:
- Minimum duration: 2 months (8 weeks) - You may extend your stay by multiples of 1 month (4 weeks)
- Inductions start every Monday
Safety and insurance
- All of Twin Work & Volunteer's placements are in partnership with recognised and established local organisations, run by or employing local people. These organisations, depending on the nature of what they do, might be small-scale NGOs, family projects, schools or orphanages, or local initiatives with environmental or social goals.
- We often use local businesses to provide logistical and support services to volunteers such as transfers, pick-ups, accommodation and so on. In this way, we support the local economy through helping independent local businesses to thrive. We take our partnerships very seriously and work extremely closely with all our partners.
- We provide 24-hour emergency support from the UK and our partners provides support locally.
- We have an agreement with the crisis management service Tranquillico, should the very worst situations arise.
- If any wider safety concerns arise in the destination, such as civil disturbances or natural disasters, we seek advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and implement their recommendations where appropriate.
Comprehensive insurance is available for all programmes. You have no obligation to take up insurance with any of these companies, but insurance of a suitable sort is mandatory on all our programmes.
- Minimum age 18 yrs
- Nature lovers are welcome
- Applicants need to be fit and healthy and capable of doing physical work
- Applicants need to be flexible in their approach to work and able to work in teams
- A basic understanding of Spanish is beneficial - for applicants who do not speak Spanish, we recommend a 4-week language school placement in Quito If you already have a basic level of Spanish then 2 weeks at the school will suffice
- International volunteers are welcome
Accommodation and Food
During your time in the rainforest, shared accommodation is provided in basic wooden cabins and 3 meals a day are also provided. Please be prepared to play an active role in the camp, as you will be expected to assist with meal preparation and general duties.
Optional Spanish Course: If you want to improve your Spanish, you can take part in a 2-week Spanish course in Quito before your placement begins. This is an added extra to the programme (see Fees section) so please inform your Travel Advisor if this is something you are interested in doing. In Quito, you have a choice of accommodation: you can either stay in a student residence/hostel on a self catering basis, or you can stay with a host family where you will be provided with breakfast and evening meal.
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