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Sustainable Development and Wild Nature Conservation in NICARAGUA



Be a volunteer with the GAIA Program at Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve in Nicaragua. Special discounts for Spanish courses and volunteering in 2016.

Support us in the rights of wild animals.

FUNDECI participates in the struggle for environmental justice at Big Cola.

With every new volunteer, Nicaragua is a better place! The biological research station "Estación Biológica" in Lake Apoyo Nature Reserve regularly receives volunteers who work on a variety of projects, some of which we outline below. The emphasis of our volunteer activities is on service. We think that all people have some skills and capacity to be used in the service of others, and that all can learn by doing. Several opportunities for volunteering are offered at Estación Biológica.

Volunteers at Estación Biológica Laguna de Apoyo are encouraged to bring binoculars and an appropriate bird guide for their own use. Some volunteers may be interested in participation in the fish monitoring project, and they should contact us directly for conditions and costs of participation. We especially encourage scientists, students, and enthusiasts of nature to aid in monitoring and our various wildlife research projects.

The Volunteer Experience in Laguna de Apoyo

Volunteering involves a five-day per week work schedule. Each volunteer may perform a combination of activities during his or her stay. Volunteers are generally accepted for participation from two weeks to up to several months, depending upon their interests and qualifications. Volunteers receive quarters and all meals (great food!) as part of the volunteer experience. There is a minimum 1-week commitment. Volunteers have the choice of a small, multibed dormitory cabin near the lake or private room with shared bath.

Prices including unisex dorm accomodation and meals are as follows: One week-US$120; Two weeks-$220; Four weeks-$350. Prices including private room with shared bathroom: One week-$140; Two weeks-$280; Four weeks-$440. All prices include great meals, and we can accomodate special dietary needs. A volunteer "week" is defined as arrival Sunday afternoon, through Saturday morning after breakfast.

We also can make arrangements longer stays and for volunteer groups to perform projects in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Most short-term volunteers participate in more than one project as needs and scheduling fit.

Volunteer Projects at Estación Biológica Laguna de Apoyo

Each volunteer may be assigned to a single, principal project, but will have the opportunity to contribute to a variety of projects while at Estacion Biologica. The projects are summarized in the pages below. Volunteers can participate in tree planting and tree nursery maintenance, wildlife studies and population monitoring, administration and maintenance, cultural and environmental education, and community organization areas. In addition to short-term volunteers, Estación Biológica welcomes interns wanting to conduct research and conservation projects in the area.

SCUBA diving is an option for volunteers and visitors to Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, as well. FUNDECI/GAIA conducts research and population monitoring of the fishes of Lake Apoyo, and you can help. Prices for volunteers to participate in the dive program are per dive, not including room and board. Biologists and conservation professionals with Advanced or Dive Master certification are invited to apply for internships. Each volunteer at Estación Biológica is expected to have a working knowledge of Spanish. Apoyo Spanish School can provide Spanish classes for any potential volunteer before his/her assignment, if there is a need to improve language skill.

Click here to contact us for more information on volunteering in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve.

You can help us keep nature wild in Nicaragua, by volunteering your time with us or making a small donation to support our projects in wild nature conservation.

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This wild squirrel was rescued as a baby by GAIA staff and raised with help from volunteers. She now lives in the trees above Estación Biológica and is a mother. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.


Nicaragua volunteer

These tree saplings were planted by Gaia Eco-Warrior environmental volunteers in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. GAIA staff and volunteers dedicate much effort to improving the forest cover in the reserve. Photo Pablo Somarriba.


Nicaragua volunteer

Eco-Warrior environmental volunteers often combine Spanish classes with saving the world, one tree at a time. Apoyo Spanish School is the oldest of the intensive Nicaragua Spanish schools. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.



Eco-Warrior volunteers on an excursion to Masaya. Photo Leslie Eisenberg.



San Juan de Oriente, on the edge of Apoyo crater, is the most important center of artisan ceramic pottery in Nicaragua. Other municipalities nearby include Masaya, Granada, Catarina, Diriá, and Diriomo. The Gaia Program supports natural resource conservation in the region which is vital to the livelihoods throughout the area. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.


volunteer nicaragua

GAIA Eco-Warrior environmental volunteers work in all aspects of reforestation, from collecting seeds and preparing them, to growing seedlings in our vivero, planting the seedlings in reforestation plots, and caring for the trees until they are several years old. Photo Pablo Somarriba.