Come help build and operate a wildlife and wetlands retreat with us in the Catskills, NY USA



 Min stay requested: 1 week or less



  • Description


    The Institute is a 501c3 charitable non profit in the Catskills of NY which newly opened in 2023. This is an indescribably magical and sacred place. Here we protect the marshland and wildlife which includes beavers, bears, deer, heron, turtles, a wide variety of pollinators and more. We raise Bobwhite Quail to release into the environment. We also offer healing therapies, native ceremonies, and have a small farm store with local goods and crafts as well as handmade organic textiles and products carried in from Sacred Valley Peru, Oaxaca Mexico, Provence France by board members of the non profit. It was so popular with Manhattenites in summer 2023 upon opening as this place it ranked #2 within only two weeks of opening. It's just a truly special place for those that really love glamping and nature. Each year we attract more and more wildlife that make us their home, when previously the land was barren except for only two remaining baby beavers after all were slaughtered by poachers. We see the results of our efforts year after year with the love we put into this sanctuary in the increasing animal populations and their trust in visiting humans, and the spiritual transformations in our visitors. This year we'll be focusing on fundraising events and retreats, rather than rental but hosting on this platform taught us so much.

    This property is a magical oasis on a sacred grid with native American graves and Manitou surrounding it. It is off grid with solar, and compost toilets, but with global travelers in mind high quality design influences - linen and organic fabrics and modern furnishings. We offer floating tents on the beaver pond where you can hear the baby kits awaken hungry before sun down, Norwegian cabins with skylights and abundant window views, healing teepees, barrel sauna, hanging tents and five person hammocks in the woods which only boats access. Our property is planted with only edible foods including the flowers and the majority is left for the birds and bees in a natural setting that is breathtaking. The very nature of this sustainable off grid retreat - is what makes it hard to find workers here and why we appreciate hard working Workawayers and workers that don't mind, and in fact love, glamping in nature.

    The local towns are small and far in distance, so if you come without a vehicle understand there aren't ubers to take you where you need to go. The board members will drive you when they run errands for laundry, groceries, and take you to see places for enjoyment on your time off if their schedule allows, and our President Meagan loves to do this with the Workaways. This year we are hosting an art installation the week of May 11th that we need a videographer for that can edit for different online platforms with emphasis on a Youtube short. We are also specifically looking for people with building, handyman skills as a first priority starting May 1 and we have a really cool project to complete of putting together a small dome on a floating dock, and anyone with stone experience - we'd love a pizza oven made with local stone, some simple stone steps made and have more stacking stones than you can believe. We also may have need a continuation of a walking path put in through the March later in the summer. Starting May 1 we will have need for someone that is interested in a customer service position for wine, beer and cider tasting events and farm store sales but that also has experience with providing holistic healing or massage services, playing music, hosting cacao ceremonies, and more. You'll need to be comfortable with lighting campfires and the sauna, or be eager to learn. Campfire cooking experience or vegetable gardening experience is a plus. There may be some light yard work or after event clean up. The tasks will change from day to day as the events do. The board members do all the same tasks as the Workawayers. This is a paid or Workawayer position and we ask that you commit to 5 hours of work on average each day, 5 days per work but you can work more if you choose and we see that goals are being met. The pay is $15 per hour and breakfast is provided each morning with many choices of breakfast options, coffee, tea, and hardboiled quail eggs (a delicacy) are offered once they start producing too.

    Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hosting you!

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Charity Work
    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    This year we have less building needs and are incorporating biweekly classes with focus in the health, wellness, spirituality, business, and eco sustainable realms - all with emphasis on off grid living 101 that is ever present in this environment as everything we did/ do here started with an "unbuildable" raw piece of land not so long ago. It's sad we have to add this disclosure, but must based on past experience: It is important that our Work A Ways understand this is not an opportunity to attend a retreat, sleep and relax and be paid to do so. When it's time to work the team must work with good humor and efficiently. In the past some took advantage and felt that their hourly paid time was tea time, meditation and nap time, and left their living space in dirty conditions for the Founder to clean. This type of lack of consideration won't be tolerated this year. This is a community project and when it's time to work, we work. We play and relax during off hours. And we always leave our spaces clean for the next workers and for our guests. So long as there is a level of respect for one another and open communication it's an easy environment to work in and there are so many amazing projects to dive into in this magical environment... and plenty of off hours rest and enjoyment in this relaxing space filled with stars and visiting wildlife and sacred dreams.

    The Catskills get more and more gorgeous starting in June with the pond edge flowers peaking in August and then as the leaves change here and the local farmers have bushels of apples and cider for sale - the area is truly special. The hiking, kayaking, swimming is plentiful and we have breweries and ciders so close... one just opened up a short walk down to the end of our private road... so we too will be having weekend wine, beer, and cider alongside them with other fun events - music, sound bowls, tarot readings and more. The Catskills are so unique in that each village has an entirely different feel and vibe. From the hippies in Woodstock to the skiers in Windham and Hunter to writers in Roxbury, the Cidery on a grand generational farm in Gilboa, to the farms everywhere selling produce and offering horse rides... it's a fantastic place to be. And here, on this land, you're surrounded by beavers, and butterflies and hummingbirds and a quiet that many "sleep like the dead" within - you may find yourself not wanting to leave. And... arguable the most incredible city in the world... NYC is only a two hour train ride away from the local Hudson station so you can see the "Big Apple" before or after your trip here - and we're happy to share a list of all our favorite places/ neighborhoods with you too!

  • Host offers payment in line with the minimum wage

    Host offers payment in line with the minimum wage

    This host offers accommodation and payment.

    Host has indicated that they will pay at least the minimum hourly wage of their country for each hour worked and that accommodation will also be provided. They are asking for help with a business or business activity. Contact the host directly via the site messenger for more information and details about the wage provided. Any arrangements should be agreed in advance with your host.

  • Help


    We have a large variety of projects here at the retreat. Most importantly we need builders and handymen for a large number of items from building rock pathways and patios, setting up tents (and hanging tents and hammocks) and rebuilding floating docks the tents float on top of, creating pathways in the woods and simple bridges across the beaver canals and streams, to building kit sheds, greenhouse domes and tiny treehouses in the woods. We have some small details to finish in the store: painting and inventory on days it's raining and we want to work inside. The birds could uses a pen built inside the barn shed and a simple rainwater drinking system for the birds would be nice. The 2 acres of woods could use a clean up and trails and firewood stacked of the cuts and fresh branches given to the beavers for their winter food stores, and maple water and mushrooms can be farmed in the woods. We keep it simple here, but there is much to do. If you are a couple, secondary needs and desires are gardening and horticulture, artistic contributions such as murals, wall art and natural sculptures made from environmental materials, a pizza stone oven is desired to be built out of the local stone and , easy egg breakfast and artesian bread recipes over the fire and beverages are to be experimented with and served, the small store will need displays, and there are arts and crafts ideas and contributions aplenty and anyone with experience in customer service and holistic treatments is a secondary need.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    The Founder, Meagan Holub travels the world as is always interested in learning new languages. However, the nature of the projects will typically mean that English should be fluent in the workaway to avoid accidents at work, and better communicate with customers and donors if possible.

  • Accommodation


    Because we are early in the opening of the retreat, you may sleep in different accommodations depending on what has rented out that night. Perhaps you'll be in a modern norwegian cabin on wheels, or a floating tent on the beaver pond, or a large teepee, all decorated with the finest natural furnishings and linen beddings and comfy mattresses. You may find yourself on a mid-century farm truck tiny house, or if you are brave and want to try- a hanging tent or teepee tent with views of the entire marshland - a stunning view and an entirely other world in the woods across the water. Wherever you stay, we will make sure you have the best furnishings and design and beddings, and you are happy and have your own nice sized space and queen bed. We just ask that you stay packed and limited to one suitcase in case we need to move you for renters incoming. Personally, we would WANT to try all these amazing accommodations out if visiting so if you think the same, it's a great fit!

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The Catskills is filled with all mentioned above, and we'll have lists of great local sights for you to visit but there are also festivals, car shows, hot air balloons, snow sports and more. Here in this small town on the edge of Gilboa it's a one store- gas station town (and the store is limited to basics and only serves hot food until 3 PM each day) so you will want to have transportation if at all possible to get out and see the sights in all the surrounding towns and villages and parks within a 10 to 60 minute drive. If you choose to come without transportation we all take trips to the store, landry mat etc on rainy days. We have a half sized fridge/ freezer and hot and cold water machine on the property to keep your food and fresh water shipped in weekly, so you can choose to hunker in and just absorb the peacefulness of the land. However, we do urge you to have your own transportation if you desire to see the area. Rentals can be acquired in Hudson, Albany, and other local areas. If you choose not to drive and need us to pick you up at the Amtrak train station - the town of Hudson is the best place for us, but Albany airport is okay too. Just please understand Ubers and the like are extremely limited and if you find one they may be expensive. We will always ask visitors if they would like to offer ride shares to where they are going that day for a small fee, and we bet many will happily offer a ride to and back.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    Hi! We have Starlink and it works really well. Cell service on Verizon is not good but T Mobile and AT&T are better.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We would need to discuss and know the size of the vehicle and tires on it before committing as parking is limited. You won't be hooked up to water or electricity.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Variable and based on events scheduled. No earlier than 9 AM and not passed sundown. The weather can be unexpected here, and we want you to enjoy yourself. So long as we communicate about your tasks to be done, and in what order, you can decide if you wan

Host ref number: 824559782317

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