Galapagos conservation and education

Galapagos (G4) | View map
PRICE FROM
£323 p.w.

Price is based on 3 months
MINIMUM DURATION
1 month

Live life in the highland forests and waterfalls of the Galapagos

  • Volunteer in the amazing Galapagos and help conserve the native flora and fauna
  • Take on new skills and knowledge around conservation and organic farming
  • Work with international volunteers
  • Suitable for gap year students and any conservation, wildlife and environmental enthusiast
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  • wildlife volunteer Galapagos 2
  • wildlife volunteer Galapagos 3
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Project summary

Many of the species of plants and animals on the Galapagos Islands are unique to the Galapagos. One of the main problems is the introduction of non-native species through the importation of food to the Galapagos from mainland Ecuador.  This is a particular issue because so little is grown on the island.

Run by a private foundation, this is a conservation project working in the highlands area of San Christobel. The purpose of the project is to conserve the native species of Galapagos, seeding them in a nursery and replanting them into the conservation area, while at the same time removing the non-native flora.

In addition to conservation, the project operates an organic market garden, demonstrating how the fertile soil of Galapagos can grow a range of fruit and vegetables, reducing the dependency on the expensive import of produce (that also runs the risk of unwittingly bringing in non-native species). To this end, the project provides support to neighbouring land owners to demonstrate this capability and educates locals on developing sustainable solutions.

The conservation area operates in a unique area of the island where four different layers of the forest can be experienced in just 500 metres (the dry forest, transition forest, scalecia forest and miconia robinsoniana).

The project leaders help educate volunteers on the flora and fauna, explaining how the native plants are vital to the ecosystem, and how non-native species present risks to the fragile environment.

This Galapagos conservation project is suitable for gap year students, volunteers with an interest in conservation, the environment, organic farming and a passion for the outdoors.

Volunteer roles and responsibilities

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Volunteers rotate their activity between habitat restoration and reforestation by collecting and classifying seeds, maintaining the tree nursery and planting of native trees, removal of blackberry plants and other invasive non-native weed species and working in the market garden, planting and maintaining a range of crops. Volunteers also get involved in the community programme, a collaboration with local landowners for reforestation using native species of coffee.

You will have a guided hike throughout the reserve and nearby areas to learn about biodiversity themes, natural history and ecology as the emphasis is on volunteer education as much as conservation. The volunteers also enjoy regular excursions to different places on the island, including the beach.

How you can make a difference

The project couldn’t exist without volunteers. It is part of an ongoing campaign to reclaim the islands from non-native species, reintroducing native flora that maintains the natural balance in Galapagos and it currently would not have access to state funding or local volunteer resource.

It is an important part of the plan to develop more sustainable solutions in local agriculture, which has multiple benefits to the islanders.

What is distinctive about this project:

The project provides a unique opportunity to experience the highland forest in Galapagos, being educated on the flora and fauna while making a valuable impact on the environment. It is also a volunteer-oriented project, so it offers an experience to live and work alongside like-minded souls.

Blue Tiger Features:

This project offers volunteers a wholesome, hard-working experience in the semi-remote highlands of San Christobel. It is a chance to learn about the local biodiversity and understand more about the environmental challenges that face the islands. In return you need to be prepared to work hard in a tropical climate, with few of the luxuries of city living, but enjoy your time with like-minded volunteers from around the globe.

Season:

There is no close season, but beware the months of February to April, when the islands are at their hottest

Languages:

English is widely spoken, although Spanish will be helpful when you visit other locations around the island

Experience required:

No specific experience is required, but the project is ideally suited to those with a genuine interest in the local biodiversity and a love of the outdoors. You will be working hard outside, in tropical temperatures, sharing your community with insects and spiders of the forest.

Good to know:

There is no internet or phone reception at this project, which for many volunteers wanting a more laid back style of living can be a blessing. You are 45 minutes from town, where you will find wifi of sorts, so you are not totally disconnected if you need a fix.

Price table

1 month6 weeks2 months10 weeks3 months
£2,450£2,885£3,240£3,592£3,880

Includes: Return flight from Quito to Galapagos. Comprehensive travel insurance (supplements may apply to older travellers). Accommodation, food, airport transfer, travel to projects, in-country support, welcome meal. Two weeks of good quality 121 Spanish tuition.
Excludes: Flights, visas, vaccinations. Galapagos visitor permit, payable locally on departure from Quito and/or arrival in Galapagos

Things to see and do

  • Island tours
  • Scuba diving & snorkelling
  • Beaches
  • Darwin Centre
Paulina Ratti

Country co-ordinator

Paulina Ratti

Paulina qualified as special needs teacher and language therapist from the University of Guayaquil. She has lived in San Cristobal on the Galapagos all her life and has been supporting our volunteers since 2006. She is a well known island character, recognised locally for her brightly painted wall murals. She lives with her husband in Baquerizo, the town on San Cristobal.

About Galapagos