Biodiversity Research Institute in the Tropical Forest of Brazil
94% Rating
(37 Reviews)

Biodiversity Research Institute in the Tropical Forest of Brazil

The Biodiversity Research Institute (IPBio) is a place where research meets conservation. IPBio is an NGO that develops projects in environmental education and scientific research on biodiversity, ecology and on the behavior of species. In addition, IPBio 's mission is to encourage conservation, management and sustainable use of natural resources; promote the development of eco-tourism and cultural projects.

With only 7% of the Atlantic Forest remaining, we are rapidly losing one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots. 200 birds and 21 primates are endemic. Conservation is critical. Volunteer Roles: 1) In Research Projects: Bioluminescent Mushrooms; Bioacoustics Project; Tree Inventory and Monitoring; Amphibian Research 2) Reserve Maintenance and Gardening: maintain trails, aquarium and microclimate greenhouse 3) Photographers/Movie Producers: wildlife photography; produce volunteer videos; short documentaries; our videos have been used by Discovery Channel 4) Fundraising and Communications - develop our social media; write grants for research equipment
  • Visiting the town with the highest concentration of bioluminescent mushrooms in the world
  • Gaining hands on experience in the field of research and conservation
  • Participate in exciting activities such as tubing and visiting caves and waterfalls
  • Work for an organization which received accreditation as an advanced outpost of The Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO
Starting Price
Price Details
Volunteers at IPBio are required to pay 550 reais per week (approx 170 US Dollars). This covers your accommodation, full access to the reserve, internet access and the use of any equipment we have. Volunteers will pay for their own food and cook for themselves. Volunteers are also responsible for paying for any extra costs such as travel costs, visa costs or etc.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 37 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.4
  • Housing 8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 31 - 37 of 37
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Don't wait : the Altantic Forest is yours!

Staying for a month at IPBio Reserve was the perfect opportunity to learn about a wide range of paramount fields within the International volunteering actions. From the fascinating scientific research projects of the Institute to the discovery of the amazing World Natural Heritage that the Atlantic Forest represents, there is so much that has caught my interests.
I enjoyed every hour of the gardening and outdoor maintenance I did in the Reserve, closely with the local gardener, just like all the little jobs I was given to help here and there, like assisting the biologists or taking part to school events organized by the Institute.
There are projects to be done at any time, any kind of weather, and developping adaptation skills is essential, in order to be able to enjoy fully the diversed missions of the Research Institute. I particularly enjoyed that freedom of all possibilities, working around locals in the reserve and having lots of occasions to discover Brazilian authentic life, and wildlife. Everyone is so welcoming, that you can only leave thinking you have to be back one day.
Working also with the partners of the Institute for the development of a community-based tourism was definitely an honour and priviledge for me, and definitely made me socially and environmentally aware of the urge to protect the gold nugget that this area embodies.
IPBio Institute is key to the conservation of the biodiversity, and volunteering there will truly make you feel part of the protection of our Future.

How can this program be improved?

Having less volunteers at a time for organization, privacy and mission achievements improvements.

Yes, I recommend
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Best Volunteer Experience I Have Had!

IPBio is a little paradise! I’ve been working there for 3 weeks and I really love it. My job was to develop the methodology of sampling trees for forest inventories. Then I could start the first inventory in one of the trails of the reserve. Inventories includes measurement and recognition of species, which is very useful for monitoring forest growth, and reveals the useful characteristics of the species to be used by the community.
IPBio is characterized by an excellent working environment and is very comfortable to live in the Darwin house, surrounded by wildlife. Another factor that I loved was the multiple attractions of Iporanga valley, such as caves, waterfalls, forests, animals, communities and rivers.
It was an incredible experience that certainly left a deep impression on me.

Yes, I recommend

Highly recommend IPBio

First arriving to the Vale do Ribeira is an experience in itself: beautiful rolling hills covered with the Mata Atlantica forest are led through by tough roads announcing the remoteness of the region. Villagers on donkeys give you a thumbs up as you drive by and people on foot nod their head in sign of welcome. The IP Bio reserve is well off the beaten path, and can only be accessed by crossing a rope bridge over the crystal clear Betary stream.
My experience as a volunteer was great and I highly recommend it. The staff is incredibly helpful and knowledgeable, and guided me as much in my work as in my understanding of local culture. As a tip to future volunteers I would say to have a clear focus of the project to be completed at the reserve. This made my experience more gratifying and helped me enjoy the escapades to forests, rivers and caves all the more.

Yes, I recommend
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I recommend IPBio!

I've been working at the Betary Reserve for over a month now, and I'm thrilled that I came. IPBio is a fantastic organization which knows its mission and is committed to it. In my time here I have been helping the reserve with things such as grant writing, content creation, tourism research, and general maintenance of the reserve. I'm also taking twice-weekly Portuguese lessons.

For the outdoorsy type, there's lots to do on the weekends. The Atlantic Forest is a nature-lover's dream come true, with more biodiversity than you can wrap your head around. Nearby there are also plenty of trails, camp sites, caves, rivers, state parks, rural communities, and of course the town of Iporanga. The reserve is also an ideal place to curl up with a book for a relaxing weekend if that's your style. I'd highly recommend this experience to anyone. IPBio is true to its mission and supportive of its volunteers.

How can this program be improved?

I'd love to see an expansion of the vegetable garden. It's a good size and can be used for cooking, but could also offer more.

Yes, I recommend
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Great place to volunteer !!!!

I fell in love with Iporanga. In love with the forest and the people who live here. After my B.A.C. Biology at UQAM in Canada, I wanted to combine my desire to travel and learn. I accidentally found this voluntary position at the Biodiversity Research Institute (IPBio) on the internet. I was immediately tempted. The quick answers to all my questions from the coordinator convinced me and three weeks later I was there and now I don’t want to leave.

Arriving I did not know what to expect, but certainly I do not expect to have as much convenience in the middle of the forest. Here we have a house for volunteers with fully equipped kitchen, bedroom and bathroom with shower and hot water, a real luxury. You quickly feel at home. In addition, we have access to the research center, which has all the equipment necessary for scientific research. Most important, we have access to people who work here and are always happy to answer any questions. They are so awesome that even once the weekend came; it was them who offered to take us on excursions into the forest or to visit caves or extraordinary waterfalls.

My job here is to continue an existing research topic. 3 times a week I go out in forest 9am to 12am tour the pitfalls to identify the presence of frogs. The path is easily accessible via trails and is very pleasant. I unfortunately did not bring proper boots so they lent me the necessary equipment to walk safely in the forest. Here the motto is: “no problem, we'll find a solution”.

The rest of the day, I analyse existing videos of frogs or I have Portuguese lessons with a great tutor. In the end, there are so many interesting things to do here that it is possible to participate in whatever you want if you ask. The passion of the people working at the reserve is immense and they demonstrate great pleasure in sharing their knowledge.

Of course there is a physically tiring part to field research, but if you can walk, you can work here. The forest here is so diverse that we quickly forget the little aches and we always look forward to getting back out into the forest.

We are housed on the reserve but food is not included. So we will regularly go to the neighbouring village of Iporanga for supplies at least once a week.

I will keep the unforgettable memory of the smell of the forest and the mornings when you get up to the sound of birds singing and even howler monkeys. The people here are so warm that I will leave with new friendships and a single idea in mind: that of returning as soon as possible.

Quick tips:

- Wear comfortable clothes to go in the forest.

- Try to learn some Portuguese to get you to understand local, and they will appreciate you more ease and pleasure to communicate.

Yes, I recommend
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Great internship!

I’m currently doing my five month internship at IPBio and I love it! The people that work here are very friendly and will support you with all the help you need. I’m doing a mammal monitoring research (after the first week I already captured a fieldmouse, tayra, opossum, paca and a capuchin monkey) and in addition to that I help with the selection of footage that they are collecting to make a documentary. On the weekend there are plenty of fun activities to do such as buoy cross, exploring the caves, hiking and swimming.

I would definitely recommend this organization!

Yes, I recommend
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Honestly the best NGO I have volunteered at ever

I have volunteered across the world but have never been so impressed with an NGO.
IPBio has great infrastructure: microclimate greenhouse, aquarium, labs, volunteer house and is located of a reserve

IPBio does great work: research on bioluminescent mushrooms and videos wildlife to study animal behaviour as well as use their content to produce nature documentaries and eBooks

IPBio offers interesting roles for volunteers: education, research assistant, photographers, movie producers, reserve maintenance, communications positions and more so no matter what skills you have you can help out.

IPBio is also a lot of fun: the staff is awesome and like people who enjoy themselves but also work hard. On weekends, I would visit caves, state parks, go wildlife watching, swim in the river, visit waterfalls.

How can this program be improved?

Have bicycles so volunteers can travel into town easily. I suggested it and they liked the idea so maybe this will be solved by the time you come.

Yes, I recommend

About IPBio - Biodiversity Research Institute

The Biodiversity Research Institute (IPBio) is a place where research meets conservation. IPBio is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that develops and supports projects in environmental education and scientific research on biodiversity,...