GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION AND WEATHER PATTERNS
Carchi province, Canton Huaca,
Area: 1000 hectares Latitude: 0*35,351 ’ N, 77*42,316 ’ O, Altitude: 3100 - 3600 msl
Temps: 18-22°C, Avg. Humidity: 75%
Temperatures fall to 4°C at night and raise to 22°C during the day. The average temperature is 12°C
The biological station can sleep up to 25 visitors in four dormitory-style rooms. The house features a full kitchen and indoor bathrooms with hot-water showers, phone and 4 electrical heathers. Although the Station has electricity access, we recommend bringing a head light to walk anywhere at night.
Staff includes the reserve administrator, one park guard/guide, two cook/housekeepers (that rotate at the station) and auxiliary personnel who work in the tree nursery, botanical gardens, community extension, and educational outreach. There are also llamas (Andeans animals) and organic farms.
Two to eight volunteer interns are normally on site. The Guandera tree grows up 1cm a year. In their natural habitat, i.e. 3400m to 3500m - the tree grows more than 1cm. At the station there are trees between 25 and 30m high.
ACTIVITIES FOR THE VOLUNTEERS
1. Conservation in the Ecuadorian Andes Center for the Conservation of Andean Plants:
Volunteers participate in experimental silviculture of Andean trees; they assist in seed and data collection, maintaining the nursery, transplanting seedlings, opening reforestation lines and in reforestation. There is also an orchid garden that requires maintenance and enhancement.
2. Looking for sustainability Organic Agriculture:
At the station we have a breeding ground to practice organic agriculture techniques and share the experience with the local communities. Volunteers help preparing the soil, planting seeds, weeding, harvesting and with general maintenance. Also, once a week volunteers visit nearby community farms to help enhance these methods seeking to produce alternative food sources as well as incomes
Alternative animal production: We have a deposit of guinea pig (cuyes). Volunteers will participate in planting the crops to feed these animals and feeding them.
General projects: Llamas, organic gardens, botanical garden, forestry nursery, native fungus, fruit gardens, creole hens, lombricultura, Andean tubers – 20 different types (mashua, melloco, oca, different types of potatoes) and more.
3. Research in the cloud forest and páramo Biological inventories:
As part of the treks on the trails of the Reserve, volunteers develop biological inventories (especially plant and birdlife). For this, they collect scientific information about the flora and fauna observed during the hikes.
Herbarium collection: Volunteers can also make plant collections to leave them in a herbarium we have at the station. The information will be used to make a booklet about the flora in Guandera.
Research assistants: If we have any research project going on at the reserve, volunteers may participate as research assistants.
Meteorological station: Volunteers have to collect data from temperature, precipitation, wind and radiation. (New and automatic)
Personal investigation: If volunteers want to propose their own personal investigation, they can feel free to do it. The coordinator at the station will arrange the agenda to give the volunteers some time to develop their personal project.
4. Reserve maintenance:
We all work together to maintain and develop the Station. The activities involved here are trail design in the forest and making signs for the areas in the station. Sometimes we have visitors on the station, so once volunteers know the station very well, they help out in the guidance. Finally, once a month we have a “minga” in which everybody helps out organizing the station and removing things we do not use that could be useful to other people in the community.
5. Community development Environmental education:
As part of our community development objective, we offer environmental education to people in the community of Mariscal Sucre. Volunteers develop and instruct classes on conservation, biology, and human issues for local school children and adults. The program is taught in local schools.
English teaching: Volunteers interested in teaching English to children around the community have the opportunity to do it twice a week – from Tuesday to Thursday. If you want to bring your own materials to give it to the children, we would very much appreciate it.
Talks next to the chimney: At night we light the chimney and we have long talks about our country, our history, our culture, our people, our nature… This is a time to share with our volunteers mutual experiences.
Playing 40 and UNO: Ecuadorian card game.
Chess visit to spas: One day a month, visiting spas around the station. The volunteers and staff cover their own expenses for transportation, recreation and food.
RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT LIST
1. Clothing & Footwear: Well fitting rubber boots (knee high) are indispensable, shoes to walk and/or play sports in, sandals, raincoat, and warm clothes. To play Ecuadorian volley ball and football.
2. Toiletries & Medication: BIODEGRADABLE soap & shampoo, tooth brush, tooth paste, etc, first aid kit: bandaids, gauses, bandages, iodine, antiseptic cream, ibuprofen or paracetamol, antibioticos against skin infections, anti-hystemine tablets; sun screen. It is important to bring te de coca for the high altitude.
3. Other necessary items: Sleeping bag, towels, soap for washing clothes, sunhat or cap, working gloves, torch/flash light, small backpack for hikes and work, water bottle, ziplock bags, diary, writing pad, pencils & pens, etc.
4. Recommended items, but not necessary: Binoculars (preferably waterproof), camara, books, playing cards, pocket knife, chocolate and/or energy bars, biscuits, sweets, etc.
Itinerary You choose your dates: after booking this package we will contact you and ask for your flight itinerary so we can plan your trip accordingly. Includes
- All accommodations
- Airport transfers
- Private transportation to and from station
- Three meals a day
- 300$ donation
- If Spanish lessons option chosen: airfare, transport and dorm included
- International airfare
- Personal expenses