If you want to make a difference and have a positive impact on the environment, but don’t have a background in biology or time for a research project, come join us as a Cloudbridge volunteer! Volunteers are matched with a variety of projects based on Cloudbridge’s needs, and your strengths and desires. All volunteer projects are important to the health and functioning of the reserve and to furthering our reforestation work and research. Many volunteers have come back years later to see the impact of their efforts on forest regeneration. Some of our volunteers even work remotely, improving our digital and IT resources. A minimum 2 week commitment is required for most volunteers.
“I cannot describe to you the feeling of vulnerability of handling a young tree, or the feeling of Hope placed on it as I place it into the ground. I cannot describe the smell of the dirt or the feel of the soil on my hands, the aches and pains your body will endure – all I can say is that it is incredibly rewarding, and I would encourage anyone to come out and do their part and experience it for themselves.” – Veneta, USA (Cloudbridge Volunteer, 2015)
How it works
Volunteers typically work for 6 hours a day (from around 7:00 am to 1:00 pm), 5 days a week, with weekends off. A normal day’s tasks may include working on reforestation, assisting a researcher or helping with construction. See below for a more complete list of volunteer projects.
- Able to work independently or in pairs and teams
- Self motivated, with good timekeeping, and ability to meet realistic deadlines
- Comfortable living in a close knit community
- 18 years or older
- Able to fund your food and accommodations for the duration of your stay
- Commit to a minimum of 2 weeks
- Responsible for renewing your visa, if staying longer than 90 days
- Tree nursery: Collect and propagate seeds
- Planting trees: Plant seedlings throughout the reserve
- Tree maintenance: Mulch and weed to help young seedlings thrive
- Assist independent researchers and research interns with field work, lab work, data entry and other tasks
Garden and landscape design
- Landscape design: Design and plant several flower gardens
- Garden maintenance: Weed and maintain flower and vegetable gardens
- Vegetable garden: For longer stays, you may have the option to plant and raise much of your own food
Grounds and infrastructure
- Trail building and maintenance: Building wood or stone steps, trail markers, signs and water runoff trenches
- Carpentry: Build benches, shelters and information boards
- Building maintenance: Repair and improve existing buildings
Guest and community outreach and education
- Welcome Centre: Greet and help educate guests of the reserve
- Visitor and donor outreach: Email information and fundraising initiatives to visitors and donors
- Community outreach: Liaise with community organizations and businesses, such as hotels and hostels
- Educational outreach: Develop and conduct local educational programs
- Fundraising: Assist with developing and improving fundraising initiatives
Digital, IT and Design (some of these tasks may be done remotely)
- Web/blog: Writing (including html coding) and content management
- Social media: Posting and management
- Website design: Visual and UX design for the website
- GIS: Mapping of reserve trails, boundaries, habitats and research data
- Graphic design: Signage, brochures and educational displays
- Marketing: Develop and improve marketing and promotion initiatives
To apply, please fill and submit the Volunteer/Research Application.
Accommodations and Costs
Housing is provided at $17 USD per person per day and includes Wi-Fi, hot showers, shared bath, and shared kitchen. For stays less than 30 days, we must charge a Costa Rican tax for temporary accommodation which is an additional $3.00 USD per day. Food costs and cooking are the responsibility of the individual volunteer/researcher, most of whom can eat a basic, mostly vegetarian diet for around $5 USD per day. Most people stay in shared rooms, although some private rooms with queen beds may be available (subject to current occupancy) for an additional fee. Housing fees are paid one month in advance to the Cloudbridge Manager. In 2023 we will be raising our rates to the following: $18 USD per day for stays 12 weeks and over, $20 per day for stays of between 4 to 12 weeks and $24 USD for stays of under 4 weeks.
A $200 “good faith” fee is required prior to being accepted as a volunteer or researcher. This fee will be credited toward your accommodation fees for the last 2 weeks of your stay. The fee is payable through the Donate page.
Please note that our intake day is Sunday, meaning you will only be able to be picked up and join the rest of the participants on Sundays. Please plan your trip accordingly.
Questions? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please visit our blog site for monthly updates and photos on our volunteers and researchers, their projects, and other activities at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve.