Green Living, Natural Building & Permaculture Volunteer Program

Co-create sustainable living in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest

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Program Overview:
The Las Piedras River System is one of the last wild frontiers on our planet. Basing ourselves in Las Piedras means we have a responsibility to live and work sustainably within this precious rainforest ecosystem. Our goal at the Las Piedras Amazon Center is to demonstrate sustainable living through green infrastructure and energy, local food sourcing, permaculture, reduction of waste and best practice for forest use. Buildings at the center are created using majority locally-sourced materials such as timber, earth, bamboo and cane. We use a mix of local and foreign expertise to ensure buildings can withstand the heavy rains and high humidity of the jungle, while keeping up with new (and ancient) techniques that reduce impact on the environment.
Working with our local teams and natural building expert, Whitey Flagg, participants on Amazon Academy‘s Green Living, Natural Building and Permaculture Program have an opportunity to co-create the very living space from which teams will continue to advance conservation and community outreach efforts in Las Piedras. Participants will help demonstrate the techniques and importance of natural building, permaculture and responsible living to hundreds of visitors each year, as well as set an example for local communities who are encouraged to take part in the program. Participants may also have the chance to work in the nearby community of Lucerna to co-develop community-specific green living projects. Participants will learn about living responsibly in the rainforest, have the opportunity to go into the forest with research teams, visit communities and experience one of the most spectacular ecosystems on Earth.
Overall Program Goals:
  • Reduce ARCAmazon’s impact on the local environment
  • Support local and neighboring communities of Las Piedras in learning, living more sustainably and improving living/working environments
  • Support local sustainability-focused livelihoods and reduce costs and environmental impact from food and forest produce consumption
  • Demonstrate green living practices to hundreds of visitors each year
Activities may include:
  • Building of infrastructure (cob, rammed earth, sandbag, bamboo, carpentry, etc.)
  • Improving waste systems (composting toilets, water waste, recycling, etc.)
  • Video and photo documentation of the Green Living work being undertaken
  • Planting and tending to fruit and vegetable gardens
  • Working with local partners to co-develop and implement green living projects
  • Designing, building and improving water capture systems
  • Designing, improving and implementing renewable energy systems
  • Co-developing and helping enforcement of visitor guidelines for responsible use of the forest (trail usage, animal handling guidelines, etc.
Further Details:
Volunteers normally participate for between 1 week and 6 months (sometimes shorter or longer). Most work is carried out in the forest along the Las Piedras River, within the world-renowned rainforest region of Tambopata-Madre de Dios, Peru. After an initial welcome and training session in Puerto Maldonado, Amazon Academy volunteers will be transported (usually by 4×4 and boat) to the Las Piedras Amazon Center and Forest Ranger Camps where they will live and work for the majority of their time with relatively infrequent trips back to town, depending on work requirements/personal needs. ARCAmazon provides certificates to all program participants and is happy to consider providing character and employment references.
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1 WEEK (7 DAYS)

Placement Fee
$930 £715
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off

2 WEEK (14 DAYS)

Placement Fee
$1,450 £1,115
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off

3 WEEK (21 DAYS)

Placement Fee
$1,750 £1,346
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off

1 MONTH (30 DAYS)

Placement Fee
$2,345 £1,804
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off

2 MONTHS (60 DAYS)

Placement Fee
$3,955 £3,042
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off

3 MONTHS (90 DAYS)

Placement Fee
$5,130 £3,946
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off

4 MONTHS (120 DAYS)

Placement Fee
$6,120 £4,708
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off

MORE THAN 120 DAYS

Placement Fee
$50 per day
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off
Please Note: ARCAmazon is a not-for-profit initiative and all fees are strictly used to cover the program’s expenses and direct protection of forest in the Las Piedras watershed. For program durations outside of those stated above (e.g. 16 days) we apply a pro rata system to determine the final fee. For periods longer than 120 days (4 months) the maximum fee is US$50 per day. In cases where participants require services above and beyond our regular provisions (see ‘Included’ section below), an additional fee may be required to cover this (to be discussed on application).

Included in This Field Placement

This is what we cover for you, with your fee:

  • Transfers on arrival and departure at Puerto Maldonado (airport, bus station or hotel)
  • Scheduled transport to and from field sites during the placement
  • Shared accommodation from start to end of the period (in the field and Puerto Maldonado)
  • Three substantial and healthy 2-course meals each day
  • Clean drinking water, tea, coffee and fruit juice at all times
  • Limited use of electricity generator each day
  • Support and training which may include: Health & Safety; trail use and orienteering, basic jungle survival, basic ecology, impacts and challenges affecting the forests in Madre de Dios; research and conservation solutions for the rainforests in Madre de Dios
  • Specialized training (depending on the placement): Species identification, conservation research, wildlife monitoring (track identification, camera trapping, VES surveys), forest conservation, reforestation, community engagement, permaculture, green building, sustainability, wildlife film production, wildlife photography, wildlife management
  • Personal supervision within your chosen project/field of work, by an experienced field coordinator (2-5 participants per coordinator)
  • Care and support from an experienced logistics and administration team based at the ARCAmazon head office in Puerto Maldonado
  • Weekly excursions (macaw and parrot clay-lick, boat rides, mini-expeditions, community social events)
  • The experience of one of the most spectacular natural environments on Earth with alongside a highly trained and fun team of conservationists

This is what is not included:

  • Travel insurance (compulsory for all participants)
  • Flights and/or bus tickets to and from Puerto Maldonado
  • Spending money for snacks, drinks and souvenirs
  • Personal equipment (headlamp, bug repellent, binoculars etc.)
  • Participants may prefer to bring their own tent if they would like to camp (see accommodation section)
  • Add-ons (Tours to Machu Picchu, Cusco and other parts of Peru, full expeditions, lazy river experience, remote native community visit, etc.) – please inquire on application

The Accommodation

The Camp at Las Piedras Amazon Center is designed for expedition-style research, tours and learning programs. It has a rustic Medicine Man-style charm. For those who love nature and raw wilderness, this is the perfect place for immersion into the wild. The camp is located near beautiful streams and waterfalls. It’s surrounded by trail networks and research grids. The camp is surprisingly comfortable with raised camping platforms, a central work/dining area and a fully-equipped kitchen. There is running water, limited electricity, outdoor showers and composting toilets. The camp can hold up to 25 guests at a time.

See more about the Camp here

Accommodation / Sleeping
The camp consists of raised wooden camping platforms, each able to hold 1-4 tents. The platforms are covered with tarpaulins and the sides open to the spectacular forest surrounds. Guests may prefer to camp on the forest floor in the designated zones. Camping mattresses, hammocks, bedding and mosquito nets can be arranged for those without their own tents.

Bathrooms
The camp has six outdoor showers and composting toilet facilities which minimize the impact on the forest. There are clothes washing facilities near the bathroom area and lines to dry washing in the sun.

Communal Area
The camp has 2 expedition-style areas for living, dining and work. This is where, among other activities, guests can interact and play games, meals are served and data is downloaded and entered. There are a number of hammocks dotted throughout the surrounding forest.

Food
The kitchens are always hubs of activity and our excellent chefs are usually happy to have company and helping hands. We know that food is our secret weapon for getting into the hearts of our clients, the most important ingredient to a happy stay with us. Our chefs are undoubtedly the best in the region and the envy of some of the top ecolodges in the Amazon. Helping our chefs in kitchen will give visitors an opportunity to learn about cooking with local ingredients and practice local Spanish lingo. Meals are served in the common areas. The kitchen at the camp may also be used by those who prefer to prepare their own meals.

Electricity
Electricity is provided from generators which are active during only some parts of the day. Guests will have opportunities to recharge electronic items and use electronic equipment in the early mornings, midday and evenings after dark. At 9pm the lights go out and the Amazon Center goes into quiet mode to allow guests to soak up the sound of the forest at night and get well rested for the following day’s activities. Guests are provided candles and are encouraged to bring personal battery powered lights/torches with enough power for their stay.

Communication
Due to the remoteness of the Amazon Center there is no phone signal and no internet. The Amazon Center staff communicate with the administration team in town twice a day via a longwave radio. The field-based team is able to get messages to and from loved ones through this means if required. In general we find our guests receive a ‘much greater connection’ without wifi!

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