Conservation Research and Advocacy

Alianza Jatun Sacha - Guandera Biological Reserve, Ecuador
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-105 Location: Guandera Biological Reserve, Ecuador Sector: Wildlife and the Environment Category: Conservation Min Duration: 2 weeks Lodging: Host Family / Lodge Language: Basic Placement Fee: 40 USD
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Volunteer Job Description

The Guandera Biological Station and Reserve is set in the midst of the spectacularly unique Guandera forest. The Guandera trees grows approximately 1cm a year. At the station there are trees between 25 and 30m high.

Volunteers who are interested in conservation volunteering would find this location a great place to start, as volunteers are essential to the reserve in their research and sustainable development projects. The number of "hands" necessary to carry out the organic agriculture extension tasks and the environmental education programs are considerable and the employees are too few to meet all the demands.

Once a week volunteers are expected to visit nearby community farms to help the farmers in their attempts to produce alternative food sources. There is a guinea pig (cuyes) project where volunteers are involved in feeding them and tending to the crops that produce their food. There are numerous other projects that conservation awareness volunteers participate in such as: organic gardens, botanical gardens, forestry nurseries, native fungus gardens, fruit gardens, andean tubers (20 different types of potatoes), creole hens, lombricultura plus many more.

Volunteers may be asked to help collect scientific information about the flora and fauna of the forest or if there is a research project going on at the reserve, volunteers may participate as research assistants. At the Meteorological Station: volunteers may be asked to assist in the collection of data in regards to temperature, precipitation, wind and radiation.

All staff including volunteers are involved in the maintenance of the station and reserve, as well as community and school educational conservation issues.

The Guandera Biological Station and Reserve usually has from two to eight volunteer interns on site along with their staff which consists of: the reserve administrator, one park guard/guide, two cook/housekeepers, (that rotate) and the auxiliary personnel who work in the tree nursery, the botanical gardens and the community extension and educational outreach programs.

The Guandera Station's staff are always looking for volunteers who are willing to work hard and devote some of their time in helping to preserve the beautiful Andes Highlands. Conservation awareness volunteers would be working alongside staff members and other volunteers at the station. The volunteers don't need previous experience but must be able to adapt to working in the hot Ecuadorian climate and be agreeable to remote living conditions.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Conservation of Andean Plants

Conservation awareness volunteers would participate in experimental silviculture of Andean trees; assist in seed and data collection, maintaining the nursery, transplanting seedlings, opening reforestation lines and in reforestation. There is also an orchid garden that requires maintenance and enhancement.

Organic Agriculture

At the station there is a breeding ground to practice organic agriculture techniques and to share the experience with the local communities. Conservation awareness volunteers help prepare the soil, plant the seeds, do some of the weeding and harvesting and assist with the general maintenance. Once a week volunteers are expected to visit nearby community farms to help the farmers in their attempts to produce alternative food sources.

Research & Biological Inventories

As part of the treks on the trails of the reserve, conservation awareness volunteers may be asked to assist with the development of biological inventories (especially plant and bird life). For this, they collect scientific information about the flora and fauna observed during hikes. Herbarium collection: volunteers may also make plant collections to leave in the herbarium at the station. The information would be used to make a booklet about the flora in Guandera.

Reserve Maintenance

All staff and conservation awareness volunteers work together to maintain and develop the station. The activities involved may include trail maintenance in the forest and the making of signs for areas around the reserve. Sometimes there are visitors to the station, so once volunteers know the station very well, they may be asked to assist, if the visitors speak English. Finally, once a month there is a “minga” in which everybody helps out organizing the station and removing things they don't use that could be useful to other people in the community.

Community Environmental Education

As part of their community development objective, the reserve offers environmental education to people in the community of Mariscal Sucre. Conservation awareness volunteers develop and instruct classes on conservation, biology and human issues for local school children and adults. These programs are taught in local schools.

English teaching: volunteers interested in teaching English to children around the community have the opportunity to do it twice a week – from Tuesday to Thursday. If volunteers could bring their own teaching supplies it would be appreciated.

Talks next to the chimney: At night they light the chimney and have long talks about their country, its history, culture, people, nature… This is a time to share with the volunteers mutual experiences.

Host Organization Details

Alianza Jatun Sacha

Alianza Jatun Sacha is a non-profit, private Ecuadorian NGO dedicated to the conservation of forest, aquatic, and mountain ecosystems through technical training and scientific research. This organization also has a strong focus on investigation, environmental education, community development and the management of ecologically important habitat.

The principal lines of action of the organization are: biological conservation and cultural diversity through private reserves, environmental education, the development of natural products and research that promotes the improvement of quality of life for the people that live in the zones of influence of the foundation's activities.

Jatun Sacha has an extensive program of courses on various topics: Conservation Biology, Tropical Ecology, Botany, Wildlife, Population Dynamics, Ethology, Natural Resource Management, Natural History and various aspects related to the conservation of biodiversity, for students of colleges and universities. Offering the opportunity to take courses in Conservation Biology, Ecology, Environmental Education, Eco-tourism and the implementation of Bachelor and Master's Thesis.

Jatun Sacha Biological Station was created by the need to maintain a centre of conservation, research, and education to host scientists and students interested in tropical forests.

When They Were Founded

The Jatun Sacha Foundation is an Ecuadorian non governmental non profit, private organization. It was legally established in 1989 by Ministerial Agreement No. 270 from the Ministry of Agriculture, published in the Official Record No. 238 on July 21st 1989. Jatun Sacha Biological station was created by the need to maintain a centre of conservation, research, and education to host scientists and students interested in tropical forests.

Who They Work With

Although the foundation's main goal is to continue protecting and learning more about biological diversity and conservation projects, they in turn serve rural communities, and support Indigenous groups in the region.

How Are They Funded

The Alianza Jatun Sacha Organization, receives funding from USAID, Conservation International, IUCN Netherlands, The British Embassy, The Canadian Fund for Ecuador, as well as, some private funding.

Donation Requests

This foundation would appreciate donations of: first aid kits and supplies, allergy kits, school supplies, and basic lab equipment for biological field research.

Placement Location Information

Guandera Biological Reserve, Ecuador

Guandera is one of the last remnants of high-mountain forest in the north of Ecuador, a spectacularly beautiful forest of 30 meter tall banyan-like trees, as well as sixty other species of trees. Aside from the incredible views of surrounding volcanoes, valleys and towns, the paramo itself also contains ten-foot tall daisy relatives know as frailejones, terrestrial, and bromeliads whose flowers attract hummingbirds and many other pollinators. This area is also an important source of water for many surrounding towns.

The Guandera Biological Station aims to "develop conservation and development initiatives which contribute to highland forest conservation in the Inter-Andean region in northern Ecuador."

The small village of Loma el Centro is the nearest urban center to the reserve, a 30 minute walk away. This is the last outpost of the deforestation and colonization movement that began in the area in the 1960's, and is much smaller than the town of Mariscal Sucre which is one hour away.

Transfer From BaseCamp

From the BaseCamp Center in Quito volunteers will take the bus directly to San Gabriel. The project Coordinator will meet volunteers in the bus terminal and take them to the station. It is four kilometres from the city of San Gabriel by the Pan American Highway that leads to the city of Tulcán.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 250 kms
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 3:0

Weather in the Area

The area receives approximately one meter of rainfall per year. Daily temperatures fluctuate between seasons. On an average night the temperature may fall to 4 degrees Celsius, with a daytime high of approximately 16 degrees - a beautiful spring-like climate.

The rivers of the province are divided into two basins: the Carchi River to the northeast and the Chota or Mira River to the south and southwest, the latter being larger and broader than Carchi.

City/Village Description

Guandera is one of the last remnants of high-mountain forest in the north of Ecuador, a spectacularly beautiful forest of 30 meter tall banyan-like trees, as well as, sixty other species of trees.

Aside from the incredible views of surrounding volcanoes, valleys and towns, the paramo itself also contains ten-foot tall daisy relatives know as frailejones, terrestrial, and bromeliads whose flowers attract hummingbirds and many other pollinators. This area is also an important source of water for many surrounding towns.

Biologist Richard Myers (1988), has described this area as one of Ecuador's,"Hot Spots", - one of the richest and biologically diverse areas in the world.

The small village of Loma el Centro is the nearest urban center to the reserve, a 30 minute walk away. This is the last outpost of the deforestation and colonization movement that began in the area in the 1960's, and is much smaller than the town of Mariscal Sucre which is one hour away.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Hospital Nuevo Tulcan
9 de Julio
Quito
TEL 1: (06)2980315

Placement Address

Alianza Jatun Sacha
Eugenio De Santillàn N34-248 Y Mauriàn
Guandera Biological Reserve
Ecuador

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Ecuador at our BaseCamp Center in Quito. Given that this placement is more than a 1 hour 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers here will be living with a host family after your orientation. Living with a host family is an awesome experience for a person looking to really experience Ecuador and its culture.

The following information outlines a brief description of life at BaseCamp and also what someone can expect living with a host family in Ecuador.

If you think that living with a host family is not for you, then this placement might not be the best fit with what you are looking for. You should try completing our application. It's totally free and will allow our team in Ecuador to come up with a list of exactly which placements they would reccommend for you based on your personal preferences, background, skills and interests.

BaseCamp Ecuador

BaseCamp Ecuador
BaseCamp Ecuador Address

Juan Rodriguez E8 - 72 Y
6 De Diciembre
Quito, Ecuador

BaseCamp Ecuador Contact Details

Tel: 593 2-254-7737 (Guest House Jazmines)
Mobile: 593-0-998-221-438

BaseCamp Ecuador is located in the trendy Mariscal district of Quito. Within easy walking distance of banks, restaurants, internet cafes and more; BaseCamp in Quito is perfectly situated for any need. Whether you are taking advantage of the rich and vibrant night life of La Mariscal or visiting a local market, BaseCamp Ecuador is always just a few minutes away.

There are six dormitory style guest rooms and five wash-rooms. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. There are two common areas on the main floor, including a small resource centre, containing books, magazines, games and other Ecuadorian publications. As well there is a large selection of local movies and documentaries which are available for guest viewing. In addition to the two common areas, BaseCamp Quito has a rooftop terrace, the perfect spot to watch the street come awake with a morning cup of coffee, or spend an afternoon relaxing in the sun.

BaseCamp Quito is also the orientation and training centre for international volunteers visiting Ecuador. In addition to accommodation and meals, BaseCamp Quito also provides volunteers with orientation, Spanish Language training (1 - 8 weeks), placement consultation and work plan seminars, as well as follow up and continued support while volunteers are at their placements. All of these services are available to guests who are interested.

Living With a Host Family in Ecuador

Living with a host family in Ecuador is a fantastic way to gain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the people and customs of the country. Each home-stay will provide a bed and three meals per day for our volunteers. The majority of host families offer private rooms with only one or two volunteers living with the family.

In the case of a volunteer lodge or ranger station (which is often the only option for placements within a National Park), volunteers will be living in dormitory type accommodation and meals will be provided in a mess hall or dining area.

Living with a host family can greatly enhance your performance at your placement. For one, it will have a huge influence on the speed with which you gain familiarity with the local language. This, along with your deeper understanding of cultural practices and beliefs that you are likely to gain in this environment, can go a long way to improving or strengthening your relationships with your team mates at work. Furthermore, a significant percentage of our host families are closely affiliated with the organizations with which our volunteers work. As such, even the evening meal or hanging out around the house can become valuable time during which volunteers can share their ideas and continue their support of their host organization.

All of this being said, living with a host family is not for everyone. It is very important for volunteers to honor the house rules in their host family and to be punctual. Also, depending on how remote your placement location, host families can be very rustic. Our staff in country can give you a better idea of what exactly you can expect from a host family in any particular community. However, in general, if these things sound like they might pose a challenge for you, we strongly suggest that you look at a placement within commuting distance from BaseCamp Ecuador.

How the Program Works

Our program structure and costing is completely flexible which lets our volunteers ensure that they only pay for exactly the degree of support that they want.

Option 1 - Free Services

Some volunteers prefer to coordinate their own accommodation, meals and other support while overseas.

Anyone is welcome to use our volunteer placement search tool to help in finding a placement that is well suited to their interests. Once someone finds a placement that they wish to work with, they are welcome to make all the rest of their arrangmeents on their own.

As well, our team of staff overseas are often able to offer a few helpful pointers for volunteers 'doing it on their own'. Just send us an email with your questions and we will put you in touch with our team abroad. We only ask that you keep your requests fairly general, as this type of advice is exactly how our team earn their living. :)

Option 2 - Placement Support - 250 USD

Other volunteers would like assistance in selecting and confirming their placement, but they plan to manage their own accommodation and other expenses on their own.

These volunteers have the option of choosing to only have our assistance with selecting and confirming their placement. This option also includes ongoing placement support while abroad, so a volunteer would be able to ask our team for help if things at their placement were not working out.

In providing Placement Support, our team works with each volunteer through email, telephone and either Skype or Google Hangouts, to ensure that each volunteer has a clear understanding of their placement options. Our in-country staff will put together a custom list of placement options for each volunteer that they believe are the most appropriate matches with the volunteer's background, skills and interests. Then each volunteer can work with our team both in Canada and abroad to go through each of the options and narrow-down their selection.

Option 3 - Full Program Support

For most volunteers who are volunteering for less than a year, they are looking for an option that includes their accommodation, meals, airport reception, country and program orientation and placement support. This is what our Program Fees are designed for.

We are proud of how over the years we have ensured that our program fees are amoungst the most reasonable of any program in the world while we continue to provide exceptional volunteer support both at home and abroad.

Our Program Fees and listings of what these do and do not include are listed below:

Program Fees

Program Fees - Ecuador

  Registration Fee
250
 
  1 Week
395
 
  2 Weeks
620
 
  3 Weeks
844
 
  4 Weeks
1,068
 
  5 Weeks
1,243
 
  6 Weeks
1,418
 
  7 Weeks
1,593
 
  8 Weeks
1,768
 
 
 
  Additional Weeks
175
 

Ecuador wildlife and conservation placements require an additional $7 USD per day fee to cover park fees and accommodation. All program fees are listed in US Dollars.

What is Included
  • Pre-Departure support
  • Placement consulation
  • Airport reception & transfer
  • 2 Day orientation
  • Accommodation (BaseCamp or host family)
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Emergency & placement support

What is Not Included
    Before Departure
  • International flight
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Visa costs where required
  • Work permits where required
    While Overseas
  • Daily transportation to and from placement
  • Transport to airport on departure
  • Placement fees if requried


Placement Fee Alert

This placement has a placement fee!

In some cases, a placement will have to take on certain expenses in order to host a volunteer. For example, some medical internship placements take time away from paid medical staff to help with educational assistance. This has a cost that is compensated by a placement fee. In other cases, the organization may have to pay for additional equipment, energy consumption or other expense in order to put a volunteer to work.

In such cases, the organizaiton charges a fee. This fee is paid directly to the organization in cash on the ground.

One of the reasons that we keep this fee separate is so that volunteers who do not pay us for accommodation, meals etc (Program Fees), will see that they will still have to make this payment directly to the organizaiton upon their arrival.

The placement fee for this organization is: 40 USD

Program Dates


Our regularly scheduled program start dates are the first Friday of each month, every month of the year. We strongly recommend beginning your program on one of these dates as this will allow you to go through our orientation alongside other international volunteers.

If you would prefer, our application will also allow you to select a custom start date for your program. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee for a custom start date which ranges from 50 to 75 USD.

Feb 01, 2019 Mar 01, 2019 Apr 05, 2019
May 03, 2019 Jun 07, 2019 Jul 05, 2019
Aug 02, 2019 Sep 06, 2019 Oct 04, 2019
Nov 01, 2019 Dec 06, 2019 Jan 03, 2020
Feb 07, 2020 Mar 06, 2020 Apr 03, 2020
May 01, 2020 Jun 05, 2020 Jul 03, 2020
Aug 07, 2020 Sep 04, 2020 Oct 02, 2020
Nov 06, 2020 Dec 04, 2020 Jan 01, 2021

PLEASE NOTE:

These dates are the day that volunteers should plan to arrive on the ground in country. We can accommodate arrivals in-country at any time day or night on these dates.

Give us a Call
Canada / USA 866-646-4693 (toll free)
UK 866-646-4693 (toll free)
Australia 866-646-4693 (toll free)
International 613-353-3000
Send us a Message