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Volunteers' Stories




Conservation in the Amazon Rainforest, Peru, Volunteering


I have gained valuable experience whilst working with 2 botanists here in plant collections and identification. I have gained experience in visiting other cultures, in a country that is quite poverty stricken. This has heightened my respect for other people’s cultural activities and beliefs.

I have also gained a lot of experience in botany fieldwork which is great for my studies in botanical horticulture and will help me develop my knowledge of plants and plant ecosystems in the future. I have seen many different types of flora growing in lowland Amazon, Cloud forest and more arid flora on the mountainside, by seeing these my understanding of these plants has increased.

It is also quite good to experience living in a small group in for a long period of time; it can be challenging but is good fun and character building!!

Can you describe a typical day? Those that do mammal studies visit the claylick at 5 am, I did this once and I thought that it was an incredible experience, all those wonderful colours of the parrots!

7 am: A lovely breakfast is served
8 until 9 am: Getting ready for the day, maybe a shower or some clothes washing etc.
9 until 11 am: Identifying plants collected the previous day using an identification key. Each plant is then labelled with its family and genus, where it was collected and when. The plants are then prepared as herbarium specimens and pressed.
11.30 am: Head out on a trail to collect plant specimens, a different trail each day
1.00 pm: Box lunch often beside one of the streams
4 until 5 pm: Return from the jungle, normally very tired!
5 until 6 pm: Shower and relax
7 pm: Dinner is served, always great food
8 pm: Relaxing, reading, chatting and then bed

Visits to Salvasion on Wednesday, are really enjoyable and good fun with a nice lunch in town and internet access and an international telephone. It is good to have a day out a few times through the placement. The staff are absolutely wonderful, you cannot fault their devotion and care that they have to the volunteers. I have been looked after very well. I have had a really great time!

So far what is the best thing about your placement? The location. The forest that surrounds the area combines both primary and secondary and comparing between the forests is very interesting. The sights and sounds of the rainforest are incredible.

What type of person do you think this placement would suit? I think that this placement would best suit someone interested mainly in mammal studies as you would have to have an understanding of tropical flora or be working with botanists to study the plants. Mammal studies are easier to understand and you can teach yourself from books etc!!! Most people at the center are mainly interested in the mammals.

Volunteers should also enjoy difficult walks and should not mind creepy crawleys! I also think that to live in a small group to you have got be sociable but at the same time respect other people’s personal space.

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