Congal: Tropical Rainforest and Mangrove

6 DAYS - 5 NIGHTS
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Congal: Tropical Rainforest and Mangrove

Volunteers and / or interns interested in working with the Congal Biomarine Station will participate in a wide range of activities

You can work with two communities:

  1. Bunche Campus: This is a small community located a 20 minutes walk from the station. The community has about 1,000 inhabitants, their main livelihood is fishing, extraction of shells in the mangroves, the production of cocoa and small-scale farming on land. The community has a primary school and a kindergarten. Most people have farms but only a few are being cultivated.
  2. Town of Muisne: This is the largest community in the area about 6 km from the station. The population is about 9,000 inhabitants, of whom a minority are living in the mainland (New Muisne) the majority lives on the island of Muisne across the estuary of the same name. Few people have farms and most of the inhabitants are engaged in fishing and collecting shells. In addition to the Artisanal and small businesses, there are no sources of employment for the locals. Therefore there is much poverty. The village has a few health centers, several primary and secondary schools and one public hospital. There are a few Internet sites, telephone services, hotels, restaurants and many shops with basic goods. The beach is a real paradise!

To participate in any activities in Muisne, volunteers must pay their own transportation (USD $ 1.40 round trip from the station).

Volunteers have the possibility to work in the following areas:

1) Social service:

  • Farmers Cooperative Certified Organic Cocoa (FONMSOEAM): Located 45 minutes by bus from the station. The job is to assist in processing artisan cocoa.
  • Area Health: Get involved in the public hospital in the city of Muisne.
  • Nursery: Preschool children need a variety of activities and entertainment for their good development, therefore, innovative ideas and creative people are always helpful to help the children.
  • Microenterprise training: We need more ideas to implement micro-enterprises for income generation;  value-added products and market research are needed to generate potential revenue opportunities for local people. We support small artisans (marimba, houses concheras lunches, etc) in order to build up micro enterprises and promote ecotourism.
  • Construction and maintenance of infrastructure: The work is mainly in local villages, schools and kindergartens. It includes painting walls (Bricklayers welcome!), Repair / construction of fences, carpentry, bamboo and / or wood, playground, chairs and tables. Help is also needed to repair homes of disadvantaged and in general maintenance of infrastructure.
  • Gardening: Options include the planting of ornamental plants and fruit trees in small parks, schools, kindergartens and streets.

2) Forms of sustainable income generations (in station and on local farmers):

  • Organic agriculture and agro-forestry, animal husbandry and good management of resources are the basic concepts of tropical agriculture.
  • Volunteers can work in organic vegetable or fruit-gardens, in the maintenance of plantations of cocoa, harvest weekly seasonal fruits or other resources (such as tagua seeds, leaves, straw or bamboo shawl), weeding pastures, repairing, building or removal of hedges.

3) Education:

  • You can teach English in any of the five schools during the school period April to December. English is part of the school curriculum.
  • Volunteers can also be involved in public educational campaingns which focus on environmental issues, sexual health education and others.

4) Environmental development and conservation:

  • Conservation targeted activities include: zoning of land, mangrove reforestation, forest inventories of the reforestation areas in humid tropical forest, working with nursery plants, monitoring of sea turtles on beaches during nesting season (October to late December).
  • Waste reduction program: reduce, reuse and recycle.
  • Beach cleaning and construction of trash bins out of wood / bamboo. We need ideas for reusing plastic. Education campaigns are always welcome!

5) Construction and repair of infrastructure:

  • Maintenance of Infrastructure at the station, of trail and others.

NOTE: To participate in this study, volunteers must stay at least 2 to 3 months in Bilsa. It takes time to learn about the different species and the projects requires a lot of work. In addition, volunteers will spend more than 2 days a week for the project.

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

Station’s Description and Facilities

Congal Station covers a succession of ecosystems such as beaches, mangroves, man-made wetlands and tropical humid rainforest. The 170 hectares (425 acres) are, on a small scale, an example of natural resource management integrating sustainable acuaculture, agroforestry and range management with conservation. It is partly surrounded by mangroves and divided into two different areas:

  1. Lagartera, where the main housing facilities are located.
  2. Chontaduro hills, which include protected forest, regeneration and reforested areas as well as agroforestry models with cacao.

1 review for Congal: Tropical Rainforest and Mangrove

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    Jatun Sacha Foundation

    Congal: Tropical Rainforest and Mangrove

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