Animal Release Center in the Tropical Atlantic Forest

Video and Photos

About

FreeWildlifeBrazil Celine was founded by the couple Martine Schmid-Fiorini and Pedro Schmid, both Swiss veterinarians, who worried about the fate of the wild animals coming from the illegal traffic and seized by local authorities. In an improvised installation at their residence in Iporanga, they began to care for wild animals, enabling their return to nature. Thus, familiar with the necessary care and the requirements for the release of wild animals, they founded FreeWildlife Brazil Celine in the Atlantic Forest.

FWB C will primarily focus on the release of native birds and will monitor their progress after reintroduction. We have partnered with IPBio (Biodiversity Research Institute), an NGO that also works on the Betary Reserve with whom we cooperate closely, to develop a joint volunteer program.

Volunteer Roles:
1) Eco-Volunteering
2) Website Developer
3) Photography and Producing Videos
4) Communications & Fundraising
5) Volunteer Coordinator

Highlights
  • Help conserve the Atlantic Forest and, in turn, preserve natural habitats for wildlife in Brazil.
  • Help with the reintroduction of birds into the wild as part of a rehabilitation project.
  • Gain valuable, hands-on experience in wildlife conservation.
  • Gain a deeper insight into ecology, zoology, and biology throughout your time in the center.
  • Participate in numerous activities, which range from relaxing social events to exciting outdoor activities.

Impact

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 13 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.8
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
Default avatar
Gaby
10/10

Experience the Atlantic Forest

Celine is the animal release center which works with IPBio. I was an eco-volunteer with IPBio, so I cannot say much on the work of Celine. I can say I really enjoyed working with the people at IPBio and I do believe that you would be working with the same folks (they are amazing people who really want to share their knowledge of the Atlantic Forest with you as well as make a very kind effort to get to know you - even if there is a communication barrier). I did do some gardening at Celine where we planted cassava roots, banana trees, and palm trees - work was among the more physical work I did during my time with IPBio but overall not unmanageably physical (the banana trees were smaller, and the palm trees were seeds - the tools for digging were the annoying part…). I also did 8 weeks of tree inventory on Celine's property to understand how the trees are growing in an effort to track forest stage (pioneering, secondary, etc.). Around the time I got here (June 2018), Celine had just got its official permit to start releasing animals, so the facility did not actually house any animals, but from what I have been told, it should start receiving animals soon. Although, on that note, it seems like it will only be birds; I remember reading/seeing online that they were releasing some mammals, but this doesn't seem to be the case for this new facility. I am not sure what volunteers will be doing for this facility in particular, but I hope that my review is helpful in reassuring you that the people you will be working for are great, the facilities you will stay in are clean, comfortable, and probably exceed your expectations, and that IPBio has good intentions in protecting and preserving the species of the Atlantic Forest (and they are very appreciative of their volunteers!).

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lloyd
10/10

Once in a lifetime

When recalling my experience at The Betary Reserve, I can’t help but smile so big. The time spent trekking through the North Atlantic Forrest collecting data on its diverse wildlife and plant life were some of the best memories I have. Its truly a hands on experience. If you like to get out into the wild, this is the volunteer experience for you. I also want to make note that one of the greatest unexpected things that will happen is you will form amazing bonds with fellow volunteers and staff members of the reserve, not to mention the incredible people of Iporanga. Please go, and learn, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?
Just being better at defining roles.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Olivia
10/10

Amazing volunteer experience!

Volunteering in the rainforest? Yes! Abundance of interesting, rewarding field work? Heck ya! Weekend trips visiting waterfalls, caves, beach and river tubing? You bet! AND affordable?? How good could it get at Betary Reserve?!

All these reasons and more contributed to my more than incredible experience for the month I spent with IPBio and Celine at the Reserve. I worked as an eco-volunteer, meaning I participated in variety of programs they offered: tree inventory, amphibian research, bioluminescent mushroom research, gardening, bird and fish inventory. My favorites were gardening and tree inventory (I looked forward to this as I study Horticulture), and my love for bird inventory surprised but delighted me (for this we spend a few hours making our way through the jungle looking for birds to photograph for records/cataloging, extremely meditative and peaceful). All the work is fun, regardless, and the program is nice in that we do different work each day of the week, so it never feels tedious or repetitive. I mean, you’re also working in the middle of the Atlantic Forest, so there’s little complaint to be made. The volunteer coordination is also pretty on top of their agenda, so the program flowed real well, and through the busy days there definitely was some valuable experience gained in research methods and studying biodiversity, pretty good stuff. It should be said however, that there is a fair amount of downtime, and while the work is structured, if you are looking for a more rigorous volunteering program this may not be the one. Also, it focuses more on field work than harder laboratory/science/biology practice, but is still good experience.

As for the living situation, oh man let me tell you it is real nice. The volunteer house is fully furnished, surprisingly with hot showers, and the kitchen is fully stocked and working. The staff and other volunteers were all incredible, helpful, supportive, welcoming and fun. I felt safe, comfortable and happy here. So, so, so, happy. One of my favorite memories is every morning walking outside and seeing this enormous mountain behind the reserve covered in fog and mist, greeted with these unbelievably brilliantly colorful birds, a beautiful scene to start the day out right.

So, almost needless to say, I had the time of my life, balancing work and fun, enjoying my days in Brazil, each day better than the last and exceeding my expectations more than I could imagine. I highly, highly recommend volunteering with Betary Reserve, even if you are the tiniest smidgeon interested in it. They definitely could use your help, and the program is absolutely wonderful.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Kareem
10/10

Amazing Experience

The projects that we work on here at Betary Reserve are very educational and fun. From tagging trees to monitor forest growth to collecting macroinvertebrates to monitor habitats everything we do is for a very important cause. It is great to reap the benefits of the work that we do, for example we planted cassava and another day we had a cassava party where we made them into fries, baked them, and made cakes with them. Another great thing about Betary Reserve is how everything is organized very well, however at the same time the volunteer coordinators are flexible and are always willing to accept suggestions to make the projects or all around living better here at Betary Reserve. For example, after seeing that I do a lot of work with aquaponics back home, Imran wanted me to come to Betary Reserve and install a number of systems here, and I did just that. Not only did I just do that, but had the time of my life doing it and working with the people here to make things happen.

How can this program be improved?
This program can be improved by making it larger so that more people can share in this incredible experience.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Rowan
9/10

Eco-Volunteering in the Atlantic Forest

During my time as an eco-volunteer at FWBC, I got to participate in a number of projects that all taught me something new! Every day, we would head out into the field, usually under the supervision of the lovely and knowledgeable Marleen, knowing exactly our assignment for the day, as our week’s schedule was always posted and discussed in a Monday morning meeting. Projects ranged from bushwhacking into the forest to tag and measure trees on the reserve, to taking early morning hikes to take pictures of the myriad species of birds found in the area, to preparing the release center for their first round of arrivals.

Not only were the projects here so interesting and fun, they were impeccably well organized. The staff were so supportive and helpful, and fun as well! Being my first time out of my home country, they made the process as smooth as humanly possible, and Imran answered all of my silly little questions graciously and quickly before my arrival. Accommodations were better than I could have ever expected, when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the luxury of having my very own AC unit in my room! Adriana is not only an absolute sweetheart, but keeps everything at IPBio sparkling clean 24/7. I honestly don’t know how she does it! Anna and Henrique are so so knowledgeable in their fields, and taught me so much about the Atlantic Forest’s ecosystem and biodiversity. My fellow volunteers during my stay were all so interesting and wonderful, it was an honor and pleasure to get to know them, for whatever the length of time our paths crossed.

The weekend trips I had the opportunity to experience were truly astounding, and just opened my eyes even more to how stunning and unique Brazil is. It is SO worth budgeting out some extra money to go on at least one of the trips, whether it’s relaxing on the beach in Cananaeia and watching dolphins play basically right by the shore, or hiking deep into the jungle to see the largest cave opening in the world, you will not be disappointed.

Being an Ecology and Environmental Science student in the US, I was drawn to FWBC’s projects in general, but had no idea how much I would fall in love with the work. After my time volunteering, I have decided to go on for my masters and hopefully pursue a PhD in the future! So, thank you FWBC for igniting this passion in me, and for giving me the opportunity to find it! I hope to return soon, and see all of the wonderful people I got to know during my stay. Obrigada, Brazil <3

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Raphael
10/10

Better Volunteering

Translated Review:
Hello,
My name is Raphael Ribeiro Francisco, I am a student of veterinary medicine, I came to Celine to work as a volunteer in the wild animal monitoring project.
It was amazing to stay during these 2 months at the Betary Reservation. Live surrounded by nature, wake up listening to the birds singing and the Betary River following its flow.
The work environment is great, all the staff are extremely attentive and always willing to help in any situation.

Original Review:
Olá,
Meu nome é Raphael Ribeiro Francisco, sou estudante de medicina veterinária, vim para o Celine para trabalhar como voluntario no projeto de monitoramento de animais silvestres.
Foi incrível a estadia durante esses 2 meses na Reserva Betary. Viver cercado pela natureza, acordar ouvindo os pássaros cantando e o Rio Betary seguindo seu fluxo.
O ambiente de trabalho é ótimo, todos os funcionários são extremamente atenciosos e sempre dispostos a ajudar em qualquer situação.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Elya
10/10

Amazing Experience!

Your search is over! If you are looking for somewhere to volunteer in South America and you love animals or science, then this is the place! I have been volunteering around South America with my husband for the last 5 months, and this has by far been the best place yet! There is such a variety of activities that we have been doing that it is never boring. We have monitored trap camera footage, observed birds, monitored ponds and trees, and collected fish and river data! It has been so incredible being able to help the research efforts and get to see the amazing biodiversity in the Atlantic Forest first hand! The accommodations were also incredibly comfortable, from private rooms with personal air-conditioning units, to a fully stocked kitchen and living area, it was really lovely! This is such a special place and I am really sad to be leaving, but it has been such an amazing experience that I will remember it forever! I would definitely recommend volunteering at the Betary Reserve! This place is truly unlike any I have ever seen before. On top of the beautiful destination, the amazing research, and the fun activities, this place is so well organized! That is one thing we have had some difficulties with at previous volunteer locations, is a lack of organization. So it has been such a breath of fresh air to have things lined out, planned ahead of time, and on schedule!

How can this program be improved?
Unsure.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lily
10/10

A wealth of experience!

After finishing my masters in Aquatic Science I knew I wanted to work in Conservation. However, after applying for a few jobs in the Conservation Sector I realised my CV had some key skills missing for me to succeed. That’s why I signed up to be an Eco-Volunteer at the Betary Reserve and it has really paid off. As I come to the end of the 2 months I have spent here the array of skills I have built up is amazing. Learning how to monitor species of all kinds from Fish and Amphibians to Plants and Mushrooms, I have also gained confidence in these techniques from routine practise. I had the opportunity to develop a Pond Habitat Monitoring Programme, including a pond at Celine, as well and gained experience in how to lead volunteers. It would have been much more difficult to get this experience back home in the UK. There are endless opportunities here and if you have the time come and take advantage of them! I only wish I could stay longer, I am still in awe of the beauty of my surroundings every day and will miss having breakfast surrounded by hummingbirds and toucans when I am back in England!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
George
9/10

2 months in the Atlantic rainforest!

I spent 2 months as an eco-volunteer at the Betary Reserve getting involved in a wide range of projects. Despite not having any biological background, while I was at the reserve I worked on projects such as fish inventory, habitat monitoring , mushroom and tree inventory, all of which gave me time to work outside and enjoy the beautiful Atlantic rainforest. I also spent time helping to sort through all of the spectacular footage they have of the local wildlife and activities. Through all this I was able to was still able to learn a lot about biological research and conservation.

On the weekends I had plenty of time to enjoy some of the local tourism activities, such as caving, waterfall hikes and visiting cananeia, which were great fun and provided more opportunities to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and wildlife.

Yes, I recommend
Azra
9/10

Habitat Monitoring and Conservation

My time working with Celine was spent setting up an aquatic habitat monitoring programme across sites based in the IP Bio research facility and at Celine. As there was currently no habitat monitoring in place, this gave me the ideal opportunity to gain new skills as well as help to make a difference with the conservation work that is being carried here in the Atlantic forest.

The location of the release center is amazing and was one of the things that has made my volunteer experience absolutely unforgettable. As well as the exciting new projects that you can get involved in, there are plenty of extra activities to enjoy at the weekends and after work. From caving to hiking and even the chance to get up close with wild dolphins, there is no chance of getting bored!

I would definitely recommend this volunteer opportunity to other people, both with a background in conservation and without as I feel like it is a very unique experience to get involved with. A huge than you to all the other volunteers and incredibly friendly staff at the reserve that made my experience so fantastic!

How can this program be improved?
The volunteer package could make clear the specific projects and timings of the projects being run at Celine so that volunteers can tailor their experiences to their interests more thoroughly.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Antonio
10/10

Fantastic Volunteering Opportunity

I came to the Atlantic Forest after deciding to take a sabbatical from the business world before starting my Master’s at Oxford. I was determined to go to Brazil and decided that travelling without a purpose was not for me. I had heard about the Betary Reserve as my friend Imran is a volunteer coordinator. The project also appealed to me in its conservation and research aims.
When I arrived, I had no experience in biology, conservation or research. Still, I hit the ground running, soon having a number of projects to contribute towards. During my time at the Reserve I helped set up a course for volunteers, prepare volunteer presentations in addition to helping around the reserve around the research projects. It was validating to watch my efforts contribute to the crucial conservation and education aims of the organisation. My favourite research projects were the Fish Inventory, where I searched for Fish in the river on a hot sunny day, the Frog Night Search, where we looked for Frogs (you guessed it) at night to gauge the biospheres biodiversity.
Outside of the Reserve I didn’t lack things to do either. I arrived on the weekend of the town’s anniversary and had a reggae concert to attend pretty soon after. Still, the best party was definitely Carnival. We all decided to go to Cananeia (a beach paradise, 2.5 hours away from the reserve) for a day at the beach, dolphin and crab watching, before heading to town for an amazing seafood dinner and the main event: Samba schools parading through town. I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences I have had so far.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Mariel
10/10

FreeWildlifeBrazil Celine in The Atlantic Forest

Volunteering for FreeWildlifeBrazil Celine is something I could not have imagined. And I mean that in all the best ways. The welcome was warm and informative at the same time and my six-week-stay in the volunteer house couldn't have been better. During the day I was working as a video producer, putting my editing skills to good use. There already is an immense archive of footage made by the great biologists and previous volunteers on site and images caught with camera traps in the forest. The beautiful tropical plants and animals only make you want to add your own sightings to the film stock. With these images I was able to make some video's for the website and the youtube-channel (you should check it out, it gives a good idea of what life and volunteering here is all about). In the evenings and during the weekends you had time to take part in group activities or you could just chill. The surrounding area has a lot to offer: caves to explore and rivers to swim in. The forest in itself is amazing and has a diversity that is unmatched anywhere on the planet. It was delightful to actually experience this wonder of nature and take part in the effort of conserving it.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Liliana
9/10

GOOD EXPERIENCE

Although my stay at the institute has been short, I have been able to enjoy myself a lot and learn more about research and conservation of the environment. I highly recommend this volunteering to meet different species of animals and mushrooms, as well as to live with people from different countries. I definitely think that this experience has helped me grow in various aspects. Living in the institute was very comfortable and I have a lot of fun working with all the volunteers.

How can this program be improved?
NO COMMENTS
Yes, I recommend

About FreeWildlifeBrazil Celine

FreeWildlifeBrazil Celine was founded by the couple Martine Schmid-Fiorini and Pedro Schmid, both Swiss veterinarians, who worried about the fate of the wild animals coming from the illegal traffic and seized by local authorities. In an improvised...