Have the adventure of a lifetime during your next summer holiday and join us on our Amazon Rainforest Conservation Project for teenagers in Peru. You will work at the Taricaya Ecological Reserve and live at a camp in the heart of the jungle. This reserve is owned and funded primarily by Projects Abroad and our volunteers play an important role in keeping things going.
Explore the rainforest on foot, and help care for animals at our rehabilitation centre. Count the wild animals you see and record their numbers for scientists. Get off the beaten track and build trails in the jungle so conservationists and volunteer can venture further.
This is an amazing opportunity to break away from city and suburban life and immerse yourself in the magic of an ancient rainforest. You will also be part of a group of young volunteers from all over the globe, so you’re sure to make new friends.
When you apply you only pay AUD$495, which comes off the total price.
Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 1300 132 831 to see if we can offer a discount.
Fixed dates during school holidays
This project is only for 15-18 year olds
What's included in the price?
Food (three meals a day)
Travel and medical insurance
Airport pick-up and drop-off
Full induction and orientation by an experienced staff member on arrival
Transport to and from your work placement
In-country support and 24-hour back-up from our team of full-time local staff
Emergency assistance from our international emergency response team
Project equipment and materials, including access to our database with thousands of resources
Training and workshops from our experienced local staff
Regular social events and community activities with other volunteers and interns
Access to our local office with internet connection
Certification of project completion
Access to our alumni services and discounts
Visa support and advice
Fundraising support, including your own personalised fundraising website
Pre-departure preparation by your own specialist Volunteer Advisor
Personalised MyProjectsAbroad website, with all the information you need about your project, accommodation and destination
Membership to our volunteer social media groups, to share information and to get in touch
A free cultural awareness course
Organised weekend tourism trips
Dedicated full-time staff members with you 24 hours a day
What's not included?
Visa costs (where applicable)
What will I do on this project?
During your time at the Taricaya Ecological Reserve, you will:
- Conduct wildlife surveys to help us keep track of animals in the area
- Feed and care for animals at the rescue and rehabilitation centre
- Help preserve and protect freshwater turtles
- Expand your horizons with a jungle adventure
Your work will focus on the following areas:
You will help us keep a record of the various bird and animal species roaming around the reserve by doing surveys. Sometimes you will observe wildlife from viewing decks and walkways high up in the forest canopy. Other times, you will collect data from camera traps or scour the river banks for turtle nests.
We have identified almost 500 different species of bird alone in the reserve. You will also get to see incredible wildlife, such as various species of monkey, big cats, giant anteaters, and tapirs!
Thanks to our extensive research in the area, Taricaya Ecological Reserve is now known globally as a biodiversity hotspot. It has played host to international courses and famous film companies, from National Geographic to the BBC.
Care for animals at the rescue centre
The rescue and release programme at Taricaya has been running for 16 years. It was the very first of its kind in Peru. It is now recognised as one of the top rescue and rehab centres in Peru. All the animals in the centre require a lot of attention daily. You play a vital role in taking care of them. This includes feeding the animals, cleaning enclosures, draining and refilling pools, and assisting on-site vets when necessary.
We’ve had many successes over the years, such as releasing more than 5 groups of spider monkeys back into the wild. We have also rescued a number of spectacled bears from circuses and did the first ever relocation of a jaguar in Peru.
Preserve and protect freshwater turtles
Freshwater side-necked turtles are endemic to lakes and rivers throughout the Amazon. However, poachers steal their eggs and this has had a devastating effect on the population. To help, we run a relocation programme for turtle nests. We have built artificial beaches at Taricaya where they can hatch safely.
As a volunteer on a High School Special, you will arrive between June and August. This is the perfect time to help with the cleaning and preparation of artificial beaches. You will also get to spend some time searching for nests to transfer them to the artificial beaches for their incubation period.
The jungle adventure of a lifetime
This project offers you the unique opportunity to live in and explore a part of the Amazon jungle that few other people have had the privilege of seeing. What’s more, you’ll do this with others teenagers from all over the world and make new friends as you go along.
You will get to experience a bit more of the surrounding area during a weekend trip. This will typically entail a camping trip down river or a visit to Puerto Maldonado.
Who are our project partners?
Animal Defenders International (ADI) is an integral part of our projects to rescue and protect Spectacled and Andean bears. These bears are only found in South America and currently classified by CITES as highly endangered.
The organisation has been involved with several international animal rescues. They fund both the relocation and rehoming of circus lions, tigers, chimpanzees, and other animals. It has become a major force for animal protection, succeeding through its undercover investigations and securing legal protection for animals.
Where interns work
You’ll be based in the heart of the Peruvian rainforest at Taricaya Ecological Reserve. This piece of land is located in the Amazon jungle and home to an incredible array of animal, bird, insect and plant species that you might only have dreamed of encountering before.
Gigantic ancient trees rise up so high you can’t even see their tops, except when you’re right among the leaves on our canopy walkway. The walkway is the highest in South America. Enjoy spotting curious spider monkeys peeking through the branches and wake up to a chorus of chirps and squawks as the birds greet the day.
The reserve is owned and funded almost entirely by Projects Abroad, which makes us doubly proud of the great work you will help us do there. This is why volunteers - like you - are so vital to keeping the programme running.
Puerto Maldonado is the nearest town, about an hour’s boat ride away. This is where the airport is located and also where you will find shops, hotels, and internet access.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring Our Impact
Every year, thousands of High School Special volunteers and interns actively make a difference around the world. During their time abroad, they contribute towards achieving long-term goals and make a long-lasting positive impact on the communities where they work.
We produce an annual High School Specials Impact Report, which documents some of these achievements. Find out more about the impact of these projects, and read the latest report.
In today’s world, our environmental state is a hot topic and one that many do not know what to do about. Although I had joined my school’s “eco club”, I knew I wanted to do more, which was what led me to decide to make the arduous journey to the Amazon, and see just how much I could do!
Rainforest Conservation in Peru for Teenagers
When my departure date arrived, I didn't want to leave and I still frequently think fondly of my time there. If you love animals, care for the environment, are eager to learn new things, and aren't afraid to get dirty, then this project is definitely for you!
Rainforest Conservation in Peru for Teenagers
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