Listen to the sweet trills of the toucans and watch the mist hug the valleys of Ecuador’s Cloud Forest while Australian volunteer Catherine describes a typical day volunteering at Reserva Mundo Verde.
If you plan to volunteer in South America, or to volunteer in Ecuador specifically, Reserva Mundo Verde or ‘Green World Reserve’ is well worth a visit. A truly special place, the reserve is located in Pichincha province in Ecuador’s ‘Cloud forest’ 1,500 meters above sea level. The cloud forest is considered one of the richest biodiversity hotspots on the planet. This relatively small area is home to a staggering 15-20% of the world’s plant species and 20% of its bird species. Expect to see something that you have never seen before!
Not only is it scenically spectacular, but its people are amongst the warmest you’ll ever meet. The reserve is located just out of the small village of ‘Las Tolas’, where it’s 350 inhabitants all know each other and love to welcome people from abroad who want to volunteer in Ecuador. Luis Caiza, the leader of the ‘Reserva Mundo Verde’ project, is a long-time resident of Las Tolas and has hosted volunteers from all over the world in his home for the last decade. He is passionate about the environment and protecting the cloud forest, as well as sharing this passion and his extensive knowledge of local flora and fauna and the region’s many attractions with his guests.
Luis and Wyndi’s vision for ‘Reserva Mundo Verde’ is:
- To give work to young people in the community to enable them to stay and not leave their families in search of work in Quito
- To plant native trees and fruit trees in the Reserve for the furtherance of plant life, animal life and the overall ecosystem
- To bring tourism to the reserve and surrounding farms and offer an income to locals. Without an alternative source of income, many locals feel forced to destroy the forest and use it as a source of lumber, or turn it in to pasture for cattle
- To supply the community of Las Tolas with fresh organic vegetables from our green house, as currently there are no vegetables or fruits sold in any of the town’s shops
- To eventually build smaller cabins to host tourists in and use the lodge as a home for orphaned or abandoned children
- To be a blessing to others, and help them improve their lives, as we together improve our planet.
By volunteering in Ecuador with Luis and Wyndi at ‘Reserva Mundo Verde’, you can help contribute to this vision, while having the experience of a life time.