Volunteer with FCT
Fundación Cordillera Tropical invites the participation of volunteers in its ongoing conservation projects. In 2020, volunteers will be able to contribute to two field initiatives, one in grass páramos within Sangay National Park, and the second on the agricultural frontier of Sangay, where the future conservation of wild montane forest habitats hangs in the balance. Additional volunteering opportunities may be added during the first semester of 2020.
FCT is now accepting inquiries for two projects in 2020:
In the previous 5 years, FCT has planted almost 50,000 trees, many following river courses. The strategy of using rivers as a template for reforestation generates multiple benefits: biodiversification of agricultural landscapes through greater connectivity with neighboring wildlands; improved aquatic ecology; firewood and fodder for domestic stock; improved water quality; spontaneous restoration of contiguous lands; reduced consequences of habitat fragmentation; and a hedge against extinction, because species can migrate as the climate changes.
Beginning with the onset of the rainy season in June 2020, FCT will continue its reforestation activities in the Dudas and Mazar watersheds, with the goal of planting 5000 trees by November 2020. Volunteers will help plant trees, working with local farmers and members of the community environmental promotion association CUTIN.
Building a scientific station in the páramos
From October 2020, construction will continue on a new research station within the southern part of Sangay National Park. The research station will be a base for researchers from around the world who will investigate páramo ecology; soil carbon budgets; the impacts of grazing, pine plantations, and cultivation on soil qualities; river geomorphology; and páramo restoration.
The scientific station will be a contribution of FCT and its researchers to Sangay National Park, and will be a destination for students who are initiating their careers in the natural sciences. Volunteers in this program will be housed nearby in rustic cabins and will have the opportunity to hike and explore the surrounding páramos and montane forests and work with researchers on site.
FCT welcomes inquiries from those with a commitment to conservation and a desire to work collaboratively to reach conservation goals. Most activities will take place in the rural settings of the projects, but there will be work time as well in our office in Cuenca. Cuenca, often called "the crown jewel of Ecuador," is a World Heritage city with winding rivers, cobblestone streets, picturesque churches, and a vibrant nightlife. Cuenca is unrivaled in its beauty and showcases ancient traditions with a modern twist: you can enjoy roast guinea pig (cuy) on a spit, wander fruit and vegetable markets, and visit century-old churches, and then go dancing to round off the day.
Due to the close participation of volunteers with local residents, we can only consider applicants with at least a basic level of conversational Spanish. FCT requires a one-month minimum commitment from prospective volunteers. Cohorts of volunteers begin their participation on the first of each month beginning in June 2020.
Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, in excellent physical shape, and capable of working in rigorous conditions, often in cool or cold temperatures and at high elevations.
Liability and Insurance
Volunteers are required to carry personal health and accident insurance that covers any injuries or illnesses sustained while in Ecuador. Volunteers should coordinate with their health care provider regarding necessary vaccinations for travel and work in Ecuador.
Travel Costs and Volunteer Contribution
Volunteers are responsible for their travel costs to and from Cuenca, Ecuador. During participation in the program, volunteers defray living costs and support FCT conservation efforts with a contribution, based upon the length of their stay. While in the field, the contribution covers all costs, including transportation to the site, housing, and food. During periods in Cuenca, the contribution covers housing, but students cover their own food and miscellaneous costs. At the present time, we do not offer grants or other financial support for volunteers.
For stays of one month, the daily contribution is $32 ($960/month); for the second and subsequent months, the daily contribution is $24 ($720/month).
We request that you initiate your participation by submitting a short inquiry form. It does not commit you to the program but will allow us to anticipate the requirements of each volunteer group. We will send a formal application and detailed program information to you shortly after receiving your inquiry.
Please email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Resume/CV (so that we may know more about your relevant skills and experience)
Time period requested (beginning the first of any month between June and December 2020)
In which volunteer program you would like to participate
Short essay on why you want to volunteer with FCT in Ecuador