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Amigos de Iracambi - Iracambi Rainforest Research Center

About

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 of this beautiful world while living sustainably? How to prepare ourselves and our communities to cope with the challenges of climate change? How to restore degraded lands, protect soil and water, grow healthy food and raise a new generation of environmental champions?

Do you know the story of the humming bird? The forest is on fire and she is flying toward the flames with a drop of water in her beak. The eagle looks down and laughs at her "You'll never put out the fire all by yourself." The humming bird flies on, drops the water and says, "You're right. By myself I won't. But I'm doing my part."

Website
iracambi.com
Founded
1999

Reviews

Default avatar
Matthew
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Adventure of a Lifetime

As the only student from my university to accept a summer position with Iracambi, I was originally nervous about what to expect. However, after my first contact with Carla, all of my nervousness was erased. At Iracambi, I was met by a supportive and interesting staff and volunteer cohort that not only worked tirelessly to make me feel at home, but helped me discover my passions and a project that related to them. From visiting local coffee plantations to leaning about agroforests and sustainable farming to teaching English courses at the local school, I was given ample opportunities to learn and challenge myself intellectually.

While Iracambi allows their volunteers to learn through real world experience, knowledge of the environment is only a small portion of what you will leave with. Minas Gerais hosts one of the richest cultures within Brazil and Iracambi works tirelessly to ensure that their volunteers have the opportunity to experience it. From indescribable comida mineira provided by Iracambi's world class chef, Larissa to the baked goods sold across the street by Carminha, you will leave Iracambi with "saudades" of the food. In addition, Deivid, a professional tour guide and coordinator of Iracambi's nursery, provides all volunteers with invaluable tips and recommendations for weekend excursions across Minas Gerais, Espiritio Santo, and Rio de Janeiro. However, you do not have to travel far to have an excursion. Countless trails, waterfalls, mountains, and attractions are located on or in close proximity to Iracambi's state-of-the-art campus.

Among all of my experiences at Iracambi, the most important to me are the relationships and friendships that I had made. All volunteers and staff members at Iracambi come from different backgrounds, but all are united by a common theme, a passion for the rainforest. There, you will encounter the some of the most passionate, intelligent, and interesting people in the world which, without-a-doubt, lead to future successes and change lives. Overall, my time at Iracambi provided me with an invaluable, intellectually challenging, and meaningful experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To all future travelers, I would recommend that you take advantage of all opportunities to learn, gain experience, and connect with other volunteers and staff members. Each have the ability to enrich your experience in unique ways.
Default avatar
Matthew
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Adventure of a Lifetime

As the only student from my university to accept a summer position with Iracambi, I was originally nervous about what to expect. However, after my first contact with Carla, all of my nervousness was erased. At Iracambi, I was met by a supportive and interesting staff and volunteer cohort that not only worked tirelessly to make me feel at home, but helped me discover my passions and a project that related to them. From visiting local coffee plantations to leaning about agroforests and sustainable farming to teaching English courses at the local school, I was given ample opportunities to learn and challenge myself intellectually.

While Iracambi allows their volunteers to learn through real world experience, knowledge of the environment is only a small portion of what you will leave with. Minas Gerais hosts one of the richest cultures within Brazil and Iracambi works tirelessly to ensure that their volunteers have the opportunity to experience it. From indescribable comida mineira provided by Iracambi's world class chef, Larissa to the baked goods sold across the street by Carminha, you will leave Iracambi with "saudades" of the food. In addition, Deivid, a professional tour guide and coordinator of Iracambi's nursery, provides all volunteers with invaluable tips and recommendations for weekend excursions across Minas Gerais, Espiritio Santo, and Rio de Janeiro. However, you do not have to travel far to have an excursion. Countless trails, waterfalls, mountains, and attractions are located on or in close proximity to Iracambi's state-of-the-art campus.

Among all of my experiences at Iracambi, the most important to me are the relationships and friendships that I had made. All volunteers and staff members at Iracambi come from different backgrounds, but all are united by a common theme, a passion for the rainforest. There, you will encounter the some of the most passionate, intelligent, and interesting people in the world which, without-a-doubt, lead to future successes and change lives. Overall, my time at Iracambi provided me with an invaluable, intellectually challenging, and meaningful experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To all future travelers, I would recommend that you take advantage of every opportunity that becomes available. From discovering Brazilian culture to traveling with Arielle as she surveys local farms, I highly recommend that you enrich yourself in all experiences.
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!

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