Volunteer in the Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon is the world's largest rainforest located in South America. The Amazon produces over 20% of the world's oxygen and is home to some of the most diverse wildlife and biodiversity on the planet. Sadly, the Amazon is under constant threat. Learn more about how you can help and search inspirational volunteer opportunities today.
Volunteering Projects in the Amazon Rainforest
Problems Facing the Amazon
The Amazon is mainly located in Brazil, Peru, Colombia but smaller areas are also in Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Venezuela.
The Amazon is spectacular and known as the lungs of the world due to the amount of oxygen is produces.
Unfortunately the Amazon is facing huge issues with climate change, deforestation, illegal logging, mining and the removal of rights of local indigenous communities.
Shockingly in Brazil, under the leadership of far right president Jair Bolsonaro who was elected in 2018, deforestation has skyrocketed and there have been 78,000 fires this year already, an 84% increase on 2018!
Bolsonaro believes the rainforest is too big (he seriously said that) and wants to build a motorway through the heart to the border with Suriname. He also supports the powerful agriculture lobby and wants to remove the rights of indigenous people with the aim of opening the Amazon up for exploitation and profit.
There has never been such ugency to help protect this incredible rainforest and you can play a small role either online, campaigning around the world or actually travelling to volunteer in South America to help in the Amazon region.
How to Help
There are lots of eco tourism initiatives and volunteer projects in the Amazon with local and international organisations researching biodiversity, protecting the environment and helping exotic animals. You will be inspired by the efforts being made to help protect the forest, nature and wildlife.
Brazil and Peru are home to the largest sections of the Amazon rainforest but there are projects throughout the continent. On some initiatives you can help animals or work to protect nature and the environment. You can also help local indigenous people who are facing many difficulties due to encroachment of their land and culture.
There really is nowhere in the world like the Amazon and unless more is done to protect it, we face losing it forever.
What to Expect
If you go to help in the Amazon you will get to experience the lush rainforest and learn more about what is being done to help local communities and conservation efforts. The work being done protecting nature, wildlife and the environment is inspirational. You could be rescuing and rehabilitating exotic animals or working on research topics finding ways to raise awareness to save this huge area.
A lot of volunteering programs are located deep in the Amazon, sometimes getting to projects can involved spectacular trips which include taking a boats, canoes and local transport. Sometimes conservation projects can be hard work and you might be living and working daily in hot / humid conditions so it is very important you stay hydrated and really listen and learn from local staff.
Placements can be really hands on so take plenty of clothes with you don't mind getting dirty and be prepared for some long days and hard labour.
Most organisations require people to be aged 17+ and be in good physical and mental health. Please research all programs before applying as you wil usually be living in remote locatations without the usual Western comforts. Most organisations will require a minimum time commitment due to training.
Cost & What is Included
Unlike a lot of other opportunities, there aren't really any free volunteering programs in this region unless you become a paid staff member or have specific skills e.g. a background in science or conservation. Usually you will need to pay a fee for a structured experience which includes:
- Local guide
- In-country support
The price you pay really depends on the program, duration and organisation.
Other Ways to Help
There are lots of ways you can get involved to help with the protection of the Amazon if volunteering isn't possible:
These charities are doing incredible work to help the Amazon rainforest and rely on donations:
- Amazon Conservation Association
- Amazon Conservation Team
- Amazon Watch
- Rainforest Foundation US
- Rainforest Trust
- Rainforest Action Network
2. Educate Yourself & Others
Learn more about the Amazon the threats faced. Join groups, read articles online and use social media. We also encourage you to write to your local MP or government official to put pressure on them to do more to encourage conservation efforts.
3. Shop Responsibly
Check the products before buying, for example, most beef, animal and wood products which originate in Brazil have probably contributed to the destruction of the Amazon through agriculture and farming. Avoid such products and remove the demad.
If you would like to just visit the Amazon there are lots of South America group tours where you can explore different countries and learn more about local destinations, people and habitats.