What will I do on this volunteer Conservation placement in Costa Rica?
You’ll spend your days working with other teens to protect the wildlife of Barra Honda National Park. Here are some of the tasks you’ll do:
- Collect data on wildlife to help create effective conservation plans
- Run workshops and presentations to teach people about the environment
- Do community work and maintenance work to keep the park running
- Plant trees to help combat habitat destruction and climate change
- Explore the beautiful reserve and bond with your fellow volunteers
Your work will focus on five main areas:
Collect data on wildlife
One of your main tasks will be to collect valuable data on different species. You’ll do this during hikes through the forest, night walks, and trips into the park’s caves. You’ll also help with setting up butterfly traps, which safely catch butterflies so that you can record details about them. Once, you’ve collected this data, you’ll release them unharmed.
The data you collect will tell us more about the behaviour and distribution of species. With these information, we can create and implement more effective conservation strategies.
Some of the species you’ll survey include:
- Scarlet macaws
Raise conservation awareness
During your trip, you’ll be learning a lot about Costa Rica’s unique plants and animals. Experts will also equip you with details about conservation strategies. You’ll then share this information with locals in the communities surrounding the reserve.
You’ll take trips to schools or community centres, where you’ll give presentations on topics like organic farming or recycling. This work ensures surrounding communities are invested in protecting the forest. It also means they’ll carry on important conservation work after you’ve finished your project.
Do community and maintenance work
Get your hands dirty and use your energy to make a tangible difference! During your project, you’ll dedicate some of your time to community initiatives. This could include planting vegetable gardens or painting environmental education murals at schools.
You’ll also help with park maintenance. Barra Honda relies heavily on volunteers to keep up it’s amazing work. You’ll play a vital role in maintaining the park by clearing trails, maintaining fire breaks, and renovating the camp.
Help with reforestation work
The tropical dry forest is threatened by deforestation. Cutting down trees and clearing land for farmland and urban expansion leaves many creatures without homes. You can make a difference by helping with reforestation initiatives.
As a volunteer, you’ll tend to young saplings in the tree nursery. You’ll also help with planting the larger saplings in the forest. This initiative helps rebuild this vital habitat.
Reforestation also helps combat climate change. More trees means more carbon dioxide absorbed, which helps reduce the catastrophic environmental consequences of this greenhouse gas.
Explore the surrounding nature
It’s not all work and no play! You’ll also have plenty of time to explore the park and connect with your fellow volunteers. This project has a set itinerary, with time set aside for social activities. This includes meals shared with your group, late night cards and board games, and even a trip to Rincon de la Vieja Volcano!
For this project, we’ve partnered with Barra Honda National Park. This is a government-run wildlife reserve in desperate need of volunteer support. We provide the park with the manpower to do important conservation work. In exchange, our volunteers work with and learn from some of the top minds in environmental studies.
Where in Costa Rica will I work?
Our volunteer Conservation placement in Costa Rica for teenagers is based in Barra Honda National Park. This is a government-run wildlife reserve located in the northwest of the country. The nearest town, Nicoya, is about a 25-minute drive from the reserve.
During your project, you’ll live and work within the reserve. This area is a lush tropical dry forest with an intricate network of underground caves. You’ll stay in shared, same-sex dormitories with volunteers your age.
You’ll find living in the forest is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Surrounded by the sounds of chattering monkeys, chirping birds, and buzzing insects, you’ll get to truly connect with nature.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Every year, thousands of High School Special volunteers and interns actively make a difference around the world. During their time abroad, they contribute towards achieving long-term goals and make a long-lasting positive impact on the communities where they work.
We produce an annual High School Specials Impact Report, which documents some of these achievements. Find out more about the impact of these projects, and read the latest report.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.