Forest Conservation Program

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Our Forest Conservation volunteer program in Madagascar consists of constant monitoring of the forest and its surroundings on Nosy Komba.

We assess the biodiversity of several species (including lemurs, birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, as well as some insects) using various survey techniques.

Our surveys include weekly night walks to monitor the nocturnal reptile population. As there are no roads on the island and paths are often steep and unclear, a decent level of fitness is required to reach the survey sites.

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Questions & Answers


based on 3 reviews
  • Impact 8.3
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.7
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Top 5 Reasons for Volunteering with MRCI

1. The “Local Experience”: Stayed in a campsite located in the middle of the forest, atleast 30 minutes away from the nearest village, a life without mobiles and tablets, woken up at dawn everyday by the pet rooster; enjoyed the local diet of rice and zebu(local cattle) meat; hiked daily among the mountains, passing by charming always smiling local villagers scampering by.
2. Expanded my knowledge database exponentially: I am originally from a Biology background, and I have been able to gain so much more knowledge about the endemic species of Madagascar and the ecology.
3. Accumulated valuable Survey Skills: Performed surveys in the forests of Nosy Komba. This was also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to observe the endemic species of Madagascar in their undisturbed natural habitat.
4. Met people from…everywhere!- From Canada to Australia, Iceland to Columbia!
5. Fun Fun Fun: This volunteering trip has been possibly the best experience of my life till now.
A big thank you to MRCI :D

How can this program be improved?
The volunteers could be provided with more information about where and how the surveyed data was going to be used. This would help in give a better picture of the impact our work is having on the local communities.
Yes, I recommend
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Forest Conservative in Madagascar

The program itself was great, we went out on hikes everyday and if you couldn't hike as was the case for me for a bit they also had something you can do and there was always a way to help out on camp. The accommodation for Madagascar was better then I expected and had most amenities like flushing toilets and good showers. The rooms we stayed in where hostel style with 6 beds in a room but there was more then enough room for everyone. The food was also really good with rice and beans being staples but there was also fish, chicken and beef that served. For the program itself it was very cool and rewarding to see some of these amazing creatures in the wild. With most of them you can only find in Madagascar. The research that you gather exploring the forests in nosy komba is so valuable when it comes to studying these creatures and for someone who wasn't really a reptile person before I left I was in awe of some of the things I saw. So I would highly recommend this trip

How can this program be improved?
One of things I think the program can approve in is that you really need to know alot of of different species in order to identify them on the hikes. Before you arrive it would be nice to be able to study up on some of them before you arrive.
Yes, I recommend
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Forest Conservation at MRCI in Madagascar

I spent an amazing 9 weeks at MRCI doing forest conservation and helping with their social media efforts. Nosy Komba, Madagascar is not an easy terrain. The nearest village is a 30-40 minute walk from camp over rocky and beach terrain. The locals walk this island like experts and put all the volunteers to deep shame. The locals are humble though and one time while walking back from the village, I stepped aside to let some young local girls passed. The last one grabbed my hand and showed me where to step easily and it was very sweet and a great bonding experience between me and the locals. They are a wonderful caring people, certainly worth meeting!

How can this program be improved?
As far as forest goes, I would suggest the first week allowing newbies to walk every other day. Perhaps breaking them into 2 groups. On off days, they can do extensive data entry to get them familiar with what were collecting. I think this would do two things: 1) allow people a bit of time to get used to the weather before big walks, and 2) give them a chance to see the data (even out of context) early on, so when they do on walks they have an idea of what they're collecting.
Yes, I recommend

About Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute

We are a Government Approved Institute undertaking environmental research for our partners, which includes the Malagasy Government

Our Volunteer Programs include forest conservation, marine conservation and teaching English at local schools, as well...