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soil conservation



Volunteer Opportunities

The Golondrinas Foundation welcomes anyone who wishes to participate in our volunteer program, whether you have experience or not! We only suggest that you have the motivation to work, the adaptability to a rural environment and the willingness to make the best of your time with Golondrinas and to learn a little about village life in the Ecuadorian Andes.

A Group of Volunteers

Our volunteer program’s main objective is that applicants understand the socio-economical and ecological problems in the zone of influence of our project in the Lower Rio Mira Valley, proposing the application of sustainable agricultural alternatives to be able to improve the standard of living for the local people in the short, medium and long term.

Volunteer participation is very important to the organization. Their physical, emotional, psychological and economic efforts allow us to continue our plans and established programs to reach our proposed goals and thus build a better future for the area.

The Golondrinas Foundation offers this volunteer program as a rare opportunity where you can learn about, understand and experience other ways of life, contact with nature, and the balance between humans and their environment, and to be able to contribute to the betterment of our country.

Volunteer Program Cost

The Golondrinas Foundation is an NGO (non-governmental organization) which receives no governmental support and because of the difficult economic situation of our country, we ask that volunteers make a financial contribution. This money is used to cover the volunteer’s food and transportation costs and it allows the organization to manage the various activities it’s implementing, especially the environmental education courses, cloud forest protection and maintenance of the demonstration sites.

The contribution for international volunteers is $280 USD per month with a minimum stay of two weeks. However, we prefer that volunteers stay for one month to be able to fully connect with our projects and have a wider understanding of what we do.

Volunteers at work

We accept volunteers between the ages of 18 and 60. We do offer discounts to those who choose to stay more than two months or who apply to a specific volunteer position.

Areas of Work

The Cerro Golondrinas Cloud Forest Conservation project consists of three areas (see map): volunteers generally live in the village of Guallupe, but they also spend part of their time in the higher mountain areas.

Subtropical Zone: Guallupe-La Carolina

Guallupe is located in the Lower Rio Mira Valley at 1,000 meters altitude. Situated in this area is the demonstration farm Peña Negra where agroforestry methods, conservation techniques and soil improvements are being developed. This site also has a nursery and farm work.


The Foundation owns a home in the center of the village with electricity, running water, phone and access to the Health Center.

Cloud Forest Zone: Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa is located in the Golondrinas Valley at 1,650 meters altitude. To arrive, you take local transportation from Guallupe to the village of Las Juntas. From there, you hike approximately 1.5 hours to Santa Rosa. This is a demonstration site owned by The Golondrinas Foundation in secondary forest where we carry out experimental demonstrations of blackberry crops, naranjilla (Solanum quitoense), uvilla (Physalis peruviana), and a nursery of native species. We have also installed a hydraulic turbine that serves as a model for farmers and loggers of the importance of caring for one’s natural resources and the benefits they can provide.

Here, alternatives are practiced to help counteract the destruction of the forest due to indiscriminate logging and to create opportunities for a higher standard of living for the inhabitants of the area. The Center for Training and Scientific Research is also located at Santa Rosa. Its function is to house the varying activities related to the protection of nature since not only farmers but people in general should know the importance of their natural resources.


At Santa Rosa we have a basic cabin that can sleep 30 people. It has running water, electricity and shared rooms. We have made this cabin available to governmental and non-governmental organizations and all those interested in learning about The Golondrinas Foundation’s activities.

The Foundation can also facilitate the hiring of horses to carry visitors’ luggage.

Primary Forest Zone: El Corazón

El Corazón is located in the Cerro Golondrinas Protected Forest Reserve in primary forest, an abundant zone. Due its fragility, only low-scale maintenance is undertaken in this sector.


We have a very basic cabin at El Corazón with running water and shared rooms that can sleep 14 people.

Specific Volunteer Opportunities

Another volunteer

The Foundation is seeking volunteers who wish to participate on specific projects and who have a good understanding of Spanish. We prefer that these volunteers stay a minimum of three months or more with the organization and that they be responsible, creative and easily adaptable to the location. We need volunteers to help with classes including subjects such as the environment, ecology, nutrition, handicrafts and English. We could also use volunteers in administration, project development and marketing.

For those who need to improve their spanish we can recommend an excellent Spanish teacher in Quito who frequently works with us.

We do offer special discounts based on the length of stay and on a volunteer’s abilities and skills which may benefit The Foundation.

The Golondrinas Cloud Forest is one of the richest areas of biodiversity. Some of the species are endemic. It is also one of the most exposed areas to deforestation. There are endless opportunities for research. The region includes three different ecosystems: the páramo (3,800 – 4,200m), mountainous forest (1,500 – 3,800m) and premontane forest (less than 1,500m) in the Chocó bioregion.

Below is a list of researchers and their studies on flora and fauna statistics in these different ecosystems.

  • . Maike Potthast, "Useful tree species"
  • . Keith Willmott, "Butterflies"
  • . Hermann Antonn, "Bushes and Trees"
  • . Niels Krabbe, "The Birds of Golondrinas"

. The Foundation welcomes scientists interested in contributing their knowledge and work to the improvement, conservation and study of the area. We have decided on the following as research possibilities.

  1. . Aspects of forest conservation such as germination, growth conditions, soil texture, growth of secondary forest, and water management.
  2. . Study of different existing tree species as well as the recuperation of both regional flora and fauna species that are about to become extinct.
  3. . Sustainable development in both the cloud forest and the Lower Rio Mira Valley.
  4. . Alternatives to using the area’s natural resources. This includes permaculture, agroforestry, reforestation, nurseries, fruit orchards, beekeeping and ecotourism.

The Golondrinas Foundation’s Scientific Studies, Thesis and Practical Program allows both national and international undergraduate or graduate students to conduct a project that contributes to the knowledge of the socio-cultural and ecological problem in the region of influence where The Golondrinas Foundation carries out its activities (Lower Rio Mira Valley) and offers feasible alternatives to improve the situation in the area. Consequently, the Foundation makes its demonstration sites from the mountainous area of the Cerro Golondrinas Protected Forest Reserve, Santa Rosa, and Las Juntas to the Peña Negra Demonstration Farm available to carry out the varying studies related to the research subject.

If you are interested in doing a study or research project, please send us your curriculum vitae.

Health Precautions

Malaria is not a problem in the area. However, you should get all other vaccinations and take the precautions recommended for a visit to Ecuador.

Things you will need for a comfortable stay: rubber boots, canteen or water bottle, mosquito net, sleeping bag, light clothing, pants, long sleeved shirts, sandals, adequate shoes for a tropical climate, flashlight or torch, knife, hat, bug repellent, work gloves and first aid kit.

We also have a list of birds, mammals, butterflies and trees at your disposal.

For more information about doing research, please do not hesitate to contact us at rnaturaleza@hotmail.com or fgolondrinas@yahoo.com

More informations by our   Contact Form.

Fundación Golondrinas es una organizacion no gubernamental sin fines de lucro, fue creada, con el Acuerdo Ministerial. # 213 del 26 de junio 1996-MAG/INEFAN.

© Fundación Golondrinas 2008

(C) 2008 FUNDACION GOLONDRINAS, /Gualupe - Ecuador