Volunteering Abroad Shouldn't Cost the Earth

Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest Restoration Brazil



We are a nonprofit, registered in Brazil and in the US as a 501(c) (3) - situated in one of the world's top biodiversity hotspots: the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Our goal is to discover better ways to care for the forest and protect our extraordinary biodiversity while generating forest based incomes and improving rural livelihoods. Our headquarters, in the Iracambi Research Center, is located in a protected area which includes old-growth and succession forest, swamps, and partially degraded land. At our Research Center you'll be on the front line of biodiversity conservation and sustainability gaining first-hand experience in reforestation, environmental educational, medicinal plants and community outreach. Facilities at the Research Center include accommodation for 26 researchers, volunteers and visitors, classroom, field laboratory, Visitor center, restaurant, forest nursery, system of forest trails and a GIS database. Iracambi also owns the Pico da Graminha Forest Reserve, located around 3 kilometers from the Center, which serves as a base providing overnight accommodation for researchers and visitors. We're working with local farmers whereby together we plant native and productive tree species in order to increase farm incomes, restore degraded soils, protect water sources and increase habitat for biodiversity. This process begins at the favourite place on our campus: the nursery. Creating and maintaining healthy seedlings requires a lot of work: from collecting seeds to caring for the seedlings, ensuring they are healthy for planting. The tree seedlings are planted at a very specific time of year, when the summer rains start (the water season), which increases their chance of survival. All of this requires visiting farmers at different times during this process (before, during and after planting) to choose the planting area, to prepare the soil, to maintain the trees during the two-year period - always offering guidance necessary to achieve the best results!



Rosario da Limeira, Minas Gerais, Brazil

A strong desire to leave the world a better place than you found it. A sense of adventure and a sense of humor will help! Whatever your skill set we can make use of it, and, during your visit, you'll certainly acquire new skill sets you never knew you could. Be prepared for changing weather! Dress in layers and have appropriate clothing for light rain or to protect against full exposure to sun. Bring work gloves and wear sturdy boots or shoes, long pants and long-sleeved T-shirts. Bring sunscreen, mosquito repellent and a hat that will protect your ears and neck. Irritants may include ticks, mosquitos, bees, plants, sunburn, and blisters. Special precautions for preventing exposure and reducing irritants will be explained before and when you arrive. Volunteers use a variety of hand tools under the instruction of our staff. Participants can include anyone in good physical condition.

Dates of program:
Year round

Duration of program:
2 weeks minimum, 6 months maximum

Age requirement:
Adults of both sexes 18+ (we can arrange for family visits)

US$210 a week including accommodation and three delicious meals a day (please contact us if you have dietary restrictions or requirements).

Other information:
We are located in a rural area on the edge of the rainforest, so if you're after the bright lights of the city this won't be for you! You'll be sharing our rainforest campus with students and staff from different countries with different backgrounds and different experiences. There is 24 hour internet access - except during heavy storms, but no television. This is the place to unwind after hours, to stroll through the forest, take a dip in a forest pool, lie out on the deck and look at the stars, do a little yoga, or relax in a hammock with a good book.


The Place to Be
"If you want a volunteering opportunity with lasting impact, this is the place to be. Variety of activities are available from nursery work, tree planting, community partnership/education, etc. The project doing a great job. We need more organizations doing environment conservation and protection and community education."- Reyno Jison Abasolo
Phenomenal opportunity
"If you are reading this and are soon to embark on a volunteer mission at this Research Center, congratulations, you have made a fabulous life decision. As background, my husband and I volunteered for approximately one month here in January 2019. We hail from New York City and although we are not city kids by any means, we had our reservations when first arriving. It is natural. We can assure you that whatever fears or hesitation you may be feeling will dissipate almost immediately after arrival at the stunning grounds and after meeting their friendly and welcoming full-time staff. Nestled away in the Atlantic Rainforest, the tranquillity cannot be understated. The accommodations will be basic, but there is very little you need in life when surrounded by the beauty and diversity of nature. There is one main cabin and several surrounding chalets. Our suggestion would be to opt for the main cabin for lodging - it is where all the action is. After just a couple of days of working and exploring with your fellow volunteers and staff, you all start to feel like family. This includes the wonderful Thor himself, who is a playful & charming dog that becomes a frequent tag-along. Now, we will not lead you astray, this is hard work. But you get out of the experience what you put into it, so give it your all! This project offers a wide array of activities and ways to contribute. I particularly enjoyed helping in the nursery with planting, identifying seedlings, weeding, watering, etc. My husband appreciated the workout from working in the nearby farm, cleaning up the area around recently planted trees and ensuring there was nothing encroaching on the potatoes and other crops. We both had a personal mission of completing the trail maintenance of this one specific trail near the main house. There is work to be done via educating local children and alternative work with medicinal plants. Iracambi is a treasure trove of opportunity, which you will quickly learn. We have not even touched upon the wealth of knowledge the founders, Binka & Robin have and what they will teach you about the history, current status, and future goals for the area you will be residing in. It is all truly inspirational. The staff and those frequenting Iracambi tend to be big activists and we encourage you to interact as much as possible in order to tap into a diverse set of knowledge that may not be so easily accessible back home. While you may be beaten up after the first week you will likely come to two realizations. The first is that in order to naturally achieve progress, without the aid of machinery or pesticides, it is truly hard work. A newfound or heightened respect will be garnered for farmers and laborers out there worldwide. The second realization, or thought in this case, may be that you have labored so much and yet have seen little progress or achievement. On this second point, our advice is simply just wait. We held similar notions, but towards the end of our commitment we paid a trip to the nursery and were able to transplant several of the new seedlings, which had sprouted at this point, we had found in the forest on day one and planted shortly thereafter. This was magical. It was something visceral that we had created and it was going to help make the world a better place. We made lifelong friends along the way, learned so much about rainforest conservation, restoration, and preservation, and find ourselves continually caring about and being involved in the effort."- Lily Gawrych

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If you visit and apply via the website please mention that you saw this project on volunteerlatinamerica.com.