top of page

Nature Reserve & Biological Station


At Un poco del Chocó there is always plenty to do. To coordinate our different activities in the reserve we rely on the support of skilled and experienced individuals who in turn will be able to experience the vast natural beauty of the Chocó rainforest. We welcome professional volunteers to join our team, and help us with our day-to-day activities to manage the nature reserve, conduct research, and support our conservation work. Volunteers will gain valuable insights into the management of our small research station and nature reserve, while expanding their knowledge and honing their skills in wildlife monitoring, tropical ecology research, environmental education and grassroots conservation work.

The main role of a volunteer is to coordinate intern activities, accompany them in their daily tasks and liaise with the staff to help run the internship program smoothly and give us feedback. They will work alongside our dynamic team of undergraduates, graduate students, and permanent local staff to collect data for our different research projects. Suitable volunteers must be able to learn about the various projects quickly and have leadership qualities.

The reserve is an incredible place to live, with good food and housing in the middle of the montane rainforest. There are plenty of opportunities for research, birdwatching and photography. Volunteers interested in developing their careers and know-how, will also have the opportunity (and are encouraged) to craft scientific publications on our long-term monitoring data and natural history observations.

Volunteer FAQs


Who can apply?

We are looking for mature and responsible applicants with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in biological or environmental studies, wildlife management, wildlife biology, or equivalent. Preference will be given to candidates with at least two years of experience in biological field studies or a Master’s degree. Ornithology, pollination ecology, tropical ecology and/or wildlife monitoring are the primary areas of technical expertise sought, but other areas of expertise, will also be considered. 

Successful applicants are self-motivated individuals with a positive attitude, and meet some combination of the following skills and experiences:

  • Good leadership skills with experience supervising and managing other team members.

  • A desire and ability to effectively train, lead and supervise students, with a focus on developing a strong safety culture, open communication, and excellence in protocol implementation.

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both written and oral, with the ability to pay close attention to detail and to accurately manage data and report the results of field studies.

  • Maintaining positive and respectful relationships with coworkers, and team members.

  • Good time management, planning, and organizational skills, and the ability to coordinate logistics for multiple projects.

  • Experience in mistnetting and bird banding.

  • Experience in identification of birds (some experience with Neotropical birds preferred).

  • Experience in use and maintenance of field equipment, such as mistnets, GPS devices, camera traps etc.

  • Additional qualifications, such as First Aid/CPR certification (or higher), data analysis in R, NABC bander certification etc. are a plus!! 

Mandatory requirements:

Applicants must be in good physical shape (the reserve’s trails are steep and hiking up and down the hill can be strenuous), be comfortable with rustic living and working conditions in a tropical environment (meaning rainy or hot and sunny conditions, snakes, and biting insects), and speak both English and Spanish at an advanced level.

What are the volunteer's responsibilities?

Volunteers are expected to help the station management in every aspect of our daily operations and some responsibilities might be (but are not limited to) the following:

  • assist the research team with wildlife monitoring responsibilities

  • (co) supervise interns during field data collection

  • (co) advise research trainees and thesis candidates on the study design for individual projects

  • welcome and introduce new arrivals to Un poco del Chocó

  • coordinate interns in their diverse daily activities

  • assist with certain teaching activities

  • supervise the organization and cleanliness of the station house

  • report concerns and intermediate requests to management

  • give (prepared) lectures to interns and/or groups of visitors

  • data entry and management

  • assist in environmental education activities for young Ecuadorians

  • ensure the well-being of the interns and visitors

  • create material (photos, videos, blog entries) for updates on social media and newsletters about our work and programs at Un poco del Chocó

Is there a minimum stay?

Yes! We prefer volunteers who commit to 3 - 6 months of volunteer work.

What does the work schedule look like?

We expect volunteers to help us with our daily activities for about 5-7 hours per day on week days. Usually weekends are free, yet sometimes it might be required that volunteers stay over the weekend and take care of the reserve and station. Extra hours will be compensated with free time.

Is there a cost for volunteering?

This is a volunteer position with no financial compensation. For highly qualified individuals and skilled Ecuadorian biologists seeking field research experience, we might be able to provide food and housing for free. Yet, applicants are encouraged to apply knowing that they may have to pay a fee (max. 125$/week) to cover the costs associated with their stay.

What do I need to apply?

We expect volunteers to provide a detailed CV, reference letters and copies of any special licenses or permits that substantiate their existing level of field research experience. Suitable candidates will then be invited for an interview via video call.

Partnering with:
Logo Bosque Escuela.jpeg

My time as a volunteer was something I will never forget. I am very glad I could leave something behind. Working with Wilo and Christian was very pleasant and we had a lot of fun.


Tanja, Netherlands

From our Blog....
bottom of page