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Biodiversity Research Assistant
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Biodiversity Research Assistant

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

Amazing Program

IPBio has been the most amazing way to spend my summer. The past two months have been filled with so many opportunities to learn and be hands on with projects. As an eco-volunteer, I had the chance to work with all of the projects here as well as focus on the frogs in the lab. Being able to be in this gorgeous area while learning and exploring is an incredible experience. The staff here is extremely friendly and supportive. Living with the other volunteers has given me the opportunity to make great friends to explore this beautiful forest with. The weekends allow us time to explore the state park and the town and the weekdays are filled with hands on experiences in nature. This summer here has provided me with experiences, knowledge and memories that will last a lifetime.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

Amazing volunteer experience!

My husband and I have been volunteering around Central and South America for the last 5 months, and I can say that without a doubt this has been the best volunteering experience yet! From comfortable accommodations including electricity and internet to exciting daily activities and incredible weekend opportunities, this place really has it all! Some of the activities that we have done include: watching trap camera footage, bird observation, monitoring pond habitats, performing a fish inventory and tree inventory, and even doing some creative craft-work. I love watching the trap camera footage because it is always a surprise and you never know what you’re going to see. One of the videos I found was of a hummingbird taking a bath, that was so adorable! The living accommodations are really nice, I was pleasantly surprised to find I had my own air-conditioning unit in my room! The kitchen is fully stocked, and even has a fridge! (The last 2 places we volunteered didn’t have this, so this was particularly exciting). It is really amazing getting to live right in the forest alongside the river, but also having really nice buildings and rooms! On the weekends we typically did some activity with the other volunteers and volunteer coordinators on Saturdays, such as going fishing or having a barbeque. On Sunday we usually did some kind of tour, like tubing down the river, or going to see the caves or waterfalls! All in all, this has been a really incredible experience. I wish I could be here longer, and who knows we may find ourselves here again one day. I think if you are looking to volunteer in South America and you love animals or science, then your search is over! I really don’t think you could find a place better than this!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Volunteering at Betary reserve

I spent 4 weeks volunteering at the Betary Reserve, without a Biology background, and loved every minute of it. I arrived with a background in mechanical engineering, an open-mind, and a willingness to work hard and I wasn’t disappointed. The work varies day-by-day and as a Research Assistant I was able to participate in all of the studies being conducted. Jobs included: taking measurements of important properties in the river, collecting and inspecting tadpoles, inventorying trees, monitoring local ponds for water quality and lifeforms, bird watching, and general ground maintenance. The variety of work meant that I felt very involved with all of the ongoing projects and it let me contribute in multiple ways.
The living arrangements were superb and unlike anything I had experienced volunteering elsewhere in South America. We had A/C in our rooms, WiFi, flush toilets, hot showers, and a fully functioning kitchen!
The organization of the staff is incredible. All of our inquiries pre-arrival were handled quickly and with lots of detail. The entire month we were here we always knew what we were tasked with and what was upcoming for the week. They organizers even took care of our taxi rides to/from town and planned weekend activities.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Biodiversity research assistant

I applied for the volunteer program at IPBio in July of 2017 without imagining what I could expect when I left your country to live an adventure. I had an interview with the Imran Volunteer Coordinator via skype where he explained carefully that you would be in charge of the Reserve if you were selected, so I decided to stay for a period of three months (January to April 2018) and I do not get tired of thanking for the opportunity they gave me and the experience I had. I am a bachelor of law and I have always seen environmental issues and what a better opportunity to know the Mata Atlantica.

Within the Reserve I was in charge of the research (mushrooms, bats, frogs), protocols (tadpoles, bd tadpoles, frogs), once a week there were group activities (gardening day, fish inventory or other activities). In addition, I had the opportunity to learn a little more with Luciane, Ana, Isaías and Henrique about Biology because I started working in the laboratory (animal feeding of the Reserve and research).

On weekends one had the opportunity to perform different leisure activities (visit: caverns, waterfalls, Cananéia, Quilombos, boia cross), inside the Reserve there is a deck where one could swim in the river or make a barbecue.

I definitely recommend the Reserve for people who like field work, nature. For me it is an unforgettable experience not only for the work you do but for each of the people who work there who are always willing to help you with a smile (Ana, Isaias, Marleen, Imran, Luciane, Henrique, Raphael, Adriana). And to the volunteers who are going from different nationalities, culture. I spent three months in the Reserve and saw many volunteers leave before me, and friendships that have been formed and will continue over time.

Do not hesitate for a second to apply to the Reserve you will not regret it, I would go back without hesitation.

Mariale Bellota

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

An amazing volunteer experience in the Atlantic forest

The Reserve has been an incredible place to volunteer. The unique and wonderful setting aside, IP Bio provided a range of projects to get involved with, creating a very exciting volunteer experience.

The staff are keen to utilise and promote the implementation and use of your specific skills while also encouraging you to get involved, hands on, with the other research projects being carried out. In addition, the staff are all very passionate about their work here and keen to get you involved in group activities, weekend trips and excursions! There are a great range of things to join in with at the weekends, with a personal favourite being the trip to see and get up close with wild dolphins.

Overall, volunteering with IP Bio has been an unforgettable experience hidden away in a fantastic location, made even better by the friendly staff and incredible wildlife! I hope to come back very soon ...

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    6

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    9

My first encounter with the Mata Atlántica... hopefully the first of many!

The 60 hectare Betary Reserve near Iporanga is a beautiful setting for doing field work in the Atlantic Forest, an ecosystem that has so much still to be discovered... and is fast disappearing. Although lab conditions aren't ideal for certain projects, you can get involved in a lot of good in-the-field conservation work on a wide variety of flora and fauna there, from trees to amphibians and mushrooms to monkeys.

You get to walk along/off amazing trails to get to your work site, can spend time swinging in the hammocks or swimming in the river (if the current isn't too strong!) and eat lunch a couple of metres away from several different species of hummingbirds. The forest is abundant, with several layers of plants growing or creatures living on any available surface. Lots of mosquitos too, so go prepared!

Most of the staff love what they do, were very approachable and helpful, and open to new ideas; the founder and his wife were very kind and friendly whilst doing such great work with this vision, and the volunteers were fun and interesting to be with since they came from a wide variety of backgrounds and were willing to do crazy things like go and look for bioluminescent fungi in the dark whilst it was raining heavily! :-)

It's a great place for direct contact with an amazing natural environment, I loved just being in the forest and also being able to contribute towards useful conservation projects or educational activities.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Good experience

I really liked it being a volunteer at the institute, because I had the opportunity to learn many new things, such as the endemic species of the Atlantic forest, as well as the traditions of the people of the area. In general, I think working here has been an excellent experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Volunteering in the Atlantic rainforest

As part of travelling South America, I decided to take part in the volunteer program offered at the Reserve Betary. I took a different path as a volunteer, given my professional experience and the needs at the reserve, and I had the opportunity to be involved in the overall coordination of various projects and also to help with some administrative planning within the organization.
Arriving at Reserve Betary was a breeze, given the detailed volunteer package and the insightful coordination from the volunteer leads, Imran and Marleen, I felt comfortable and well versed on travelling to the reserve and what would be expected during my stay. At the Reserve I was able to take part in a number of different conservation projects, while both utilizing my skills and interests. Given the significant involvement of the staff at the reserve, they are able to place you in not only a wide range of projects but also in assignments of personal interest.
The IPBio reserve is in a unique situation as it is not only situated at a remote location in the Atlantic rainforest, but also a short drive from the town of Iporanga. This offers a number of perks for the volunteers such as grabbing essentials in town (great for long-stay individuals), and also allowing for the coordination of a number of different activities outside of the research projects. This allows the volunteers to not only make the most of their free time, but also experience the natural beauty of the Atlantic Rainforest. My favourite of these were the Cave tours (Iporanga is home to the not only the most caves in the world but also some of the largest and most beautiful. These tours are led by experienced guides, and allow for experiences which would not be possible without my involvement with IPBio.
Given the breadth of the projects ongoing at the Reserve, I would recommend volunteering at IPBio to not only those with a science background but also those hoping to have an impact and become involved in NGOs with a conservationist perspective.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Every little step matter. And you'll have a lot of fun while helping

As soon as you arrive to Betary Reserve, you immediately notice how all are mentioning Sergio, the founder. He is described as a Dreamer. And I would add that Sergio is one of those Dreamers who gets things done. All of his dream about this amazing conservation projects are happening not only because of his vision and passion, but also thanks to his eye in hiring and empowering people, from the gardener to the cleaning lady Adriana, who are just as committed as the biologists, with this DREAM that has COME TRUE.

I really recommend volunteering at IPBIO. Everyone I met is totally committed with their projects, which are taken very seriously. All the biologists are totally focused on their research, and they impressed me with their passion, perseverance, love for all they do, and always with a smile. And a joke. I am really thankful for all that Ana, Isaias and Enrique taught me. Lou was on holiday, and I was very fortunate to meet her on one of our Caves trips.

All projects are perfectly coordinated by the very efficient and fun Imrain and his beloved Marleen, whom is the closest you can get to a real version of Lara Croft.

I have worked on Tree Inventory, Camera Traps maintenance and analysis. Tadpoles monitoring and Pitfalls.

Besides learning and discovering some of the secrets this Atlantic Forest hides, and witness the commitment with Forest and Bio System recovery,

I have especially enjoyed collaborating with my fellow Volunteers. The passion of the entire staff of IPBIO is so contagious that volunteers breath and live it. Whether it was on our daily missions, or our night strolls, looking for some amphibious, magical Fireflies and their larvae, whose lights mirror the Reserve beautiful starry night, and even on our fun Cave trips, volunteers are always taking pictures, asking for information and getting closer to this beautiful forest’s heart.

I am always thrilled with the melting pot of cultures Volunteering offers. And this time. Again. I will have new friends to treasure. And, hopefully, meet again.

Thank you, IPBIO.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

A once in a lifetime experience

As a biologist, I have volunteered all around the world, and I still learned so much at the Biodiversity Research Institute! Being in the heart of the Atlantic Forest itself is already an amazing experience, being surrounded by various species of fauna, flora and fungi! I was involved in the amphibian research, observing the presence of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in tadpoles; collecting and photographing mushrooms, to catalogue them; monitoring mammals through camera traps; and feeding of the fish, terrapins, toad and lizards, that are used for educational purposes. There’s also a lot of fun things to do on the weekends, like tubing, rappel, visiting caves and waterfalls, or just going for a swim in the river. It’s a great opportunity to learn and make amazing memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life, while helping a good cause!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Voluntariado com fauna e flora

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!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

IPBio

I would suggest volunteering at IPBio to anyone interested in ecology. The staff at the reserve were great and always willing to teach and help. The area itself is very stunning with heavily forested hills and running streams.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Awesome!!

I am undertaking a 5 month internship at IPBio studying the effects of forest successional stages on the abundance of mammals on the reserve. I use camera traps and so far I have caught: a fieldmouse, tayra, opossum, paca, racoon and a capuchin monkey. I also support with organizing mammal footage for a documentary IPBio will soon produce. The weekends are just as fun with activities such as buoy cross down the river, exploration of caves, hiking and swimming in waterfalls.

I have enjoyed my time here and would really recommend this organization to other volunteers.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Loved IPBio so much I stayed to work!

IPBio was a dream come true. I have been searching for over 3 years for an NGO whose mission I truly wish to support and finally I found it. I came to IPBio as a volunteer having had it recommended to me by various people. After speaking to the manager, Ana, we agreed that I would come to IPBio with 2 goals in mind: structure their volunteer program and fundraise for a environmental education program they we conceptualizing. As many trusted and experienced people had told me such great things about IPBio, I was worried that it wouldn't meet my expectations.. but in fact it surpassed them three-fold! Walking onto the reserve you pass a beautiful wooden bridge over the river and find a hidden state of the art research center in the middle of the forest. After meeting the staff and really discussing their future plans, I was already in love with IPBio and knew I wanted to stay. Over the next 3 months, I worked hard to organize the volunteer program, we managed to meet our fundraising goal for the education program and I wrote a grant which we won for bioacoustics equipment. Soon after, IPBio offered me a position and now I will be working at the organization as the volunteer and communication manager. This place is paradise and I am glad I found a way to stay. The region (forest, wildlife, caves, rivers, waterfalls) to the infrastructure (lab, greenhouse, aquarium) to the topics of research (bioluminescent mushrooms, mammals, amphibians) to the larger plan of creating various IPBio's across Brazil, this place captured my dream: to live in a remote area surrounded by nature which also sparked my intellectual curiosity and drive. IPBio is now home.