Volunteer in Nature Reserve in Ecuadorian montane rainforest

Un poco del Chocó
Gualea, Ecuador
Job Category
Volunteer Openings
Last Date to Apply
VOLUNTEER OPENINGS NOVEMBER-JANUARY WHO WE ARE Un poco del Chocó is a small conservation project in the Northwest of Ecuador which was founded in 2009 by German Biologist Nicole Büttner and her Ecuadorian husband. Settled in a privately protected nature reserve within the endangered tropical forest of the Andean Chocó, our biological station promotes conservation, education and research. OUR NATURE RESERVE The Un poco del Chocó nature reserve is situated on the western slope of the Andes in the northwest of Ecuador. Located in the Pichincha province, it is approximately 3 hours away from Quito. The 15 hectares reserve stretches over an altitude between 950 and 1200 meters above sea level, right in the transition zone between the biodiversity-hotspots of the Chocó and the Tropical Andes, two biogeographic regions globally known as biodiversity hotspots and centers for endemism. The reserve is primarily covered with lower montane rainforest showing different levels of disturbance. The main part of the reserve consists of slightly disturbed primary forest where some bigger trees have been cut illegally in the past. As a private reserve Un poco del Chocó forms part of the ACUS Pachijal, an area of conservation and sustainable landuse administered by the Commonwealth of the Andean Chocó. Furthermore, it lies within the buffer zone of the recently declared Chocó Andino de Pichincha Biosphere Reserve. The Andean Chocó area is known for its high diversity in birds. In 2014, part of it was declared the Important Bird Area Mashpi-Pachijal. The Un poco del Chocó nature reserve itself is home to over 285 bird species, of which 17 species are endemic to the Chocó ecoregion. Major conservation threats to the area are habitat loss due to deforestation, habitat fragmentation, global warming and climate change. OUR BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH STATION Established in 2010, the biological research station is the beating heart of our work at Un poco del Chocó. Here we host individual researchers, students and eco-tourists, but also student groups for workshops and courses. Various ongoing research projects are studying and monitoring the rich local flora and fauna. VOLUNTEER WORK In the reserve and at the field station there is always plenty to do. We welcome volunteers who want to help us with our day-to-day activities to manage the nature reserve and support our conservation work. To realize our different activities in the reserve we rely on the helping hands of volunteers who in turn will be able to experience the vast natural beauty of the Chocó rainforest at a considerably low cost. Apart from daily tasks (like cooking, cleaning, taking care of bird feeders) most of our work in the next two months will be maintenance work on the trails and around the station including some light construction work, painting, gardening (more details on website). We expect volunteers to help us with our daily chores for about 5 hours per day (usually 8am-1pm) on week days. Afternoons and weekends are free to explore the reserve, hike down to the river for a swim, watch birds or simply relax in a hammock and read a book. We lodge volunteers in our cozy wooden station house in the middle of the rainforest. Rooms are shared doubles in bunk beds, toilets are outside and showers are hot. Our food is mostly vegetarian. We cook typical Ecuadorian food (rice, plantains, legumes, yucca etc,) as well as pasta, potatoes and lots of vegetables. Electricity is supplied by solar panels and can be restricted. Internet access is available. To cover the expenses for food and lodging at the station house we currently ask for a contribution of 125 US$ per week. We prefer volunteers who commit to at least 3-4 weeks of volunteer work. We are currently hoping to fill one or two volunteer positions between now and January ASAP!
We welcome volunteers from all backgrounds and ages (18+). Prior experience is not necessarily required. We are generally looking for nature-loving, open-minded people who don't mind to get their hands dirty. Spanish skills are a plus. Volunteers usually only help us with the daily tasks that don't require specific training and/or supervision and therefore won't participate in research activities. Nevertheless, skilled and experienced bird banders would be welcome to assist in our avian monitoring sessions (twice per month, three days each). Interested individuals should either apply through the website or directly following this link: https://form.jotformz.com/60373287117658
Contact Person
Nicole Büttner
Contact eMail
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