Volunteers have been an important feature of the conservation effort of the Galapagos for a long time, however there has been no coordination of the effort. Friends of Galapagos New Zealand feels that there is a huge potential here and so we have developed this section of our website to assist people interested in offering their services.
We are also looking to establish a ‘Volunteer Coordinator’ in Galapagos to act as an interface between FOGNZ and the various institutions and organizations in Galapagos who are looking for, or interested in having volunteers. This person or organization would also be a point of contact for all volunteers once they arrive in Galapagos and would help to ensure that everything was hunky dory.
There are a number of organizations in Galapagos that provide opportunities for individuals to work as volunteers in Galapagos in a wide variety of areas.
There are three types of volunteer positions available:
- General positions which require no specific professional training, a university degree or equivalent is appreciated.
- Positions for Students who are looking to use the experience as part of their degree thesis.
- Professionals whose knowledge and ability is of specific use, scientists, teachers, engineers or computer specialists are examples.
Most organizations have similar requirements:
- You must travel to and from the islands at your own expense.
- You must pay for your own board and lodging though some organizations will provide this at a subsidized rate.
- You need to have current life and health insurance.
- You must commit to a minimum three months and very often six month.
- An ability to communicate in Spanish is preferred and advisable.
The organizations that most commonly take volunteers are:
The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF)
CDF is an international NGO running a research station on Santa Cruz Island. It is the main research and monitoring organization in Galapagos and works very closely with the Galapagos National Park and the Ecuadorian Government.Positions here vary considerably varying from Hotel Management and Tourism, to Landscape Architects, to Librarian and to specific projects such as Green Turtle research. Terms are normally six months or more.
Check out the current vacancies and requirements at:
Galapagos National Park
The Galapagos National Park is the arm of the Ecuadorian Government that is responsible for administering and protecting the Galapagos National Park, which constitutes 97% of the land area of the islands plus all of the Galapagos Marine Resources Reserve (GMRR). They are generally looking for:
- Students who are part-way through their further education studies
- Students who need the experience as part of their thesis
- Professionals who wish to share their knowledge and experience in one of the National Park departments.
Positions that can be needed include computer technicians, biologists, environmental engineers, or occasionally just manpower for beach cleaning etc. Minimum term is 3 months.
Fundar is an Ecuadorian NGO that works within the Galapagos community in projects to reconcile the differences between the preservation of the environment and the development needs of the local people. They run a number of projects which seek to demonstrate that development and conservation are not mutually incompatible, and that having the local people ‘on board’ is essential. Fundar have a private reserve, in the agricultural zone but adjacent to the National Park, where they are working on habitat restoration, sustainable agriculture and management techniques. Minimum term is 3 months.
All of these organizations have excellent websites with full details, application forms and procedures.
Fundacion Scalesia runs a the Tomas de Berlanga school in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island seeking to provide a broad based bilingual education with emphasis on the conservation and sustainable development of the islands. They are interested in a volunteer who is.
- A qualified teacher, Primary and/or Secondary level.
- Reasonable ability in Spanish
- Good written English
They are able to help with accommodation and living costs in Galapagos.
Contact Reyna Oleas: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conservation International (CI)
Conservation International run a number of programmes in Galapagos and makes use of volunteers on a regular basis.
Wild Aid is a small NGO with a very focussed programme. They are likely to be looking for volunteers in the near future.
The more qualified you are and the better your Spanish, the more chance you have of obtaining a post as a volunteer.Remember that while you may think you have something to offer, skilled assistance is still the most sought after and you should not assume that you will be selected just because you are enthusiastic. Volunteers are a cost to the organization and your contribution must outweigh this to make it worthwhile.
If you have any queries that are not answered by the websites, please feel free to contact FOGNZ: email@example.com