Park and Reserve Assistant Volunteer

Alianza Jatun Sacha - Esmeraldas, Ecuador
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-110 Location: Esmeraldas, 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

Alianza Jatun Sacha is an Ecuadorian organization dedicated to the conservation of forest, aquatic and mountain ecosystems through technical training and scientific research; with a strong focus on investigation, environmental education, community development and the management of ecologically important habitat.

All reforestation volunteer work is highly appreciated by the organization and contributes much to the everyday functioning at the reserves.

At the Lalo Loor Reserve volunteers are needed to assist in numerous activities such as: helping to recuperate the forest by working at the reforestation plot; work at the Eco-Centre which needs constant attention and updating of their information display; participate in ongoing research projects that track the recuperation of wildlife; help to assess the potential impact that tourism has on resident howler monkeys; assist with ongoing environmental education and community development programs; help maintain the trails and the signs on these trails, including the brand-new "Three Forests Trail", that will connect the Lalo Loor Reserve to several other forests.

The Lalo Loor Reserve presents many exciting opportunities for volunteers. Live under the palms, fall asleep to bird songs and wake up to monkeys chattering overhead.

Any reforestation volunteers do not need any specialized education or experience but must enjoy working outdoors and have the stamina to do so in the Ecuadorian climate.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Trail Maintenance

At Lalo Loor there are existing trails that have become overgrown and require clearing and restoring . Some reforestation volunteers would help: to build trails, mark trails with arrows and signs and also help in the cleaning and clearing of current trails.

Environmental Education

Reforestation volunteers would be expected to implement environmental education programs at the reserve for local school groups and other visitors, as well as teach environmental themes in local schools with local teachers. Volunteers would also be expected to participate in campaigns and events all over the community that are aimed at promoting environmental issues.

Reforestation Activities

Reforestation volunteers may be asked to participate in collecting tree seeds and planting them in the nursery and then assist in the care required. Volunteers may be asked to assist at local schools in establishing their own nurseries or help to install and/or repair fences around reforestation and regeneration sites, as well as take measurements of tree growth and record the data collected.

Forest Guide

Reforestation volunteers would be expected to assist with the daily operations at the nature centre. You would be greeting and orienting visitors, guiding hikes, organizing and maintaining records, creating and maintaining educational displays and materials and generally assist wherever necessary.

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

Esmeraldas, Ecuador

The Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve protects 200 hectares (approx. 500 acres) of tropical deciduous forest, south of the town of Pedernales, in the Pacific coastal province of Manabí, Ecuador.

This reserve lies in a transition zone between the very wet forests to the north and the very dry forests to the south. As such, the Lalo Loor Dry Forest is incredibly diverse, having representative species from both kinds of habitat. In fact, this particular forest reserve is considered by many experts to be one of the most unique and pristine locations in the entire region. Ceiba recently signed a conservation agreement with the reserve's owner, Sr. Lalo Loor, to protect the forest and develop the site as an educational and tourist destination.

Transfer From BaseCamp

Take the 9 a.m. bus from Quito to Pedernales (5 ½ hours, $6.50 approx). The bus departs from the Quitumbe bus terminal in Quito (South of Quito). Once in the bus terminal look for the “Transvencedores” bus company office to purchase your ticket to Pedernales. At the Pedernales bus station, take a bus heading south towards Jama, Canoa or San Vicente (25 mins., $1.00). After leaving Pedernales, you will pass through Coaque, Palmar, Cabuya and Tabuga. The Lalo Loor Reserve is 2 km after the town of Tabuga. You must mention to the bus driver that you want to be dropped off at the “Reserva Lalo Loor” after Tabuga. At the entrance to the reserve you will see a round, yellow, thatched building which is our environmental interpretation center and a large sign that reads ¨Reserva Bosque Seco Lalo Loor¨. The entire trip takes around 7½ hours. Estimated time of arrival to the reserve is 4:30 p.m.

Once you have arrived at the reserve there will be staff members to greet you and walk you up to the volunteer accommodations. If there are no staff members in the environmental centre when you arrive, you can reach the volunteer station by entering the gate on the far right hand side of the front garden next to the large tree (not the gate that says Entrada al Bosque). Follow the path along the barb-wire fence until you reach a second wooden gate, after passing through the second wooden gate, continue another 300 meters until you reach the station. Please close all gates behind you so cattle do not enter the reserve. If you arrive at night please use a flash light and keep a look out for snakes.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 260 kms
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 7:30

Weather in the Area

Average temperatures vary between 24 degrees Celsius and 32 degrees, depending on the season. There are two defined seasons; "tropical monsoon" with 40% moisture, from the months of June to November with an average temperature of 21°C. And "tropical rain" with a moisture content of almost 100%, lasting from November to May in the central basin and northern outer coast, with an average temperature of 28°C.

City/Village Description

Esmeraldas is a coastal city in northwestern Ecuador. It is the seat of the Esmeraldas Canton and capital of the Esmeraldas Province. It has an international sea port and a small airport. Esmeraldas is the major seaport of northwestern Ecuador, and it lies on the Pacific coast at the mouth of the Esmeraldas River.

The city is the principal trading hub for the region's agricultural and lumber resources, and is the terminus of the 504-km Trans-Ecuadorian Pipeline from the oil fields in northeastern Ecuador.

Esmeraldas is well known around Latin America given the large number of locals that have historically played in the Ecuadorian national football team.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Espejo 400 Ecuador, Esmeraldas
TEL 1: (593) (6) 2726520

Placement Address

Alianza Jatun Sacha
Eugenio De Santillàn N34-248

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
  1 Week
  2 Weeks
  3 Weeks
  4 Weeks
  5 Weeks
  6 Weeks
  7 Weeks
  8 Weeks
  Additional Weeks

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.

Nov 05, 2021 Dec 03, 2021 Jan 07, 2022
Feb 04, 2022 Mar 04, 2022 Apr 01, 2022
May 06, 2022 Jun 03, 2022 Jul 01, 2022
Aug 05, 2022 Sep 02, 2022 Oct 07, 2022
Nov 04, 2022 Dec 02, 2022 Jan 06, 2023
Feb 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023 Apr 07, 2023
May 05, 2023 Jun 02, 2023 Jul 07, 2023
Aug 04, 2023 Sep 01, 2023 Oct 06, 2023


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