Park and Reserve Assistant Volunteer

Alianza Jatun Sacha - Pedernales, Ecuador
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-102 Location: Pedernales, Ecuador Sector: Wildlife and the Environment Category: Conservation Min Duration: 2 weeks Lodging: Host Family / Lodge Language: Basic Placement Fee: 75 USD
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Volunteer Job Description

Alianza Jatun Sacha is a private 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.

At the Bilsa Reserve Station in Pedernales, on the Ecuadorian coast, volunteers are needed to assist in numerous activities such as: maintaining the infrastructure of the station, maintaining the trails, assisting in the patrolling of reserve areas, data collecting of different types of species, assisting in research and the eradication of introduced species.

All reforestation volunteer work is highly appreciated by the organization and contributes much to the everyday functioning at the reserves thus helping in the conservation of ecosystems in Ecuador.

The Bilsa Station is a coastal location in Ecuador where reforestation volunteers are needed because the ecosystem is being destroyed by farmers. Volunteers help to reduce the impact of the destruction by helping the staff at the reserve in its efforts to protect the animals and plants residing within.

There is no educational background requirements to work at this placement but staff are looking forward to working with volunteers who have a positive attitude, a love for nature and the stamina to work outdoors in the Ecuadorian climate.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Centre for Plant Conservation

This Centre has a botanical garden and nursery that contains a collection of useful living plants of the Amazon Basin. Here a reforestation volunteer's duties may include the collection of seeds, soil preparation, maintenance of the infrastructure, as well as the care of forestry experimental tropical trees.

Organic Farm

This site is a demonstration and educational farm for communities. Here they conduct research into the varies types of food products that have the most positive results in the soil and climate of Ecuador. This is done for the benefit of Ecuadorian's personal use, as well as the possible potential of increasing their income by the production of alternative food sources.

Reforestation volunteers may be responsible for maintaining the vegetable gardens, soil preparation and maintenance of the compost. In addition, volunteers may be asked to visit the communities and work on organic farms with the families.

Cultural Craft Projects

A reforestation volunteer may be asked to work with members of the local communities on their craft projects. These craft items provide the people in the communities with an economic resource alternative to forest destruction in this region. This would probably involve working with kids and the older Ecuadorian population.

Construction of Huts

A reforestation volunteer may be asked to assist in the construction of huts on the reserves, as well as the maintenance of other infrastructures. Volunteers may also be asked to hike through the forests accompanied by staff to collect seeds and at the same time volunteers would have the opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna.

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

Pedernales, Ecuador

Bilsa Biological Station is located within the larger Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve. The goal of this Station is to conserve what little remains of rainforest in the province of Esmeraldas. Bilsa is situated 30kms from the coast and covers 3000 hectares, 80% of which is primary rain forests.

The area contains a unique composition of flora and fauna, internationally renowned for both its high levels of biodiversity and rarity. Although physically isolated from the Andes, Bilsa possesses species previously thought to be endemic to the western Andean highland forest 100 km to the southwest, as well as species endemic to the Chocó, a pluvial forest of southern coastal Colombia.

The region's rugged topography - 300 to 800 meters and the coastal climate creates a dense fog which shrouds all of Bilsa's sleepers ridges. This area is nothing less than spectacular.

Transfer From BaseCamp

From the Trans Esmeraldas Bus Terminal in Mariscal volunteers will take a direct bus to Quinindé, which will take around four to five hours. After arriving in Quinindé volunteers will wait for a truck which will take them to Ye De La Laguna, where they will spend the night with a host family. The next day a member of the BaseCamp organization will escort the volunteers by horse/mule to Bilsa.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 210 kms
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 4:30

Weather in the Area

Being located on the coast of Ecuador, the climate is dry in Pedernales, but because of the influence of the elevations near the sea, the sea winds and mountains have enabled the climate to take on a semi-wet condition.

In most areas the rainy season lasts from December to June, and the dry from July to November. However, there are places where it rains most of the year.

The average temperature ranges between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius, with a rainfall precipitation of 2,000 to 4,000 millimetres per year.

City/Village Description

Pedernales is located in the north-west corner of the province of Manabi, in the Republic of Ecuador in South America. Crossed by the equator, the city of Pedernales, is thus divided into northern and southern hemispheres; creating a true paradise.

It is a market town, with its most important product being shrimp. A row of palm trees over 20 miles long adorns the beaches, which are the most extensive in Ecuador. The white sandy beaches which gave this paradise its name, are distinguished by a rocky bank that sits on a seabed of sprouting flints and marmoline stones of different colours.

A creek runs through the town and goes to the beach in the city of Pedernales. This beach is not recommended for use by volunteers or tourists. From there, head north to some of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador.

As the Cojimies Peninsula comes to an end, so begins the beautiful mangrove forests which despite predation have continued to flourish and remain a sound ecological point for this area.

Pedernales is surrounded by both wet and dry tropical forests, which is a unique geographic condition that very few countries in the world have.

Nearest Medical Clinic

General Hospital Quinindé
Av. 6 de Dicciembre 410 y M. Villegas. frente a la escuela Sagrado Corazon.
TEL 1: (593-7) 2887817

Placement Address

Alianza Jatun Sacha
Puerto Balao

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: 75 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 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
Nov 03, 2023 Dec 01, 2023 Jan 05, 2024


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