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5 Reasons to Volunteer at Pacuare Reserve

Turning inspiration into action takes many different forms for EPI Alumni. For some, it looks like organizing an eco-club at school - empowering more youth to live sustainably. For others, it's encouraging local stakeholders to install solar panels on municipal rooftops, giving way to more clean energy options. This summer, five of our inspired alumni took action by giving up to three weeks of their time to our leatherback sea turtle monitoring program at Pacuare Reserve in Costa Rica.

Many of our alumni say volunteering at the Reserve was the expedition of a lifetime. If the following list sounds like you, volunteering at the Reserve may be just the kind of action you’ve been waiting to take.

1. You want to learn more about wildlife conservation.

Being from the Galapagos Islands, EPI Alum Rafaela is no stranger to turtles. However, being up close and personal with a gigantic endangered leatherback sea turtle laying eggs is a wildlife interaction unlike any other.

“It is completely different to interact with animals the way you do at the Reserve than at home. I have learned so much through this type of work, and can now really identify the impact humans have on the leatherback sea turtle’s habitat.” - Rafaela, EPI Galapagos Local Alum

With the unique opportunity to work with animals that should otherwise remain untouchable to the public, volunteering at the Reserve is the perfect place for those who are fascinated by the wonders of wildlife.

2. You want to develop deep friendships with people around the world.

Something about experiencing the magic of the rainforests and beaches of Costa Rica turns a group of strangers into friends for life.

“I will be going home to Mexico having new friends from different parts of the world that I would not have known without this experience.” - Marcela, EPI Mexico Local Alum

If you’re looking for new perspectives from like-minded, young environmentalists, the Reserve and the activities offered on-site make it the perfect place to connect.

3. You nerd out on science.

Plenty of us appreciate and understand science by absorbing what we can from textbooks, but the elevated comprehension that comes from field experience is something that cannot be replicated in a classroom, no matter how much you may love those books.

“Working with turtles and collecting data in the field gives you an excellent understanding of conservation science. You may know that only 20 out of 60 turtle eggs hatch, but here you actually get to research what factors played into their survival rates, like oxygen levels or available space in the nest. The field research methods brought me closer to science in general.” - Rafaela.

photo credit: María José Guzmán

4. You want a full-on immersion in nature.

Spending weeks outdoors in one of the most biodiverse places on the planet offers opportunities to connect to the natural world we simply can’t access in most of our day-to-day urban lives.

“Researching and volunteering like this makes it impossible not to connect with nature. I saw colors in plants and animals that I’ve never seen before because I was surrounded by nature all of the time” - Marcela.

When all of your waking hours are outdoors, and the night is full of jungle creature symphonies, there is little separating you from the environment.

5. You want to leave a positive impact where you travel, and take lessons back with you.

Everybody loves a good vacation, but traveling with the purpose of saving an endangered species with a dedicated team of conservationists really kicks the experience up a notch.

“Not only are you contributing to conservation while you’re volunteering at the Reserve, but you take your passion and knowledge back home with you and make a difference there, too. The experience completely changes the way you see the world, and leaves you wanting to contribute more.” - Rafaela.

Get Involved

Have you signed up for the Alumni Reunion volunteer trip to Costa Rica yet? We'll be heading out on January 9, 2023, for a week of helping our team install location markers on the beach of the Reserve to better monitor the turtle populations, and we need your help!

The application is open now until November 15! Apply on our website, or email Sierra at for more details and support.

Pacuare Reserve is also looking for short-term volunteers, long-term volunteers, and Research Assistants. If one week just doesn't sound like enough, apply for a longer stay on their website!

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