Like any other volunteer, an eco-volunteer assists an individual or organization by providing their time and energy, but completes activities that specifically focus on the conservation and protection of natural spaces. Examples of this include beach clean-ups, removal of invasive species, planting trees in abandoned areas, etc.
How could anyone come to the Amazon Rainforest and not want to appreciate its beauty? As many individuals looking into visiting the area may find, a variety of lodges and hotels situated within the area offer heavily-priced tour packages with the promise of seeing wildlife. In exchange, visitors are told that their money will fund the preservation of wildlife and their habitats. This type of industry described above is referred to as Ecotourism.
Eco-volunteering, however, is considered a step above ecotourism. While a percentage of an ecotourist’s money can go toward the support of local communities or conservation efforts of the natural places they visit, individuals ultimately pay because they expect a product or service to be properly delivered to them by the entity it seeks out. Furthermore, it is difficult to hold these organizations accountable if they aren’t transparent with how visitor money is specifically used. At this point, one can just hope that their money is being managed correctly.
An eco-volunteer, on the other hand, does the opposite. During their visit to a natural area, an eco-volunteer is willing to provide their services, knowledge, even expertise to better the environment and help the community that hosts them. An eco-volunteer is fueled by their interest and determination, and is engaged in learning about the importance of the work they conduct. Unlike a typical ecotourist, an eco-volunteer can physically and mentally see the result of their efforts.
This isn’t to say that eco-volunteers are deprived the experiences tourists pay good money for. Simply put, eco-volunteering is another way to experience the Amazon in an authentic manner by enabling you to interact with your natural surroundings, bond with the locals leading the projects, and truly help a small, local conservation reserve like ourselves achieve its life-long pledge to protect and preserve the existence of these beautiful forests.
So what kind of visitor do you want to be?
Be the change you want to see in the world, take action, and join us in protecting the Amazon Rainforest.
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