Help us managing a nature protected area in Aysén, Chilean Patagonia

Country

Chile

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    24  

  • last activity

    Last activity

    26/11/2022

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    within 4 days

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  2022 

 Min stay requested: at least 3 weeks

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  • Description

    Description

    COVID-19: We can accept only fully vaccinated volunteers.
    All restrictions are lifted in the country, however need a vaccination certificate or negative PCR test to enter the country.

    The project:
    We are a retired but still very active couple, Australian and Swiss. After many years of work in international institutions dedicated to environmental protection, we decided to invest our efforts, time and knowledge to active hands-on nature restoration and protection.

    Our project is a private nature protected area and is focusing on several aspects of ecosystem restoration, the main being large-scale and nature-friendly reforestation with native trees, complemented by wetland and other ecosystems restoration, erosion control, de-farming activities, land conservation, protection from uncontrollably developing local tourism and long-term legal protection. Our project is an absolutely non-profit private initiative, it has now been in operation for about 15 years. The reason for such a project in that region is the fact that the ecosystems (mainly ancient forest) of the whole region of Aysen were severely and irreversibly destroyed by deliberate fires and subsequent cattle raising in the mid-XX century. The project is designed to attenuate, where possible repair, the catastrophic damage done to nature by the colonisation of the last century.

    It is located in Leones valley, in the heart of Chilean Patagonia, 260 km South of Coyhaique (the capital of the region and the airport), between the villages Puerto Rio Tranquilo and Puerto Guadal. The area is isolated and remote, far from any public transport, it is neighbouring the Laguna San Rafael National park. You will feel like at the end of the world, and it is the case indeed.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    Gardening
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    General Maintenance

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Depending on your interests, you will learn how to set up life in a remote place off-grid (energy supply, communication, sanitation etc.), different aspects of nature-oriented reforestation and problems related to it on regional and local levels, the reality of the degraded state of the ecosystems of the region, some scientific and other aspects of the project and our experience with it. There will be very limited exposure to the local, colonial culture, as the project is designed to repair the damage done by it. Also, there is no one around, only two old horses who were born and lived in the valley.

    As the damaged nature of the area does not need publicity encouraging additional stress, we will ask you not to instagram, or otherwise expose to mass social networks, the project, for the sake of nature protection and the volunteering programme. It is focusing on protection of the privacy of nature until the times when nature's rights are accepted as part of legislations.

    We would appreciate it if you came for the experience, not publicity. We would also appreciate it if you had minimal, if any, activity on social networks. Please do not apply if you are interested in photography, film making or sharing profusely on popular social networks.

  • Help

    Help

    Our project cannot be used as a life-changing experience: we would ask you to use the skills that you acquired in your professional or personal lives, please tell us more about your skills. The skills that are of particular values are hands-on forestry, work on farms, etc. The priority needs of the moment are:
    - The very first of the moment: developing a nursery for native trees seedlings - building, preparing beds, weeding, repairing watering system, transplanting seedlings;
    - collecting native seeds;
    - pruning trees in orchard;
    - clearing trails and water lines;
    - house maintenance eg, repairing pipes (if necessary);
    - maintenance of off-grid energy system;
    - control of invasive plants;
    - feeding a cat and horses
    Depending on your skills you could also help with:
    - house-sitting when we are away from the property;
    - everyday care of the native plant nursery and the little organic garden;
    - maintenance of fences for protection from neighbours' cattle;
    - maintenance and reparations of the houses;
    - maintenance work and professional advice (if any) on independent sustainable energy supply systems, set up for the houses;
    - clearing and marking trails to the reforestation sites, making paths in thick bush;
    - setting up cameras for wildlife observation;
    - cutting grass and clearing around houses for fire protection;
    - transforming old orchards into orchards for wildlife;
    - cutting firewood;
    - moving out neighbours' cows if they get into the project;
    - making sure that tourists, passing to the national park, observe the indicated route and signs;
    - finding legal solutions for long term protection of such restoration projects;
    - looking for ways of reducing anthropogenic stress of the ecosystem;
    and other various tasks, proper to a de-farming lifestyle.

    Most probably, you will work by small individual projects. For the time being you will not participate in the tree planting as, in order to be effective, it is done by professionals and is season-depending, however it might be case soon.

    We would appreciate it if we can learn new skills from you.

    The jobs are mainly physical but rewarding, and depend on the season and weather. Life and work are not separated here, like on farms in the old days. In order to keep a humane dimension and a family style of the volunteering experience, we can host 2 volunteers (grand maximum 3), prepared for lonely life in the wilderness. The project operates in English, so you would need to speak English, we also welcome French-speakers so we can practice French. Some maturity is required for such an experience, we would appreciate it if you have a driver's licence and are not smokers, as smoking is not allowed in the project.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Spanish: Intermediate

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    Accommodation is simple but comfortable: an independent small house with electricity, running water and cooking facilities. We will provide groceries, of course, but you will have to cook for yourself. There is no TV, and internet connexion is reasonable but not ideal, breaking frequently. We are not connected to the grid, the power is generated locally by small sustainable sources (you will have an introduction to those).

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    You will be able to travel in the region around the lake General Carrera. The national parks, including the neighbouring Laguna San Rafael park, have restricted access. You will not be able to visit the nearest glacier, glacier Leones, as this sector of the national park is closed for public visits. Other glaciers, such as Exploradores or Calluqueo, are within reach. You can also hike in the property and might have privileged encounters with wildlife (native foxes, armadillos, lots of birds). The region is interesting in terms of geology and geomorphology.
    Publications about the area are available.
    You shall be ready for difficult times with mosquitoes and horseflies. Lots of pollen in summer, allergies can occur.
    As we are not a business or a company, we are not covered by the same insurances as a business activity, so we should take it into account.

  • 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

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    Two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 949946794469