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Conservation & Environment Volunteering in Costa Rica

Conservation in Costa Rica Projects Abroad offers you the opportunity to learn about tropical conservation in Costa Rica’s extensive forested national parks and provides a wonderful opportunity to work in a truly unique habitat - a series of underground caves.

Costa Rica has become a conservationist's paradise. Its government has developed a positive attitude and is protecting its many natural resources. Currently over 25% of Costa Rica is devoted to the conservation of plants and wildlife - more than any other country in the world! In addition, Costa Rica is a politically stable democracy with low crime rates and a good attitude towards conservation and environmental sustainability.

Ecotourism has become very important to Costa Rica, bringing in over one billion US$ per year. But as tourism becomes one of its major commodities, the people of Costa Rica need to ensure that the natural resources of this diverse, beautiful land are not destroyed.

Environmental Conservation Volunteer Work in Costa Rica

Conservation volunteering in Costa Rica Our Conservation & Environment programme is based in Barra Honda National Park; about two hours drive from Liberia. Barra Honda is made up of 2,295 acres of tropical dry forest, but the main attraction is a fantastic network of underground caves and caverns. There are 42 such caves in the park and only a few of them have been fully explored and mapped.

The park also hosts an extensive series of trails with many different types of tropical forest and its associated wildlife. The park is home to howler and capuchin monkeys, peccaries, coatis, small cats and a wide variety of birds and reptiles. The park possesses a breathtaking look-out point which offers impressive views of the valleys of the Tempisque River and some of the islands in the Gulf of Nicoya.

Your Role as a Volunteer on the Conservation & Environment Project in Costa Rica

Environmental volunteers in Costa Rica Volunteers have an important role to play in Costa Rica's National Parks. Despite Costa Rica's progressive approach towards conservation, the protected areas are still under funded and can only employ a few full time staff. Your presence gives them the extra hands needed to work on larger and more significant projects that are designed to improve the management of these reserves. Your contribution enables us to work in conjunction on many new research initiatives.

Our Conservation Manager in Barra Honda coordinates the day-to-day running of the project and liaises closely with the park’s management. You will become involved in a full range of activities, from adventurous trips underground to data collection and park maintenance. Barra Honda has huge potential for a wide range of projects and as a volunteer you will become part of some exciting new work.

Volunteers outside la Trampa Cave Current projects include wildlife inventories in the form of research walks, fixed-point observations, night walks and as of 2009, a full mammal census of the national park with the help of sensor cameras. Other work involves the truly spectacular caves as we look to investigate the previously unexplored caverns (future projects will include cave mapping, mineral studies, cave wildlife census and much more). Improved access to many of the more secluded caverns will aid research on the millions of bats to be found living in the park. The Barra Honda staff also need our help in maintaining the extensive network of trails, posting information in the welcome centre and constant updating of their species lists.

Our project coordinators are also eager for you to assist in environmental education projects and you might get involved in some work with the local communities that border the national park in an effort to heighten their awareness of conservation issues. This helps your volunteering efforts to be felt throughout the wider community and allows local people to understand the importance of conservation in their area.

During your stay you will also receive a series of lectures from the very knowledgeable staff you will be working alongside. Topics will range from broader conservation issues to specific flora and fauna found in the park.

White-faced Capuchin monkey It is not all work and no play since you’ll have weekends free to travel around! You can spend weekends exploring the beautiful sights Costa Rica has to offer or choose to relax in the wonderful surroundings provided by the national park. You may also choose to spend some weekends in Liberia getting to know the other Teaching, Care, Sports and Spanish volunteers who will be enjoying their volunteering experiences the town.

This project is available for two weeks if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely on a variety of conservation activities please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Costa Rica Conservation Management Plan.

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