IPBio- Biodiversity Research Institute
IPBio- Biodiversity Research Institute Programs
IPBio- Biodiversity Research Institute Reviews
Listening to the North Atlantic Forest
Submitted by Alex G Bernacchi - Chicago United States | September 18, 2017
I worked as a BioAcoustics Researcher with IPBio for two months as the 2nd volunteer to work on the project. As an Engineer with a love of the outdoors, I wanted to work on something technical, something I would find meaningful, but have this role in a place well outside of my comfort zone. This project absolutely met these two requirements.
On a day-to-day basis I would hike to collect audio files, listen to and annotate the sounds I collected, work with a field biologist to identify different animal species by their vocalizations, and teach a computer how to recognize patterns and vocalizations in the future. The ultimate goal of this project is to track the incredible biodiversity in the North Atlantic Forest by tracking the sounds of the forest, and my day to day work alone would have given me enough stories to bring back home to make this volunteer program worth joining.
The opportunities off the Reserve were equally amazing. With other volunteers from around the world, I was able to explore caves, climb waterfalls, explore the local culture and do various other small trips that are not available anywhere else in the world. The last two months have been some of the most unique and story-worthy in my life, and if you have the chance, I would 100% recommend volunteering with IPBio. You will find yourself well out of your comfort zone, in an interesting place with interesting people, and there is no better place for a story to happen.
Program: Bioacoustics Research & Inventory
The life of volunteers at IPBio through the lens of my camera
Submitted by Karen - Zurich Switzerland | September 07, 2017
I spent three weeks at the biodiversity research center IPBio, which is located in the middle of the beautiful atlantic rainforest. My task as volunteer was, to take picturest (and also some videos) of the daily life and the projects of the other volunteers. For example the tree inventory, the bioluminescent mushroom project, bioaccoustic, tadpole project, gardening, reserve maintenance, bird ecology etc. Beside their volunteer projects I captured also the weekend activities. As the reserve is surrounded by amazing nature their are many nice things to do. We visited a lot of caves (the region is also called the cave capital of Brazil), waterfalls, went hiking, Boia Cross, BBQ,... I totally enjoyed every day I spend at IPBio and can highly recommend to come here! And if you have the possibility, stay longer than I did ;)
Program: Photographers and Movie Producers
A great experience and look forward to continuing to volunteer with IPBio!
Submitted by Tess | July 18, 2017
I am from the United States and volunteered with IPBio's Bioacoustics Project for just over 5 months in total. Overall, the past 5 months have been fantastic and I feel incredibly fortunate to have this kind of an opportunity.
My background is in engineering and physics, so I was especially excited to find a technical volunteer opportunity abroad with such a direct impact on conservation research efforts. My typical week on the bioacoustics project included hiking up into the forest to collect audio data, listening to the audio recordings and teaching the software to recognize each individual type of species vocalization, and brushing up on my coding skills to create an analysis program. In all, I found the work very rewarding, relevant, and am able to see the direct impact of my work.
I greatly enjoyed working with and getting to know the staff and other volunteers at IPBio. They are a very kind, helpful, and welcoming group of people who I am going to miss quite a lot! Everyone at the Betary Reserve was very dedicated and was working toward IPBio's vision. I always felt comfortable asking for help or advice, whether work-related or not. While not strictly necessary for the volunteer program, I would recommend learning at least a little Portuguese prior to arriving in Iporanga because many staff members do not speak English fluently and a little Portuguese can go a long way!
The volunteer house was kept up quite well, but could feel a bit cramped at times when we were at full volunteer capacity. This shouldn't be an issue soon, though, because IPBio is in the process of building a new, bigger volunteer house that should alleviate this problem!
After 5 months of living on the Betary Reserve, I still have yet to complete my Iporanga bucket list. There are endless caves, waterfalls, and trails to explore in the gorgeous Vale do Ribeira, and countless weekend trips to nearby attractions.
Overall, my time at IPBio was a fantastic experience that I will always keep close to my heart. I 100% recommend volunteering here and look forward to continuing to volunteer with IPBio remotely from home in the United States!
Program: Bioacoustics Research & Inventory
Six month mushroom volunteer
Submitted by Grant | July 06, 2017
I was a volunteer for six months at the betary reserve in their bioluminescent mushroom program. The mushroom program itself is great. The nice thing about the mushroom program is that it is very research oriented. I was given some practical skills and guidance and the general idea of what they want to accomplish, and then was left to do the projects rather independently. The reserve is in a nice location, in a lush forest full of animals and birds, so for anyone that likes nature it is perfect. The area the reserve is in is full of caves and waterfalls too, so there is never lack of weekend activities. The staff are extremely supportive and welcoming, but I would recommend learning a bit of Portuguese before coming as it will help with communicating with some members that don't speak english, and other locals. Can't recommend IPBio enough.
Program: Bioluminescent Mushroom Researcher
Submitted by Jesse Garrett-Larsen - College of Wooster | July 06, 2017
I worked at IPBio for two months this summer as a volunteer from the United States. I am currently going into my third year of college working on a degree in Biology. I was looking for an opportunity to do research that complimented my school work and gave me experience in my future field when I ran across IPBio. It was exactly what I was looking for.
I worked on a variety of different projects during my time here at IPBio. I wrote research papers and carried out experiments investigating the food preference one of the rare endemic frogs here in the Atlantic Forest as well as setting up a long-term monitoring of local tadpoles to track the progression of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis both for the research institute itself and for a professor at UNICAMPI, Brazil. I was also responsible for feeding the animals in the aquarium and terrariums. I have seen myself gain confidence working in the field and in the lab. Working with the animals here has been an amazing experience that has helped me realize that this is what I want to do with my life!
Every morning, I woke up, cooked breakfast, and walked 30 seconds to work. Living in the volunteer house on the reserve meant that I was always surrounded by nature. I have spent countless hours during and after work wondering through the forest, marveling at the stunning biodiversity and beauty of the life here. On clear nights, the milky way lights up the sky and the stars provide enough light to walk without a light. It feels like something out of a dream. There really is no way to put into words the beauty both on the reserve and the surrounding area.
IPBio is located just outside PETAR, a national park with hundreds of caves and waterfalls. On the weekends, I visited some of these caves with other volunteers. Every trip I took blew me away. The guides were extremely friendly and the sites were all magnificent.
I realize that it is very cheesy, but the past two months here really have changed my life. The hospitality and selflessness that everyone has shown me has inspired me, and the scientific realizations that I have made will hopefully lead to future studies back at school and a career in biology. I would recommend this program to anyone who is even remotely interested in science, loves the natural world, and is ready for an adventure!
Program: Biodiversity Research Assistant