Nature Reserve Volunteer
Founded in 2002, Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is a private, non-profit cloudforest reserve in the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica. Beginning with the purchase of degraded farmland, Cloudbridge has been actively reforesting the area in order to connect the forests of the Cerro Chirripó National Park with adjacent nature reserves and forested areas. Beyond reforestation work, Cloudbridge is also committed to environmental education and conducting research on the unique and diverse cloudforest ecosystem.
Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is looking for general volunteers to help out in our reserve. Volunteers are matched with a variety of projects based on Cloudbridge’s needs, and your strengths and desires. All volunteer projects are important to the health and functioning of the reserve and to furthering our reforestation work and research. See the end of the posting for a list of potential projects.
Many volunteers have come back years later to see the impact of their efforts on forest regeneration. While at the reserve, you’ll meet and work with like-minded people from all over the world, each with a passion for the environment and their own experiences and expertise to share.
The volunteer experience gained here often furthers academic or career goals. However, you do not need a background in biology or environmental studies in order to contribute. Whatever your skills are, we can put them to good use! Everyone gets hands-on learning around forest recovery and conservation, sees the progress of the plantation, hikes the Reserve’s steep slopes and enjoys the views of the valleys and waterfalls. 100% of your contribution goes directly to cloud forest reforestation, education and protection.
Volunteers stay in one of our dormitories and share kitchen and living spaces with our other researchers, interns and volunteers. Dorms rooms cost $17 USD/night for stays over 30 days, $20 USD/night for stays under 30 days. Some private rooms with queen beds may be available (subject to current occupancy) for an additional fee. Food costs and cooking are the responsibility of the volunteer. A basic, vegetarian diet typically costs around $4-6 USD per day.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Complete assigned tasks to the best of your ability,
- Greet visitors at the Welcome Centre (rota shared between all volunteers, researchers and interns),
- Perform required cleaning duties in shared living areas; and,
- Participate in reserve activities and community events.
- Basic English communication skills.
- Must be able to commit to 2 weeks.
- Minimum 18 years of age.
- Able to pay for your food and accommodation for the duration of your stay.
- Able to pay the $200 USD good faith fee upon acceptance. This fee is credited towards the last two weeks of your accommodation payment.
- Able to work independently or in pairs and teams.
- Self-motivated, with good timekeeping, and ability to meet realistic deadlines.
- Comfortable living in a close knit community.
- Demonstrate good judgement and common sense in a wilderness environment.
- Position is located in the montane cloudforest of the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica, adjacent to Cerro Chirripó National Park.
- 6 hour work day, typically (7 am – 1 pm), 5 days a week.
- Often required to work outdoors under varying weather conditions.
To learn more about Cloudbridge, please visit our website at www.cloudbridge.org and check out the Volunteer/Research section (http://cloudbridge.org/volunteering/) for more detailed information on the volunteer program.
To apply, please fill out our application form at http://cloudbridge.org/volunteering/volunteer-application/.
Potential Volunteer Projects
- Tree nursery: Collect and propagate seeds
- Planting trees: Plant seedlings throughout the reserve
- Tree maintenance: Mulch and weed to help young seedlings thrive
- Assist independent researchers and research interns with field work, lab work, data entry and other tasks
Garden and landscape design
- Landscape design: Design and plant several flower gardens
- Garden maintenance: Weed and maintain flower and vegetable gardens
- Vegetable garden: For longer stays, you may have the option to plant and raise much of your own food
Grounds and infrastructure
- Trail building and maintenance: Building wood or stone steps, trail markers, signs and water runoff trenches
- Carpentry: Build benches, shelters and information boards
- Building maintenance: Repair and improve existing buildings
- Hydro system: Perform repairs, maintenance and improvements
Guest and community outreach and education
- Welcome Centre: Greet and help educate guests of the reserve
- Visitor and donor outreach: Email information and fundraising initiatives to visitors and donors
- Community outreach: Liaise with community organizations and businesses, such as hotels and hostels
- Educational outreach: Develop and conduct local educational programs
- Fundraising: Assist with developing and improving fundraising initiatives
Digital, IT and Design (some of these tasks may be done remotely)
- Web/blog: Writing (including html coding) and content management
- Social media: Posting and management
- Website design: Visual and UX design for the website
- GIS: Mapping of reserve trails, boundaries, habitats and research data
- Graphic design: Signage, brochures and educational displays
- Marketing: Develop and improve marketing and promotion initiatives