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Past Volunteering Experience
Organizations I Support
"Celine is the animal release center which works with IPBio. I was an eco-volunteer with IPBio, so I cannot say much on the work of Celine. I can say I really enjoyed working with the people at IPBio and I do believe that you would be working with the same folks (they are amazing people who really want to share their knowledge of the Atlantic Forest with you as well as make a very kind effort to get to know you - even if there is a communication barrier). I did do some gardening at Celine where we planted cassava roots, banana trees, and palm trees - work was among the more physical work I did during my time with IPBio but overall not unmanageably physical (the banana trees were smaller, and the palm trees were seeds - the tools for digging were the annoying part…). I also did 8 weeks of tree inventory on Celine's property to understand how the trees are growing in an effort to track forest stage (pioneering, secondary, etc.). Around the time I got here (June 2018), Celine had just got its official permit to start releasing animals, so the facility did not actually house any animals, but from what I have been told, it should start receiving animals soon. Although, on that note, it seems like it will only be birds; I remember reading/seeing online that they were releasing some mammals, but this doesn't seem to be the case for this new facility. I am not sure what volunteers will be doing for this facility in particular, but I hope that my review is helpful in reassuring you that the people you will be working for are great, the facilities you will stay in are clean, comfortable, and probably exceed your expectations, and that IPBio has good intentions in protecting and preserving the species of the Atlantic Forest (and they are very appreciative of their volunteers!)."
"I stayed at the Betary Reserve for about 10 weeks from June to August. This has been such an amazing experience. The people here definitely made the stay what it was - Imran and Marleen are both great to work for, the staff has been super friendly, and the other volunteers have made this trip what it was. I do not speak any Portuguese, so it was not always easy to communicate with the others who work here, but they made an effort to engage which was super nice of all of them. The science done here is not super rigorous, so if you are looking to gain lab skills this might not be the best place for you. But if you are looking to understand the enjoyment, as well as challenges, of doing field science this is a great place. For the most part, the Betary Reserve provides a chill work environment. The work is not super physically or mentally demanding, and not all the projects feel as purposeful as others, but they were all enjoyable. I was here in the winter, so it wasn't very hot, humid, or rainy, but it should be mentioned that the winter down here can get cold. I definitely did not prepare the best for this, so if you come in the winter I would suggest a decently warm sweater or jacket (some nights I would need to wear all of my clothes to stay warm - but luckily most days and nights were not too bad). The volunteer home is nice (and currently a new one is being built). I had a private room in a dorm style living space - although there are some shared rooms and it seems that it is just the luck of the draw on which one you get placed in. We have access to a laundry machine, and even in the winter, the clothes dried pretty well outside (sunny days help). The weekend activities range from hiking through caves and waterfalls to town parties in the small, yet surprisingly social and fun town of Iporanga. I would definitely recommend the Betary Reserve as a volunteer experience! (This is an honest review, but it should be mentioned that we are guided and given time in the last week to write reviews so that future volunteers can have a better picture of the work and experiences created at the Betary Reserve)."