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Jungle Conservation—Volunteer in Peru!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    6

Wonderful experience

I volunteered at ITA in March 2015 for two weeks. The experience has been absolutely amazing and enlightening. I loved learning about the different techniques used for conservation research. The amount and variety of hands-on experience was great, we got to handle and tag birds, set butterfly traps, track animals, plant palm trees and work at the farm. Volunteer group leaders Helmut and Noe are very friendly and will always provide ample information about the projects. Bring lots of bug spray and a raincoat if you are going in the wet season months. The food is very repetitive, but I personally loved it because everything is fresh and natural. Depending on the number of volunteers staying at ITA, it can either get very loud or very quiet, I got to experience both in my two weeks there. My suggestions are - be flexible and open-minded about the tasks you are asked to complete, prepare to have very short notice before an assignment (bit of a lack of scheduling here, but I didn't mind), ask questions, absorb information, enjoy the experience and you will become a slightly different person by the time you leave Casa ITA. At least that worked for me :) Feel free to email me with questions: inna.ilyantseva@gmail.com

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Jungle Conservation at ITA

The few days we spent at ITA were great fun, we got to do a lot of hard work but it was all worthwhile!! My experiences in the Amazon will follow me for the rest of my life with my greater appreciation for nature and farming as well as a greater passion for my work back home in Hawaii in conservation and outreach. I'm very thankful for the team at IVHQ, Maximo, and ITA for all their efforts. I would encourage anyone and everyone to try this wonderful program.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    7

Something jungle related

Expect Thoreau at Walden Pond, except a guy named Pablo living in the Peruvian jungle. The lodge is as much about conservation as it is about living humbly and appreciating the tranquility of nature. Pablo decided to live where he does to help heal the forest and to live freely, at an arms distance from our contrived society. He also chose the specific location because the altitude is not muggy or buggy and its above the towns so the river is pristine. He's at peace there, as was I. After six weeks I felt mellow and perfectly content in silence, reading and self reflecting. Almost to a flaw because more people came the last two weeks and I had noticeably lost some social skills, but they also dislodged my introverted inertia which I think was healthy for me at the time. The best experience there, or anywhere, is a happy medium of engagement with society and detachment from it.

The answer to every question imaginable in the jungle is "whatever you want." Or wherever, whenever, and however. Expect total freedom and lack of structure based on the shared understanding that when people have the right to do what they want, they want to do what is right. Whether that be help cook, work purposefully, do the dishes, swim in the river or anything else that may be happening. It all runs smoothly. No need to ask questions about what the plan is for today because nobody knows until it happens...a sort of functional chaotic order. You might go to the town or work or nap or read all depending on the circumstances but Pablo doesn't make plans and pretty quick you'll lose track of the date and the time, living in rhythm with the sun.

Everything I could say about logistics and what not you would find out soon enough upon arrival and find yourself perfectly comfortable with it. Only truly required thing to know ahead of time is bring peanut butter. Or any kind of breakfast spread would be greatly appreciated by all. Of everything I'm writing that's by far the most objectively valid statement I can make about Tierra Linda: bring peanut butter.
...and plenty of reading materials for bedtime and the midday siesta when its too hot to work(Btw Pablo would appreciate any books in Spanish-he ran out a while ago). In terms of any gifts or bring-and-leave-behind type stuff: infinite books, any foods from the city, a portable hammock would be cool, and Risk would be perfect for rainy days if someone could come through. There's plenty more I want to say, but words don't do it justice. Some experiences are better had than told.

Oh yea, effectively limitless bananas.