Tropical Fungi Conservation Research

Peruvian Amazon Wildlife Volunteering & Internships

Creating Sustainable Solutions through Amazon Fungi Research

Peru’s Amazon Rainforest – Volunteer to research fungi in the remote Las Piedras watershed:

ARCAmazon is looking for volunteers and interns to assist us us on our fungal diversity and cultivation team. Our intensive Fungi Research for Sustainability Program is based from the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC). Fungi represent an entire phylum, with 75,000 described species and an estimated 6 million in total. Fungal diversity explodes in the neotropics, and any one day in the jungle you pass by hundreds of species of mushrooms. Despite this amazing diversity, there is a large gap in tropical fungal knowledge. We are looking for volunteers to help us collect and identify fruiting mushrooms for an onsite catalog so that we know more about the species that surround us. Aside from the biology and identification of mushrooms, we are interested in fungal ecology on the ground and in the forest canopy; largely related to spore dispersal and mammal species. Additionally, we are currently investigating methods of edible mushroom cultivation on site with the common tropical species Pleurotus djamor, Cookeina speciosa, Auricularia auricula, and more. Mastering mushroom cultivation not only provides us with a delicious and nutritious food source on site, but we are also exploring it as an economic alternative for communities in the Amazon.

 

Program Highlights:

  • Forage, observe and record data on elusive and rare neotropical fungi
  • Trek through pristine lowland Amazon rainforest
  • Learn about fungi and… herpetofauna, mammals, birds, insects, plants, indigenous communities, forestry, permaculture and much more.
  • Gain skills in field research techniques such as fungi identification skills, how to use a dichotomous key, basic ecology of fungi, edible species in the amazon, mushroom spore cultures, grain preparation and pasteurization, mushroom cultivation, canopy tree climbing, machete use and trail clearing, GPS GIS basics, data entry and analysis, equipment maintenance, and more
  • Meet researchers, artists, and explorers from all around the world
  • Help us protect Las Piedras, one of the last frontier wilderness areas on Earth, a Biodiversity Hotspot that is home to some of the last Uncontacted Tribes in existence!
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Program Fees:

  • 1 Week – US$ 950
  • 2 Weeks – US$ 1,445
  • 3 Weeks – US$ 1,750
  • 1 Month – US$ 2,345
  • 2 Months – US$ 3,955
  • 3 Months – US$ 5,130
  • 4 Months – US$ 6,120
  • 5 Months – US$ 7,500
  • 6 Months – US$ 9,000
— Fees cover full board and lodging, training and supervision, daily wildlife research, plenty of fun adventures and relaxing in-between work, airport transfers and in-country support.
Remember, ARCAmazon is a non-profit so 100% of fees are used to cover the costs of research, conservation and sustainable development in the Las Piedras watershed.

More Details – Fungi Program

Volunteers on the tropical fungi team can expect daily activities to include daily walks and learning workshops. During their time, they will develop the skills to find, identify and photograph many genera for our mushroom species list. Additionally, they will help collect, propagate, and harvest edible mushroom species for consumption on site. Current work includes developing a sustainable mushroom cultivation project in the local community of Lucerna. Working in the field the biggest obstacles include contamination – as we are working with limited lab materials, but we would like our methodology to be replicable for small communities in the Amazon. We also encourage motivated individuals to apply as a researcher if they have independent research they would like to carry out.
Volunteers and interns will assist the researcher with their daily field work of observation, documentation, data input, and analysis. Training will be given prior to the actual fieldwork, including safety in the rainforest, research methodologies, machete use and information on the local flora and fauna. Saturdays and Sundays are often used for work around camp, assisting in the kitchen, cleaning, washing clothes, practicing Spanish (with staff and local community members), helping other projects, exploring more of the jungle and most importantly relaxing. Fun activities for all can include swimming at the waterfalls, climbing up to the lookout point, stream walks and swims, mini expeditions, boat rides, Brazil nut harvesting, community visits and sports days, visiting agroforestry farms, physical labor, gardening, exercise programs, volleyball, board games and lazing in one of the many hammocks dotted around the station.

Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC)

The Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC) has been designed to cater for field research, conservation tours, expeditions and learning programs. It has a rustic Medicine Man-style charm. For those who love to experience nature and raw wilderness in rustic comfort, this is the perfect place for immersion into the wild. The center is located near beautiful streams and waterfalls. It’s surrounded by over 50km of trail networks and research transects. The camp is comfortable and sustainable with raised camping platforms covered by up-cycled advertising billboards, a large 2-story central work/dining area and a fully-equipped kitchen. There is running water, limited electricity (4-5 hours a day), outdoor and indoor showers, western and composting toilets. The camp can hold up to 50 guests at a time. There is NO internet or cellular phone network. The center operates as a non-profit business, where 100% of income is used to improve infrastructure, pay dedicated conservation and research staff and expand ARCAmazon’s conservation reach.

See more about LPAC here.

ARCAmazon

Who We Are:

ARCAmazon is a Peruvian non-profit organization that is committed to protecting and conserving Peru’s Amazon Rainforest; its valuable natural resources, its function in reducing climate change, its biodiversity and indigenous peoples. ARCAmazon’s team of experts have been active in Peru’s Madre de Dios region since the 90’s. They have trained thousands of volunteers and interns from all around the world, encouraging many to go on to become professionals in the environmental sector. Our team is constantly gaining knowledge and experience of the complex relationships between humans and the rainforest environment. This helps us to refine our conservation strategies and essentially become more effective over time. We lead and support research on themes from biodiversity to ethnobotany, socio-economics to sustainable business, agro-forestry to permaculture and conservation. ARCAmazon believes in the importance of sharing data with land owners, policy makers, NGOs and businesses, to help encourage all parties to take a stake in protecting this critical part of the planet.

The Amazon Rainforest in Peru is the perfect environment for aspiring researchers and wildlife enthusiasts to gain invaluable knowledge and skills while making a difference on the front-lines of ecosystem and biodiversity conservation. The work we do requires energy and enthusiasm of many. We are looking for people from all nations, races, sexuality, ethnicity, ages, beliefs and interests to get involved. All we ask for is that you bring passion, respect, love and a desire to take action for good, to save one of the last truly wild frontiers on the planet.
Can we help you? Make an inquiry about our programs here:
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