FreeWildlifeBrazil Celine is an animal release center situated in the Atlantic Forest. We combat the hunting, trafficking and illegal capture of wild animals and offer them a chance of freedom!
The Eco-Volunteer role is a joint role between IPBio (Biodiversity Research Institute) and Celine (Animal Release Center) which contains a range of activities that are conducted in a group. The majority of these tasks are field activities so this is for volunteers who like to be outside and enjoy physical activity. Not all these projects occur at the same time as various projects are seasonal. Tasks of an eco-volunteer are not limited to the roles below but we have listed the main areas that the eco-volunteer will participate in:
- Tree Inventory: we study the biodiversity in different areas of the reserve to assess forest well-being. In the process we can understand the distribution of fruit tree species which is particularly important for Celine. Why? Imagine you are releasing a parrot which only eats a certain fruit and it only grows between June and July. Therefore, you should only release this parrot during these months to ensure it has available food thereby increasing the chances of a successful release. Moreover, these birds are tagged and monitored after their reintroduction to the wild to ensure they are adapting well and therefore identifying fruit trees in the area will increase the likelihood of finding the bird to monitor their progress.
- Garden Day: as a group we help out in the gardening, construction, and maintenance of the reserves grounds. This is hard but rewarding work!
- Mushroom Inventory: we search for new species of mushrooms in order to identify them, photograph them, and collect their spore prints (which are like a mushroom's fingerprint). In addition, we conduct searches at night to find bioluminescent mushrooms, which light up the floor in an avatar-like fashion.
- Tadpole Research: we have various projects related to tadpoles and we often need the help of volunteers to collect these tadpoles.
- Bird Inventory: explore the forest strategically in order to inventory species of birds on the reserve as well as understand their distribution patterns and their seasonality.
- Mammal Monitoring via Cameratraps: we have cameras filming 24/7 in the forest but all this data needs to be sorted. Volunteers are tasked with watching the footage, organizing the photos of mammals, and identifying the species.
- Fish Inventory: many birds are aquatic and live on the banks of rivers waiting to scoop up a fish. We study the biodiversity of fish in order to support the birds Celine releases and sometimes we need to bring them back a tasty snack.
As you can imagine, in the rainforest it rains quite a lot. If every time it rained we stopped working we would never get any work done so often we need to keep going. However, sometimes it rains too much and when it does, volunteers sit in the comfort of the reserve and help us in other areas such as:
- Literature Research: Conduct online research to help us improve or set up new projects.
- Communications: Support us in expanding our network via social media or find university contacts so we can develop partnerships.
- Creative Projects: Such as creating beautiful birdhouses or art for the volunteer house.
2) Photography and Producing Videos
Are you interested or experienced with photography and/or producing videos? Create short documentaries about the birds we release exposing the horrific illegal trade of animals as well as recounting the process of their rescue and their release back into the wild at Celine. Create videos to promote the volunteer program by interviewing volunteers and filming their exciting weekend activities. In addition, you can help us by expanding our wildlife database of photos and videos on flora and fauna of the Atlantic Forest.
3) Volunteer Coordinator
IPBio and Celine currently have 2 full-time staff members dedicated to the management of the volunteer program; however, with the increase in capacity we are looking for a volunteer coordinator who can support the Volunteer Manager in organizing the daily tasks of volunteers. The volunteer coordinator must be able to learn about the various projects quickly and have leadership qualities. The volunteer coordinator is in a position of authority and, thus, must accept the responsibility that comes with this role.
4) Communications and Fundraising
Volunteers can help us in raising international awareness about our organization and the illegal trade of birds by improving our website and social media, seeking partners for our organization, developing presentations and pamphlets, and writing grants to fund our projects and purchase equipment.
5) Website Developer
FreeWildlifeBrazil Celine is looking for a web developer to add new content (such as a section with independent pages describing our projects), add new features to our website, improve the aesthetics, and organize the website structure.
Volunteers will stay at the Darwin Guest House, situated on the reserve itself, which accommodates up to 12 people in 8 rooms. Two rooms are collective rooms and 6 rooms are single rooms. All rooms have air conditioning, closet space, and electricity outlets. Individual rooms have a desk with a chair. The house has 3 bathrooms with hot showers, a washing machine, and a fully equipped kitchen where volunteers can cook.
- Volunteers will purchase their own food and cook for themselves, however, they can also use our organic herb patch
Volunteers pay in reais (the currency of Brazil). There is a charge of 550 reais a week for accommodation at the reserve (at January 2018 exchange rate this comes to 170 dollars a week - however this does change due to currency fluctuations).
FreeWildlifeBrazil Celine was founded by Martine Schmid-Fiorini and Pedro Schmid, both Swiss veterinarians, who worried about the fate of the wild animals coming from illegal trafficking and seized by local authorities. In an improvised installation at their residence in Iporanga, they began to care for wild animals, enabling their return to nature. Their activities attracted attention and gained recognition in the region by the local population as well as by environmental authorities. Thus, familiar with the necessary care and the requirements for the release of wild animals, they founded FreeWildlife Brazil Celine in the Atlantic Forest.
FreeWildlife Brazil Celine primarily focuses on the release of native birds and monitors their progress after reintroduction. The Release Center, with a management area of 4 hectares, is situated in the municipality of Iporanga on the Betary Reserve. We have partnered with IPBio (Biodiversity Research Institute), an NGO that also works on the Betary Reserve with whom we cooperate closely, to develop a joint volunteer program.
- Protect the Atlantic Forest, an important biome that houses many endemic and endangered species.
- Release wild animals in their natural environment using appropriate technologies to rehabilitate and monitor the species seeking the protection of faunistic communities.
- Offer the chance of freedom to illegally captured animals.
- Combat the hunting, trafficking and illegal capture of wild animals.
- Promote a more sustainable relationship between the local community and the environment in which they live.
Admiration - For the exuberance of the Atlantic Forest and its biodiversity.
Compassion - With living things and wildlife. We believe in respect for animals and their habitat.
Protection - Willingness to help protect the great heritage of biodiversity.