Wow. The last two months here have been absolutely amazing. I came to IPBio as a “research assistant” to track the progression of one of the most devastating fungal diseases affecting amphibians world-wide called Bd in Boana faber tadpoles. In addition, I helped to design experiments with a rare frog called Leptodactylus flavopictus to determine its activity periods and food preference because IPBio is, as far as we know, the only place in the world that has managed to raise one in captivity. In addition, I picked up a couple more duties including taking care of the animals that we have on the reserve (turtles, fish, frogs, tadpoles, and lizards), hiking in the woods to collect data on bio acoustics, and sampling and testing the water quality of the aquarium. Work really doesn’t feel like work most of the time – I got to take care of animals and walk through the jungle every day.
My time here has been truly transformative. The relationships that I have made, the science that I have done, and the awareness of the natural world that I have gained will stay with me forever. I hope to build on my experience here and become a biologist working in the same kind of environment eventually. I would recommend this experience to anyone who loves science, conservation, nature, and is ready for a stay full of adventures!Jesse Garrett-Larsen
The natural beauty of the sights never ceases to amaze. Monkeys swinging over tree tops, frogs, bugs, trees and flowers of all kinds (maybe even an ocelot!). IPBio offers so many incredible experiences to its volunteers. I was helping IPBio by making promotional videos to showcase their volunteer program. I really loved what I was doing because I got to take an equal part in everyone else’s roles too. Not a single day resembled the other. On weekends there’s always some cool activity to take part in whether that be “boia crossing” (tubing down local rivers and rapids), trekking through caves waist deep in water, climbing to high mountain peaks for a breathtaking view of the jungle, or night excursions in the forest in search of large patches of glow in the dark mushrooms. We even went to Cananeia which has various islands you can visit with amazing things like a mangrove reserve with crabs but the highlight was that there were literally hundreds of dolphins which stay all year long in the bay. It goes without saying at this point I highly recommend volunteering with IPBio!Morgane Holley
I came to IPBio for six months to work in the bioluminescent mushroom program which aims to grow these mushrooms in controlled conditions so that anyone that visits the reserve can see the magnificence of their luminescence since the mushrooms are only prevalent in the humid summer months. Some days I spend in the lab doing various tests, other days I am doing research and planning for the next project or, when we need to isolate one of the mushrooms or want to look for new species, we go into the forest at night to search. This involves turning off the flashlight and slowly walking while looking around you. It’s really a unique and surreal experience. Since I arrived, I was key in finding seven new species of mushrooms on the reserve. One day while looking for mushrooms I even found the blue-glowing larva. Turns out there is a genus of fly named Keroplatus in which there are a few species whose larvae glow blue. This is the first record of blue luminescent larva in Brazil, or South America for that matter. Brazil still holds many secrets!Grant Johnson
IPBio is a little paradise! I’ve been working there for 3 weeks and I really love it. My job was to develop the methodology of sampling trees for forest inventories. Then I could start the first inventory in one of the trails of the reserve. Inventories includes measurement and recognition of species, which is very useful for monitoring forest growth, and reveals the useful characteristics of the species to be used by the community.
IPBio is characterized by an excellent working environment and is very comfortable to live in the Darwin house, surrounded by wildlife. Another factor that I loved was the multiple attractions of Iporanga valley, such as caves, waterfalls, forests, animals, communities and rivers.
It was an incredible experience that certainly left a deep impression on me.Claudio Guevara
I am from the United States and volunteered on IPBio’s Betary Reserve in Brazil for 5 months in total. I highly recommend volunteering with IPBio, as I had a very positive experience and plan to continue volunteering with IPBio remotely going forward. While at IPBio, I worked on the Bioacoustics Project. My typical week on the bioacoustics project included hiking up into the forest to collect audio data, listening to the audio recordings and teaching the software to recognize each individual type of species vocalization, and brushing up on my coding skills to create an analysis program. In all, I found the work very rewarding, relevant, and am able to see the direct impact of my work.Tess Leggio
Staying for a month at IPBio Reserve was the perfect opportunity to learn about a wide range of paramount fields within the international volunteering actions. From the fascinating scientific research projects of the Institute to the discovery of the amazing World Natural Heritage that the Atlantic Forest represents, there is so much that has caught my interests.
I enjoyed every hour of the gardening and outdoor maintenance I did in the Reserve, just like all the little jobs I was given to help here and there, like assisting the biologists or taking part to local events with the school.
IPBio is key to the conservation of the biodiversity, and volunteering there will truly make you feel part of the protection of our future.Marie Boudouard
I arrived at IPBio 4 months ago and since then, I have worked on a research on mammals that occur on the Betary Reserve. This included a lot of hiking which I loved because the nature around the reserve is beautiful. I found some really cool mammals during this research (for example: capuchin monkeys and an oncilla which is like a small jaguar). The people here are also really friendly and always willing to help you. On the weekends, we have BBQ´s, go for stunning hikes in the forest, visit impressive caves like Casa de Pedra which is the largest cave opening in the world, travel to islands nearby where you can see dolphins, tube down the river for 3 hours in the sun and many other awesome activities. I am very thankful for my experience at IPBio and I would recommend it to everyone else!Marleen Duindam
My time working at IPBio could not have been better. As a volunteer coordinator my work saw me take on a variety of different roles as I helped other volunteers. In particular, I focused on assisting with the amphibian program, which enabled me to hike across the reserve weekly to assist in field work. Additionally, I created a brand new volunteer package for the organization, as well as numerous information packages on many different subjects, ranging from local tourism – to wildlife guides. Living at the reserve is comfortable. The Darwin House has a fully equipped kitchen, nice bedrooms, a full bathroom, and most importantly, air conditioning! After work the other volunteers and I would relax, play games, watch movies, and swim in the river (which is amazing and so refreshing on a hot day). The weekends were exciting and were spent doing many different fun activities. We explored caves, hiked to waterfalls, tubed down rivers, went camping, and so much more. The Atlantic Forest really is a nature lovers dream, and IPBio is such an incredible organization. Definitely and incredible experience, I would recommend it to anyone looking to do meaningful work in an amazing setting. Go volunteer!Matthew Dunlop