Rainforest Restoration & Sustainability

Video and Photos

Seeds
Seeds
Forest monitoring
Forest monitoring
Iracambi group at the Research Center
Iracambi group at the Research Center
Humming bird
Humming bird
Forest tree nursery
Forest tree nursery
Coffee harvest
Coffee harvest
Tiny frog
Tiny frog
Don't forget your gloves!
Don't forget your gloves!

About

Join us in one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots on the frontline of biodiversity and sustainability.At the Iracambi Rainforest Research Center, located in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, you'll gain firsthand experience in biodiversity conservation, (agroforestry, regenerative agriculture, medicinal plants, forest monitoring, community outreach, and sustainable living. And whether you're collecting seeds in the forest, working in our forest nursery, planting trees on local farms, cataloging medicinal plants, helping out in the agroecology plots, harvesting coffee, maintaining our forest trails,making videos and adding to our photo library, or riding the school bus to the village to share your language and culture with local schoolkids, you'll be having a ball, contributing your skills to a great cause, and learning all sorts of things you never thought you could. Because Iracambi is all about Saving Forests and Changing Lives and you are warmly welcomed to become a part of it!

Highlights
  • Live and work with people of different backgrounds, different ages and different experiences – all united in wanting to save the world!
  • Discover for yourself the challenges and rewards of working to protect the rainforest
  • Participate in a nation wide program led by leading research institute Fiocruz to catalog Brazil’s thousands of medicinal plants
  • Learn how to produce healthy food without using chemicals
  • Hike in the forest, swim in the crystal water of the rivers, and get to know a traditional rural community

Impact

Here at Iracambi we’ve been Saving Forests and Changing Lives for over twenty years! During that time, we’ve planted over 130, 000 native forest trees, founded the first program of environmental education in the region, set up the first web-based GIS, created thousands of acres of protected areas, hosted 2000 international students and volunteers from 65 countries, and impacted the lives of thousands of people in the Serra do Brigadeiro mountains. Iracambi alumni (we call them Iracambistas) can be found across the world in academia, business, the arts, government, international organizations, working as doctors, teachers, lawyers, scientists, personal coaches, writers, film makers, GIS techies, farmers and all manner of activities directed at making the world a better place. Whether you spend a week with us or six months, you will go out enriched, and you will enrich your surroundings wherever they may be.

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 6 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 6 of 6
Default avatar
Valeria
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Emerge in Rural Life and Connect with Nature

Highlights of my experience:
-Sunrise and sunsets on top of the mountain
-Bonfires and walks under the stars
-Yoga relaxation and meditation
-Reading, Learning, Sharing
-Cultural exchange with locals of all ages
-Language exchange (Portuguese, English, German, French, Spanish)
-Nature and Medicinal Trails
-Waterfalls, Fresh Water
-Intercropping and Agro-forest Methods
-Independent and Group Work
-The most authentic flora and fauna
-Natural Resources
-Farm Life, Animals, and Crops
-Tree planting and identification
-Organic and Green Practices
-Adventure and Friendship
-Laughs and unforgettable moments

Thanks to Iracambi, I feel rejuvenated and changed. It was the experience that I truly needed. Don't think twice to make the best decision ever!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Essentials: strong bug repellent and a waterproof jacket!
Default avatar
Jesmel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Pursuit of Active Sustainable Change and self-Discovery

From the moment I stepped foot on to the leaf covered, rich grounds of Iracambi there was an instant connection words could not explain even to this day. Inhaling a breath of fresh air had a new meaning as I was immediately greeted by Iracambi staff members with open arms. Everyday moving forward gave new meaning to adventure from harvesting coffee on an inclined hill with a beautiful sky view of the rainforest, to openly sharing life experiences with other volunteers and staff while planting avocados, to even dancing to different cultural music after a day in the agroforest. Iracambi makes it a point to be well-versed on their sustainability efforts in preserving and reforesting the Atlantic Rainforest with everyone on their staff being well informed on different projects going on as well as having a deep compassion for the NGO altogether! The food here is absolutely everything too - everyone plays their part in being the most conscientious of their actions so after every meal you can expect your viable leftovers to be placed into a pile to be made into compost! From the directors of the organization to the on site restaurant staff, volunteers and everyone in between the experience of Iracambi is one which gives you the most freedom to challenge your leadership and knowledge capacity about environmental sustainability and exponentiate your understanding of your impact.

What was your funniest moment?
One morning before the break of dawn a good amount of the volunteers and I alongside two directors decided we were going to climb the sunrise trail to you know - see the sunrise. Little did I know, this trail narrowly climbed one side of a particular mountain and went straight up the entire time for a solid 35 minutes. Well about 5 minutes into the climb I began to not get out of breath and furiously pant. As I stated before the Iracambi staff are more than understanding, they are empathetic and above all empathetic so one of directors slowed down with me and refused to let me turn around. I would complain, say it was too much and stop to pretend and tie my shoes just to get the extra 45 seconds of breathing time. At one point, he was just chanting " Vale a pena!! No pain no gain!!!". Now imagine me dripped in sweat and stressed beyond my mind because I wanted to give up SO badly and here is this guy I barely know telling me I need to get over it and overcome. Guess what I did? Just that. Guess how I received the reward of finally making it to the top? I cried. If you did not laugh in reading this, just understand the frustration I had as I was climbing and listening to the director tell me "no pain no gain" as I was wheezing uphill. He knew before I did I had what it took to make it to the top and though at some points I mocked him to try to make my self feel better I was able to persevere because he was there to believe in me in the first place.
Default avatar
Karina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A paradise in the middle of the Atlantic Rainforest

Iracambi has proven time and time again how successful of a NGO they have become! Every single member of the staff, down to the various animals loving a free life style, have a strong driven passion for the reforestation and restoration of the rainforest. Actions that may seem small, such as making bags in the nursery, all play a bigger factor into the overall goal of Iracambi. Volunteers are treated with such care and attention, not one time have I not been aided by a fellow Iracambi staff in a time of need. Everyone ensures volunteers learn about the ins and outs of the local life and how to incorporate passion into every day work. You could truly tell the difference of the air quality in the main headquarters of Iracambi when you are coming from the city! I along with a group of four other university students have stayed for a total of almost nine weeks and wish we could extend our time! There has never been a dull moment from working alongside other volunteers from various countries to taking a swim in a gorgeous waterfall after working all morning. Iracambi also works alongside volunteers to ensure you are able to take weekend trips to explore other areas! Truly recommend this experience to every single person interested in volunteering abroad for the first time or even as a means to educate yourself on environmental justice!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Iracambi will open a world of opportunities unimaginable before your trip! Come with an open heart and eager to learn about what environmental justice looks like directly on the grounds of reforestation!
Avia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Worth it

The staff are amazing and it is important if repetitive work. The food is good and the cook is happy to cook what ever you ask of her. A lot of work in the tree nursery. No cell reception at all but there is WiFi. The wifi does not reach all the rooms but you can always sit in the computer lab or the center where it's pretty strong. Like a lot of NGOs it has budget issues which put a strain on its actual productivity.
The biggest draw for me was undoubtedly the company of the staff. Whole they don't all speak fluent English they are eager to learn and always make sure that you feel like a part of the group and the conversation. Download the English and Portuguese language packs on the Google translate app and you will get along just fine. Drinking beer after work with Hercules and David is a memory I will never forget.

What would you improve about this program?
Have more planting work out in the field. The work in the nursery is fun but repetitive and it will give the volunteers a higher sense of accomplishment
Default avatar
Karol & Lily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Warning: This will be a life-changing experience

If you are reading this and are soon to embark on a volunteer mission at Iracambi, congratulations, you have made a fabulous life decision. My husband and I volunteered for approximately one month at Iracambi in January 2019. We hail from New York City and although we are not city kids by any means, we had our reservations when first arriving at Iracambi. It is natural. We can assure you that whatever fears or hesitation you may be feeling will dissipate almost immediately after arrival at Iracambi’s stunning grounds and after meeting their friendly and welcoming full-time staff. Nestled away in the Atlantic Rainforest, the tranquility cannot be understated. The accommodations will be basic, but there is very little you need in life when surrounded by the beauty and diversity of nature. There is one main cabin and several surrounding chalets. Our suggestion would be to opt for the main cabin for lodging – it is where all the action is. After just a couple of days of working and exploring with your fellow volunteers and staff, you all start to feel like family. This includes the wonderful Thor himself, who is a playful & charming dog that becomes a frequent tag-along. It's also very safe, so your mother can rest assured.

Now, we will not lead you astray, this is hard work. But you get out of the experience what you put into it, so give it your all! Iracambi offers a wide array of activities and ways to contribute. I particularly enjoyed helping in the nursery with planting, identifying seedlings, weeding, watering, etc. My husband appreciated working in the nearby farm, cleaning up the area around recently planted trees and ensuring there was nothing encroaching on the potatoes and other crops. We both had a personal mission of completing the trail maintenance of this one specific trail near the main house. There is work to be done via educating local children and alternative work with medicinal plants. Iracambi is a treasure trove of opportunity, which you will quickly learn. We have not even touched upon the wealth of knowledge that the founders, Binka & Robin, have and what they will teach you about the history, current status, and future goals for the area you will be residing in. It is all truly inspirational. The staff and those frequenting Iracambi tend to be big activists and we encourage you to interact as much as possible in order to tap into a diverse set of knowledge that may not be so easily accessible back home.

While you may be beaten up after the first week you will likely come to two realizations. The first is that in order to naturally achieve progress, without the aid of machinery or pesticides, it is truly hard work. A newfound or heightened respect will be garnered for farmers and laborers out there worldwide. The second realization, or thought in this case, may be that you have labored so much and yet have seen little progress or achievement. On this second point, our advice is simply – just wait. We held similar notions, but towards the end of our commitment we paid a trip to the nursery and were able to transplant several of the new seeds, which had sprouted at this point, we had found in the forest on day one and planted shortly thereafter. This was magical. It was something visceral that we had created and it was going to help make the world a better place.

We loved the experience so much that we continue to keep in touch and be involved in the overall mission of the organization.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Read Binka's memoir prior to starting - "Where the Road Ends: A Home in the Brazilian Rainforest". It provides excellent context and background on the story of the NGO.
Claire
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great program and great people!

I spent two months in Iracambi in the summer 2018. I got to explore the beautiful rainforest, climbed peaks w stunning views, tripped to colonial towns in other parts of Minas Gerais, picked up a little Portuguese, did some volunteer work I’m proud of, and above all, shared wonderful memories with even more wonderful people:)) it was an experience I still find myself constantly thinking back to and will always be grateful about.

Most importantly, those are people trying to do the right things and have been doing so for over 10 years. Working for them feels like I was contributing for something that could make a change in the long run. Whatever you bring to Iracambi will be valued and supported. I would absolutely recommend going there to live and learn and just have a great time because that’s guaranteed.

About Amigos de Iracambi - Iracambi Rainforest Research Center

Iracambi Rainforest Research Center, in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, is where the magic happens. Every year dozens of international students and volunteers join us to work on some of the toughest issues facing mankind: how to conserve the biodiversity...