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Amphibian Researcher
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Amphibian Researcher

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Research assistant

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!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Great plate to volunteer !

I am in love with Iporanga, the forest and the people at IPBio! I studied biology at UQAM in Montreal, Canada, and wanted to apply my skills with my desire to travel abroad. I was pleasantly surprised to find a voluntary role related to research as this is very uncommon and when the volunteer coordinator got back to me with all the helpful information that I needed to make my trip a reality I accepted quickly as I realized this organization was serious.

Three weeks later I was in Brazil studying frog biodiversity of the Betary Reserve. This place is paradise and now I really don’t want to leave and have already made plans to come back soon.

When I arrived I was thrilled to find a fully functional research lab (with an aquarium and greenhouse), a lovely cabin where volunteers can stay with hot showers and a cozy kitchen. It was a real luxury considering I was heading into the middle of the forest. But what really makes this place is the people. The whole team is so warm, helpful, patient and really want to support your learning and they make sure you get the most out of your stay. They became my friends fast and we organize weekend activities together like visiting caves or waterfalls.

My role studying frog biodiversity is so interesting and a lot of fun. 3 times a week I go out in forest 9am to 12am tour the pitfalls to identify the presence of frogs. I really enjoy walking through the forest and I am always accompanied to make sure of my safety and so we can chat. The rest of the day, I analyse existing videos of frogs or I have Portuguese lessons with a great tutor.

I will never forget the smell of the forest and the mornings when you get up to the sound of birds singing and even howler monkeys chattering.

All I know is that I will come back as soon as possible.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    7

IPBio review

Very good experience!
Reserva betary, where IPBIO is situated, is a beautiful place where you can enjoy wild nature in the Atlantic forest. Moreover it is very close to PETAR state park which is famous, among other things, for the beautiful caves that you can find there.
I have been working with frogs biodiversity which allowed me to enjoy long hikes in the forest and also to earn some knowledge about the animals who live here in the reserve.
The closest town, Iporanga, is a lovely place with only in the middle of the forest and it is also nice to go there to just hang around.
The staff is very friendly and sometimes we hanged out all together after work in town.
Very recommended.