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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 
CONSERVATION IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST IN PERU
PERU

CONSERVATION IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST IN PERU

BIENVENIDO! - Welcome to the Amazon Rainforest! Get involved in fantastic conservation and community development work on this multi-activity project! You'll benefit from professional training and actively assist in the environmental monitoring study at multiple locations. The longer you participate on the project, the more skills you'll develop.

You’ll also get involved in rewarding Community Development work with the local indigenous families and communities.

List of ALL PROJECTS in Peru List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa 

SUMMARY FACTFILE
Start Dates All year round. There is one start date every month - please see Start Dates below.
This Project is extremely popular so we strongly advise that you book early.
Duration From 2 weeks to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements
Requirements No qualifications needed, just lots of enthusiasm for nature. Minimum age 18.
Price Full Price List
What's included Arranging your program,
Full pre-departure support and assistance,
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation

Food 
Meeting you at the nearest airport
Transfer to your on-site accommodation
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support.
Free T-Shirt.
Return transfer to Cusco

Certificate of Completion
What's not included Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visa, food on the day of your arrival, Return transfer to airport from Cusco.
Who can do this Project? This project is open to all nationalities and all ages over 18.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in gaining overseas work experience or an internship for university credit or requirement.
Also suitable for anyone just wanting to study abroad and learn about the practice of Conservation and Conservation strategies on an Eco Reserve overseas in the Amazon Jungle.

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT:

  • Professional Training: Become a productive volunteer learning valuable field skills for career, degree or just for fun! (more below)

  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into Peruvian Rainforest life!

  • The enormous satisfaction of knowing that you're contributing to a worthwhile and necessary conservation project aimed at protecting and preserving our world for future generations.

  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.

  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market

  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!

"The Travellers Worldwide conservation project in Peru was exactly what I hoped it would be and exactly what it claimed to be…It was also the best value for money I could find and encompassed a broad range of skills, experience, and opportunities that other projects lacked." Carys Hutton

CONSERVATION IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST IN PERU

PROJECT OVERVIEW
You'll be involved in fantastic conservation and community development work on this excellent multi-activity project! You'll benefit from professional training and actively assist in the environmental monitoring study at multiple locations. The longer you participate on the project, the more skills you'll develop. You’ll also get involved in rewarding Community Development work with the local indigenous families and communities.

Begin your program in the Inca city of Cusco where you'll receive an induction and orientation before travelling through the High Andes to the Acjance Park Guard Station and the Cloud Forest. Then you descend into the Amazon via motorised canoe down the Madre de Dios River. The journey is spectacular, an adventure in itself!

In the first week you'll be given a full induction and a brief look at all of the projects the center is working on, after a while, you'll be assigned according on your interest and the requirement at the time.

“This is an experience of a lifetime, one for people from all walks of life. Also anyone who likes great food because the food is awesome here considering where we are. Also, the bathrooms are heaven compared to places even back in the UK. It has been an amazing experience for me in so many ways. I’m even thinking of coming back to Peru to work in the future, maybe in conservation. All in all, I’m becoming very used to this way of life and not looking forward to going back home.” Lawrence Smart

PROFESSIONAL TRAINING:
A productive volunteer knows WHY they are doing the work; they understand exactly WHAT the work is and HOW to do it. Volunteer are taught to be independent thinkers with skills to make a difference on projects. Volunteers will be trained on the following:

  • First Aid & basic rainforest survival skills
  • Tropical ecology
  • Conservation & sustainability
  • Natural history
  • Astronomy
  • Cultural diversity
  • Wilderness ethics & natural resources conservation
  • Flora & fauna monitoring
  • Reforestation & agro-forestry
  • Ethno-botany
  • Environmental education

WORK CONTENT:
On your arrival in the Rainforest (on Day 3 of your project) and after settling in, you'll start a week-long training schedule which is designed to introduce you to the rainforest and how it works.  The training will maximise your experience and introduce you to the various projects that are running at the center. The center will try to match volunteers to their interest, providing an exposure to all the projects in the first week and then assigning volunteer to tasks they find interesting and where they will have the most impact. This tailored approach enriches the volunteer’s time and creates better overall results.

There are many different types of projects on the go at the same time, but you will also be guided and encouraged to work on your own projects as well. The degree to which you'll run or assist on such projects will depend upon your abilities. Below are some examples of the types of projects and activities that are carried out at the Center:

Mammal Monitoring:
The aim of this project is to prove the importance of regenerating the rainforest as a habitat for different mammal species. This is achieved through a combination of activities, such as the setting up and monitoring of camera traps, tracking and setting up transects.

More than 37 species of large mammals have been recorded at the center, including 13 individual Jaguar. The huge range of mammals living around the main camp and in and off the trails makes it possible to observe directly and indirectly the activities of different types of monkeys, tapirs, peccaries, armadillos, pumas and more.

Forest Regeneration:
Globally, and in the Amazon, large areas of tropical forest have been replaced by agricultural land.  The study of processes in these disturbed areas is import. In Peru, the main cause of this is the increasing migration of people to the forest. The area around the center is ‘natural laboratory’, made up of patches of regenerating forest with different human disturbance. These plant communities are not going to undergo further disturbance and so this allows the center to study the flora and how it has been affected by disturbance. Monitoring changes in the biomass levels enables the center to gather information about the regeneration rate of the forest and determine whether the reserves of carbon in the forest are changing.

Volunteers set up ‘leaf litter traps’ to collect data within four different forest types. Materials are collected weekly, studied and the data recorded. Canopy photos are also taken, with data recorded to detect seasonal and successional changes in the forest light.  Volunteers are also taught about phenology (to learn more about growth, flowing and fruiting patterns of various tree species). Marked trees are visited every 4 weeks and the status of each tree is recorded and studied.

Avian Studies:
Peru is home to 20% of the Worlds’ bird species.  Species composition and overall avian diversity can signify many different things about the forest.  The center has one of the only clay-licks (or collpas) in South America visited by the rare and endangered Blue Headed Macaw as well as many other species of large macaws, parrots and parakeets.

Population surveys are also carried out; recording what is seen and heard during regular walks in the jungle.  Your ability to identify species is enhanced by the use of recordings played to you in training as well as in the field practice.

The center is also involved in an important Blue Headed Macaw monitoring program. This bird has been classed as vulnerable and threatened with extinction, due to loss of habitat and exploitation by the pet trade. Volunteers monitor the clay lick every morning to record numbers, activity and tourist impact.  This ongoing program has identified a correlation between decreasing numbers and increasing tourist numbers.  Long term, it is hoped this study will reduce disturbance and help to make a positive contribution towards conservation of the species.

Amphibian & Reptile Studies:
Amphibians are excellent indicator species as they are extremely vulnerable to changes in their environment. They are often one of the first groups of organisms to respond to changes in climate (or microclimate) caused by deforestation and other human activities. Reptiles are another important indicator group, as they are both predators and prey. Any changes in the food web can have a knock on effect, making reptiles an ideal group to study.  Almost 30% of the worlds assessed reptile species were listed as threatened and are greatly understudied. 

Volunteers carry out various studies, including transect surveys.  This involves walking slowly along a 100m trail through the forest looking for amphibians and reptiles on leaves, branches or on the ground. Any that are seen are caught and brought back to be identified, weighed and measured before being released back in the same habitat type.  In the last 2 years four species of frog which may potentially be new to science have been discovered in the surrounding reserve!

Butterfly Study
Butterflies are important in ecosystems as pollinators to many plant species. They are good indicators of the quality of habitat and are sensitive to any changes, which means that they are an ideal group to study when looking at regenerating forest.  The center is creating an inventory of the butterfly species to gain an understanding of their distribution between the 3 forests types that differ in their disturbance level.

Volunteers set up butterfly nets baited with fermented banana at 3 different heights in the 3 main forest types.  The nets are left in the forest for 6 days and are checked every 24hrs after they are set up. Butterflies are retrieved from the net and identified against guides. They are also marked so they can be recognised if recaptured. If the butterfly is not in the guide, then it is taken back to camp and photographed so it can be added before it is released. The traps are re-baited each day except for the 6th day when they are taken down. There are currently 4 butterfly survey sites in each forest type and the nets are rotated around each of these every time the project is run which is every 3 weeks.

TWO-WEEK PROGRAMME AND LONGER PROGRAMMES:
The two-week programme offers a snapshot and tangible life experience of conservation research and community development in the amazon rainforest. It is an opportunity to live and work alongside conservation researchers and community development staff and understand the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis and what their work entails. Please note this programme is not designed to provide an in-depth learning experience, because time does not permit this.

If you are looking for a more in depth learning programme then please consider doing the 4 weeks or more programme.

START DATES:
These dates are for the 2-week placements. Start dates for longer placements can be adjusted to include more start options (please speak to us if you need a different start date).
2016 Start Dates
17 October 2016
14 November 2016

2017 Start Dates
Monday 9th January
Monday 6th February
Monday 6th March
Monday 3rd April
Monday 1st May
Monday 29th May
Monday 26th June
Thursday 13th July
Monday 24th July
Thursday 10th August
Monday 21st August
Thursday 7th September
Monday 18th September
Monday 16th October
Monday 13th November
Monday 11th December

CONSERVATION IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST IN PERU

CONSERVATION IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST IN PERU

CONSERVATION IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST IN PERU

CONSERVATION IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST IN PERU

CONSERVATION IN THE AMAZON RAINFOREST IN PERU

ACCOMMODATION:
This project is Idyllically placed on the edge of the Amazon Rainforest, on a hill next to a river. It has a ’nice’ feel to it. It is relaxed and peaceful, and has been tastefully constructed in keeping with its surroundings. At present the area has six thatched buildings. Three are accommodation houses with a classroom/workroom on the ground floor and a bedroom area above and you'll be sharing a room with other volunteers. All buildings have open walls and are fresh and airy.

The bathroom is a separate block consisting of six cubicles, each containing a (Western) flush toilet, hand-basin and cold shower. There are also extra washbasins and a large sink in which to do your laundry.

There is a dining and relaxation area, with tables and a few armchairs, as well as a library and covered hammock area.

Lighting is by candle (not allowed in bedroom areas) and there is generally no electricity on the site. There is, however, a generator which is run for a few hours every night in order to charge camera batteries etc. We recommended that you take out a portable headlight torch and a few other items, but we'll provide you with a list of recommended items to take with you before you leave.

You will spend your first two nights of the programme in a hostel in the centre of Cusco. You will share your room with other volunteers.

Food:
Food is provided and you'll have three meals per day - breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is wholesome and mainly vegetarian. Often pasta or rice, soup, fruit juice. Not 5 star (it’s the jungle after all) but very acceptable. There is always a flask of hot water, tea, coffee and filtered (safe) drinking water available in the dining room. The cook is able to cater for a number of specialised diets, although choices may be limited.

Entertainment / Leisure:
This is the Amazon Jungle - unique and exciting and wonderful and tranquil and awesome - but it isn't a placement for people who want to party the night away. There are board games, books to read and other ‘quiet’ activities. At night this has to be by candle light. Most people start their work early and get up between 4 and 5 a.m., consequently people tend to go to bed early.

"Some nights we watched a DVD on the laptop, (somewhat surreal, sitting in a jungle clearing watching a laptop crawling with moths!) Occasionally we just sat and socialised over a beer.

During the day there are activities such as swimming in the river, complete with vines to swing from ("Hello Tarzan!"). (You can only swim if supervised and depending on river conditions.) The manager is a keen climber and may be persuaded to teach you how to access the canopy, (climbing trees using ropes). Some scientists use this method in their work when studying birds. It is safe (when under instruction) but can be difficult.

Although there are lots of places to visit in Peru, there are few external places to visit while on your project. In the dry season Salvaccion is a 1¾ hour walk away (after crossing the river) and it is a safe walk. In the wet season it may be possible to reach another village by boat, but it would not possible to walk to Salvaccion. Sometimes it may be possible to get a lift with other volunteers or staff and perhaps spend a few days in Cusco. Generally, however, volunteers tend to stay at the Center for the duration of their placement and visit Cusco at the end of their project.

Meals are very tropical

Amazon Rainforest Conservation in Peru

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Got any questions? Please email us: info@travelersworldwide.org

THE CENTRE AND ITS ENVIRONMENT:
The Center itself covers 640 hectares in a seemingly endless rainforest which stretches across Brazil and to the Atlantic Ocean. This is the Amazon! Mammals in the area include peccaries, puma, jaguar, armadillos and various monkeys. Tortoises and lizards are also present.

Currently 365 species of birds have been recorded in the area, including parrots, hummingbirds and the rather bizarre Hoatzin. The resident bird expert, Claudia, is very enthusiastic about birds and her knowledge is truly exceptional. As one of our people said, "Working with her is a privilege!" Like any jungle there are lots of insects and there are also tarantulas and snakes, but these are not frequently seen.

There are many trails in the forest that are very productive in terms of wildlife because they are not used by tourists, but one of the main reasons the area was selected for study was that within a reasonably small area there is land that has been impacted by agriculture and human activity in the past. This is why there are such a variety of forest types within the private reserve (forests in different stages of re-growth as well as in different ecosystems).

It is through comparative studies between the old and new forest that conservationists aim to learn more about the effect of human activity on biodiversity as well as the ability of forests to regenerate.

The environment is relaxing, with nice weather, good views, excellent accommodation and very pleasant company. Entertainment is very much home-made and there is a real community spirit among the volunteers whilst still allowing for ‘personal space’. Volunteers are well cared for whilst still having the excitement of being in the jungle. All the staff are enthusiastic, helpful and caring. There are some opportunities for engaging in leisure activities such as swimming and climbing.

The trip from Cusco to the Center:
You will arrive in Cusco, where you'll be met by members from the Project.  You will stay in Cusco for 2 nights, before beginning your journey to the Rainforest.  This journey is by road and takes from 9 to 10 hours, so there will also be another overnight stop on the way. Almost the entire journey is along an unpaved road and the last few miles are very unmade indeed! For some of the way it is a typical Andean road along the side of a mountain but the road is relatively ‘quiet’ with maybe 6 -10 vehicles passing every hour.

The scenery is stunning, including barren mountains, cloud forest, seemingly endless jungle, impressive valleys. There are places of interest to stop every hour or so, either to take photos or buy refreshments. The journey is very totally fascinating and adds to the sense of adventure! The last part of the journey involves crossing a river by boat.

Return transfer from the Center in the Amazon to Cusco is included in the cost of the placement and is arranged for you by the managers in Peru. At the end of your project, you will stay for 1 night in Cusco, and after some end of project administration, be free to depart after 9am.  Those wishing to do some independent travel after their placement can opt to stay in Cusco rather than going straight to the airport. Either way, you’ll need to make your own arrangements to get to Cusco Airport, which is about a 15-minute drive away and costs about $15-$20 by taxi (prices correct at time of writing).

Rainy Season: The rainy season is between November and April with the worst of the rain occurring from February to March. Work at the Center does continue through the rainy season because the arrays (working paths) are designed to be useable throughout the year.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT:
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular program (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

As with all our destinations, the culture and heritage is different to what you're used to ... which, although one of the most exciting aspects of travelling, should be borne in mind.    Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in all our destinations and will help you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity!    

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of staff who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

You will have weekends free and this will also allow some time for travelling and sight seeing.

  

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Conservation in the Amazon Rainforest Video


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Amazon Rainforest Conservation in Peru

ABOUT THE RESERVE: BACKGROUND
The Project takes place at a research center in a large reserve located in the corner of Peru. It consists of various types of rainforest (The Amazon) and is rich in diversity. The importance of the Reserve was recognised in 1987 when it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It achieved this largely because of its renown as an area of abundant wildlife and high species biodiversity, many of which have not yet been documented.

The park is approximately the size of Wales (20,000 sq km). Some of the area is being opened up to limited ecotourism (and tourists pay up to US$300 per day to stay in the ecolodges!). The closest city is Cusco which is approximately 8 to 10 hours' drive.

The Rainforest Center that we work with lies within the Reserve near to a road and river. It is about 45 minutes drive from the nearest village. The design of the facility complements its surroundings using a fusion of traditional thatched techniques with modern design, while utilising the latest in natural resource management to maintain the site. As an added bonus, there is a waterfall that borders the site!

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ACTION (Community Project)
The center works with local communities to create sustainable livelihoods that meet the challenges of poverty, malnutrition and loss of forest that have been caused by the destructive mining, logging and agriculture. The land has become bare and infertile and the lack of resources forces people to live on as little as $2 a day, with 25% of children suffering from malnutrition. A major aim of the center is to improve the health and economic wealth of families living in the reserve, through practises that also protect and help recover the rainforest.  So far, the center’s community projects have positively impacted the lives of more than 600 people (24% of the local community).

Some of the community work that you can be involved with is:

Biogardens
Working with local mothers to combat malnutrition by providing resources and knowledge to build biogardens that produce nutritious fresh food for families, and provide extra income through surplus crops. So far volunteers and local mothers have turned abandoned wastelands into 52 family biogardens, and have helped build six institutional biogardens (four of which provide healthy meals to more than 360 children at the local school). These activities have resulted in an annual increase in income of 35.28% since 2009 for the direct beneficiaries of biogardens, and an increase in child nutrition and health.

Agroforestry
Agroforestry plots are planted with local farmers, and provide both short and long-term income using sustainable wood and banana production models. This is an environmentally sustainable alternative that protects the surrounding forest from illegal logging activity, encourages species diversity, increases soil nutrition, and creates carbon credits that can be sold to further support the project.

Volunteers have helped turn 17 hectares of abandoned and degraded land into agroforestry plots, which have subsequently seen increased biodiversity, help plant over 10,000 plantains and 3,000 trees, and created the first program in Peru to ever commercialise carbon credits on behalf of a local community.

As you can see, there is a lot of scope here to develop new ideas and/or projects. This is a placement where you can really make a difference, particularly if you have initiative.

Amazon Rainforest Conservation in Peru

OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

While on your placements, you can also book some Optional Add-Ons to do before or after your Placement to make the most of your Travel Experience.

Machu Picchu Treks and Tours
Tours in Cities in Peru
Salkantay & Machu Picchu Trek

This project can also be combined with a second project in a different country, thus doubling your adventure and enjoyment!


LOCATION, EXPLORING AND SIGHTSEEING:

The best advice you'll get from us is to try to see some of the country.

Cusco is a magical little island of colonial architecture. Many of the buildings are built on, over and around Inca walls, arches and doorways, and many of the narrow streets in the center of the town are lined with original Inca stonework. Cusco was once the capital of the vast Inca empire.

The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu: This 3-5 day journey is widely considered to be the most spectacular trekking experience on the continent. Its route passes through a 13,000-foot Andean Pass beyond which lie some of the most astounding artifacts of the Inca civilization. Most of these attractions lay completely undisturbed for hundreds of years.

The trail ends at the astonishingly well-preserved sacred city of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu is probably the best-known and most spectacular archeological site on the continent. Apart from a few locals, no-one knew of the existence of the "Lost City of the Incas" until Hiram Bingham stumbled on it almost by accident in 1911. It was certainly a complete city, perched on a saddle connecting two high mountains, with residential and agricultural sections and terracing around the edges.

TRAVEL:
To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country, please click here.

Support & Backup: To read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your program, please click here.


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