Volunteer to live and work in the cloud forest in Ecuador
This volunteer project works in natural conservation, combating deforestation, protecting existing forest, restoring degraded areas, environmental education and searching for sustainable ways to generate income for the local community who live in the reserve.
It is a nature reserve located in the cloud forest in the western range of the Andes at an altitude of 1100–2040 metres. The Tropical Andes is considered within the top five biodiversity hotspots on earth. The area encompasses three types of cloud forest and there are 287 species of birds, 40 species of mammals, and 63 genera of butterflies living in the reserve.
The project’s work is extremely important in terms of preserving the biodiversity of the cloud forest and protecting local watersheds. The project also carries out agricultural practices that conserve the natural forest by combining conservation and agriculture. Research is also carried out on the reserve.
Your experience will not only help the project achieve their goals and contribute to the conservation of the environment, you will also develop new skills and learn about organic agriculture, alternative animal production, bio-food production, forestry, sustainable wood production, eco-construction, and alternative energy.
The project staff are well organised. They arrange weekly talks about local conservation issues for volunteers and also organise guided hikes through the virginal cloud forest.
It is a project that is suitable for all those who want to know more about sustainable living, conservation, gap year students and conservation and environmental enthusiasts.
Volunteers are needed to help conserve degraded areas of the cloud forest. This involves working in a tree nursery, collecting and planting seeds, tree care and conducting an inventory of planted trees to evaluate their growth. Volunteers are also involved in agro-forestry. They are needed to monitor wildlife in the reserve and plant botanical species that provide food for the wild animals and birds. In addition volunteers carry out research, collecting data in a variety of research areas. Volunteers create and maintain trails in the forest. There is also a medicinal garden which needs maintaining.
Volunteers work in the organic vegetable garden, preparing soil, weeding, planting seeds and harvesting. They are also involved in the production of organic fertilizers by maintaining compost heaps, earth worms etc. Volunteers help with organic agriculture by maintaining banana, coffee, sugar cane, and citric fields. Volunteers look after animals such as cows, pigs, chickens etc. An important role is the preparation of bio-food, including home-made cheese, butter, chocolate and pasta.
Volunteers make a difference by protecting the existing forest, maintaining the reserve as an important bird conservation area, restoring degraded areas within and outside the reserve, educating the public about conservation and ecology, conducting research and sharing experiences with nature enthusiasts and local communities.
“During my time at here I really realised how important life and the ecosystem is important to our resources.”