Tena Bio Research Station and Reserve

Tena Bio Research Station and Reserve

Join courses including medicinal ethnobotany, dendrology of Amazonian Ecuador, ecology of populations, Amazon jungle biology for ecotourism guides, and seminars for US high school teachers. 

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Napo province, Canton Tena, 2.500 hectares

Lat: 1º 04' S, 77º 36' W,   Altitude:450 msl

The average yearly temperature is 25ºC, it rains close to 5,000mm per year, on an average of 200 rainy days. The lowest rainfall is during the months between November to January and the highest occurs between April to July. You can expect June to be the wettest month of the year.



The original reserve of 200 hectares was formed by land acquisitions conducted from 1989 to 1991 from donations by several conservation organizations concerned with the rapid loss of the tropical Rainforests in the Amazon and the world. In 1993, further additions to land holdings were made possible through donations from the International Children’s Rainforest Network. During the first years of the biological station, scientific research has focused on collections and inventories of the biota. Checklist of the following flora and fauna groups are available: reptiles and amphibians, birds, trees, vascular plants, fungi, butterflies, and mammals. Ecological research has included multi-taxonomic monitoring and silvicultural trials. The station has also hosted a number of field-related biology courses directed at national and international students. The courses include medicinal ethnobotany, dendrology of Amazonian Ecuador, ecology of populations, Amazon jungle biology for ecotourism guides, and Save the Rainforest seminars for US high school teachers.

Studies have demonstrated that there are 250 different species of trees in one hectare, and close to 1,500 species of plants in the same area. Out of more than 1,000 species of trees catalogued by Neill & Palacios, in the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin, 17 new species were found within the reserve.

Besides these, the reserve has yielded many new species to science, just to mention a few: in 1997, Michael Schwerdtfeger descried a new species of Passiflora, naming it P. Jatunsachensis; Gregory O. Vigle lists more than 112 species of reptiles and amphibians. So far 222 species of orchids have been collected by various persons.

Numerous bands of saddleback tamarins (Saguinus Fuscicollis) are seen often. 51 species of mammals inhabit the reserve, including large cats as puma and jaguar, demonstrating how well the area has been preserved.



There are two groups of cabins, Fauna and Flora. Fauna can accommodate up to 24 visitors at a time, in 4 cabins, 3 bunk beds in each. In this section there is a laboratory, with a few equipment, microscopes, a computer, a video and nature films, available for the volunteers. Flora, where the volunteers are lodged has space for 15 volunteers, in 3 cabins of two rooms each. Both sections have their own set of toilets and showers in separate buildings. Close by, in case of lack of water, since we still depend on the rain for the water, we have two outhouses (latrines), and the river is still close enough for a bath. You are supplied with a mosquito net, two sheets and a blanket. The dining room can fee 50 visitors. There is boiled water in a tank and coffee available for everybody at all times. Although it's open all day, it can be kept open after suppertime upon request. The dining room can fee 50 visitors. There is boiled water in a tank and coffee available for everybody at all times. Although it's open all day, it can be kept open after suppertime upon request. We have electric power 24 hours a day, but you should expect power failures. You can also have your clothes washed for a minimum price in the stations washing machine. There is a computer and internet connection that can be used by volunteers at an extra cost. Mail can be received at the main office in Quito and then sent to the station. In Tena there are several places where you can e-mail from or use the regular telephone.



The work schedule is very much flexible, but volunteers will be working in the following activities:

- Compost maintenance
- Botanical Gardens maintenance
- Seeds collection 
- Soil preparation
- Tree nursery maintenance
- Vegetable garden maintenance
- Trails maintenance and new trails construction
- Seedlings and seeds collect for the nursery or the farm
- Workshops of handicrafts elaboration with the Quichua community
- Reforestation Projects either at the station, in communities or independent farms
- Precipitation and temperature data collection
- Several agroforestry experiment data collection and maintenance
- Maintenance and improvement of the station and its facilities
- Help in the kitchen, especially when there are groups visiting the station
- English teaching in the mornings at nearby schools
- Construction of another cabin on the other side of the reserve
- Cacao harvesting, drying and chocolate processing



1. Clothing & Footwear: Well fitting rubber boots (knee high) are indispensable!; Shoes to walk and/or play sports in, sandals; Fast drying clothes are recommended, however any old shirts and trousers /pants will be good to work in. Just make sure you bring some extra clothes, at least 2 pairs of trousers to work in and 1 pair for the evenings, shorts, many t-shirts (short and long sleeved) and many pairs of socks (short and long), a fleece or anything else that’s warm for the evenings, swimming costume, poncho or rain jacket.

2. Toiletries & Medication: BIODEGRADABLE soap & shampoo, tooth brush, tooth paste, etc. First aid kit: Band-Aids, gases, bandages, iodine, antiseptic cream, ibuprofen or paracetamol, antibiotics against skin infections, anti-histamine tablets; Sun screen; Repellent.

3. Other necessary items: Sleeping bag, towels, soap for washing clothes, sunhat or cap. working gloves, torch/flash light with enough spare batteries, 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), Camera, Books, playing cards, pocket knife, chocolate and/or energy bars, biscuits, sweets, etc.

Additional Information

Additional Information

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.
  • 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
  • Registration free
  • International airfare
  • Beverages
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuities
  • Insurance