IPBio- Biodiversity Research Institute
IPBio- Biodiversity Research Institute Programs
IPBio- Biodiversity Research Institute Reviews
Three weeks in the Atlantic forest
Submitted by Annie - London England | April 13, 2017
My time at Reserva Betary has been a wonderful experience, throughout my time I have been working on the forest inventory project which has allowed me to practice various practical skills and learn a lot about the surrounding area of Iporanga and the Atlantic Forest. Only being here three weeks has meant I haven't seen a lot of the area as I would have liked to but I have still been on several excursions on weekends to caves and boya crossing on the various rivers which has been great fun! For anyone wanting to learn Portuguese this is the perfect place as many of the staff do not speak English, so you'd have plentiful time to practice. The people in the area are very friendly and make you feel at home instantly. Every weekend there is some sort of bbq happening which are great as you eat the local specialities as well as perfecting caprihana making! There has been two other volunteers here whilst I have been here which has been fun but sometimes nice to have more people around. Overall the stay was fantastic and would recommend to anyone who wants to do something different and help the environment at the same time.
Program: Tree Inventory and Monitoring
Voluntariado com fauna e flora
Submitted by Ruth - Universidade de Brasilia | March 19, 2017
Estive no Ipbio durante ótimas 3 semanas. A estrutura do instituto nos oferece tudo o que é necessário e a equipe todo o suporte. Como estudante de engenharia florestal foi uma experiência incrível pois pude auxiliar em uma lista de flora da reserva Betary, além de trabalhar com peixes, tartarugas e análise de desenvolvimento de girinos. Durante o tempo livre pude Visitar belos lugares da região, como cavernas e cachoeiras, e me divertir com novos amigos de diferentes lugares.
Fui muito bem recebida por todos, que fizeram questão de me acolher desde o momento da aplicação até a minha volta. . Pude praticar diferentes idiomas, fotografar a região do Vale do Ribeira, onde existe a maior extensão de Mata Atlântica contínua preservada e conhecer mais sobre comunidades tradicionais da região. Sentirei saudades e voltaria com certeza!
Program: Biodiversity Research Assistant
Volunteer coordinator & communications coordinator
Submitted by Matt | March 08, 2017
I had an excellent time working at IPBio. My work was varied, and I was able to help in different areas across the reserve. I helped to facilitate the reserves amphibian research program wherein I hiked across the reserve weekly doing field work. In addition, I updated the reserves volunteer package and helped to produce several informational packages. Living at the reserve was very comfortable, and on the weekends we engaged in numerous activities including: exploring caves, hiking to waterfalls, tubing down rivers, and much more. Overall, my time at IPBio could not have been better spent. I met some incredible people from all over the world and learned a lot. The landscape was stunning, and the rainforest unforgettable.
Submitted by Charlotte Uhlig - Germany | February 28, 2017
I had a wonderful time at Reserva Betary!
Living in the middle of the rainforest was so different from everything I knew! I worked with Rafael, the gardener. Helping him with trail maintenance was a good choice for me. Even though it was definitely the hardest I have ever physically worked, the environment is so different to what I am used to and there was so much new to learn and see. I enjoyed my time in the garden very much.
Rafael is the most patient and kind person, and we got along really well. In general, the people I lived with are all together extraordinary and make you feel like you are at home here. Everybody seems very happy to welcome you. Living with the other volunteers was also very cool. Since it was my first time volunteering, I expected there to be more difficulties, but we had a great time!
Summing it all up, I definitely recommend staying. I am sure you will enjoy your time there!
Program: Gardening & Reserve Maintenance
Bioluminescent Mushroom Researcher, 3 months
Submitted by Antonia - Munich Germany | January 22, 2017
Antonia, Germany, 18 years, 3 months as a bioluminescent mushroom researcher
When I started looking for volunteer programs abroad focusing on research, there weren't many to find, if at all (with no professional experience on my side). I was very lucky to find the Bioluminescent Mushroom Researching Program and it sounded really cool (I mean glowing mushrooms!). After I applied everything happened fast, their volunteer coordinator replied the next day, I got all the necessary information and we skyped shortly afterwards.
So I was to become a bioluminescent mushroom researcher for 3 months (09/16-12/16)!
Before and during my stay, IPBio was really taking care, responding quickly, providing all the necessary information and helping where they could.
There were only two things I would have liked to know or to have it emphasized:
Me and the other "mushroom girl" were the first mushroom volunteers thus we started from scratch and had to experience a lot of failure and the researching was more of a cultivation attempt than "researching" as I had had it in mind. But, the positive side of it was that we were really able to work independently and contribute own ideas that were realised, it was fun! Plus, the whole IPBio team consists of young, partly international, motivated people, always nice to have around. And they were always around since you work together and spend most of your free time together, barbecuing, hiking, drinking a caipirinha from time to time.. They are great!
The second thing, I liked to have had emphasized was the fact that you live in a little cabin/bungalow in the Betary Reserve in the middle of nowhere surrounded by trees. That can be cool, but in my case there was only one other volunteer and thank god we liked each other (otherwise we probably would have ended like good old Jack Torrance :D)! The rest of the team lives in town, 6km away. Well, you can like it or you don't, I think it's just important to know that it can get really desolate and isolating if there aren't at least 2-3 other volunteers around, even if the place is stunningly beautiful.
More about the mushroom researching:
For Sierra (the other volunteer) and me the plan was to try different substrates to cultivate the mushroom on, to find the best and to optimize the cultivation process focusing on other factors like speed of growth, cost etc. After the first round of tests we had to lower our expectations a bit and focus on the sterilization process and other factors that might have caused the failure. In the end we had loads of information and had tried many different ways of doing what we did but unfortunately still couldn't really show a result. But, we decided on the next steps to take, unfortunately for us, they were to be taken by the next mushroom researchers. But I'll keep up and check from Germany how they are doing! :D
All in all I had a great time, I was able to meet awesome knew people, learn more about mushrooms and the atlantic rainforest in general and to be responsible for myself in the middle of nowhere, without even speaking Portuguese (what I should have learned in advance however, language can become a real barrier). Plus, IPBio and its volunteer program are really young and still to develop. The things I criticized all relate to the fact that Sierra and me belong to the first volunteers to ever have been there and I really believe that IPBio has a great potential and the right people working there to achieve the improvement and development they are capable of! And they need you next volunteers to get there :) I also think I’m going to come back at some point, when I’m a bit older and the volunteer program a bit further, because it simply is a beautiful place!