Bilsa: Tropical Rainforest

Bilsa: Tropical Rainforest

The station offers the volunteer program for those interested in protecting the remaining critical of the tropical rainforest of Ecuador.

How can you help us?

  • Reforestation or maintenance.
  • Seed collection and selection of species for resforestation.
  • Planting seeds in platabandas.
  • Rescue and maintenance of orchids garden
  • Maintenance and monitoring of forests trails.
  • Staking and maintenance of trees in reforestation lines.
  • Maintenance of trails and gardens around the cottages.
  • Maintenance of the gardens with fruit trees (80 to 90 different species) near the cabins.
  • Maintenance of the garden of medicinal plants.
  • Maintenance of a hectare of banana.

Projects in groups of 2-3 people on the following topics:

  • Phenology: Study to determine when certain trees (timber, large) are with flowers or fruits. In the forest we have marked trails used by the visitors in their hikes. 
  • Garden of orchids and bromeliads: there is a continuos work with the rescued species in the forest which are planted for identify when they bloom, for this, a continuous monitoring and maintenance work is needed.
  • Maintenance of the trails in the forest: clearing trees, branches, fallen leaves on the trails.
  • Cabin, infrastructure and gardens maintenance

Studies for natural regeneration and reforested secondary forest:

  1. Natural regeneration in a 20x20m plot around a tree.
  2. This study was repeated for 26 different species of timber trees.
  3. Natural regeneration in 20x20m plots outside the seed trees in primary forest and secondary.
  4. Natural regeneration of trees replanted on a plot of 1 hectare.
×NOTE: To participate in this studies, the volunteer must stay at least 2 to 3 months Bilsa. It takes time to learn about the different species and the projects requires a lot of work. In addition, volunteers will spend more then 2 days a week for the project.
  • Medicinal plants: To lift and systematize information provided by local residents. Organize the data in a book with a detailed description of each species including photographs.
  • Systematic observation of birds for comparison with the existing list. Obtaining data on feeding, breeding, migration and others.
  • Assistance to visiting researchers who are doing research at the station.
  • Teaching children from a nearby community school, English or Environmental Education: Please note that there is no specific teaching materials for teaching English and environmental education. Classes are held only from May until the end of December.
  • Carpentry: making signs / banners for trails, cabins footstool.
  • Your personal project: Each volunteer should have a proposal with objectives and methodology. Is better to come with an idea of ​​what you want to do because in some cases there is no material in site and you should bring it. The volunteer will have one day a week for the personal project
  • Hiking in the woods and rivers: The opportunity to enjoy the stunning diversity of plants, trees, birds, insects, frogs, snakes and other wildlife that offers Bilsa, while realizing the importance of protecting what little remains (1-2%) the coastal forests of northwestern Ecuador. The volunteer who stays at least one month can be sure to see the howler monkeys (and if they are lucky to Capuchin monkeys), sloths, agouti, ocelot, armadillo, a variety of frogs, snakes and lizards and birds (including the umbrella bird, tucans, aracaris, trogons, tanagers and manakin. In addition, interested persons may participate in walks at night.

A typical week schedule could be:

•2 days reforestation and maintenance
•2 day projects
•2 day hiking
•1 day off
Who can volunteer at Bilsa?
  • Students with knowledge of biology, ecology and environment and related.
  • Students who are traveling and want to learn, help and enjoy everything.
  • Students who need to fulfill community service or internship credits
  • Professionals who want to test their knowledge and learn new things
  • People interested in the environment and have field experience
  • Experience in Bilsa is for people who like adventure, to work hard, enjoy life, have fun and share with rural people