Conservation and Community Intern
Crees Foundation - Peru, IN

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Are you looking to start a career in conservation research ? Do you want to get involved with local community projects ? Are you passionate about sustainability and helping to protect the rainforest ?

Become the next crees intern! crees is excited to introduce a new 6-month internship programme designed to help recent graduates, gap year students, and career breakers develop specific career skills in conservation research, community development, and non-profit project management , all while supporting the crees foundation’s projects in the heart of the Amazon!

With numerous environmental threats it is vital that we fully understand the complex relationships between human populations, wildlife and the ecosystems in which they live. Right now there is more emphasis than ever before on a holistic approach to conservation management and the crees internship programme delivers this. This is a skills-based placement taught over 6 months and compromising both core and vocation-specific activities, with the ultimate goal of ensuring a sustainable ecosystem to preserve the long-term potential of species diversity and indigenous life in the Amazon rainforest. By joining our internship programme you will become a member of a dynamic team of like-minded individuals working together towards a sustainable future for the Amazon.

Programme Details – First 10 weeks

The placement begins with a 10 week rainforest volunteer programme covering every aspect of crees’ work in the Amazon. During this time we emphasize the integrated nature of conservation, providing a solid foundation in environmental science as well as the economic and social contexts of our sustainable community programmes. We train interns to address the challenges of biodiversity conservation in an innovative and holistic manner; through this we aim to meet the demand for interdisciplinary training and understanding of the natural environment.

During the initial 10 week phase you will also complete a BTEC course in how to lead a biological survey and receive an Emergency First Response (EFR) certificate. You will develop tropical field skills, practice conservation techniques, learn survey methods and collect quality scientific data; while making a positive contribution to our work and the aims of the crees Foundation. We provide a personal mentor to help guide and assess your progress throughout the placement, ensuring that you pass the initial phase of the programme and become eligible to move on to the work placement.

Projects you may be working on:
Conservation Research

Projects may be based around geography, environmental sciences, agriculture practices, zoology, animal behaviour, ecology, and conservation biology ;

Collect and monitor species and habitats found at the Manu Learning Centre

Study endangered species such as the Blue Headed Macaw and the Jaguar

Explore how humans impact on biodiversity and crucial conservation issues

Track mammals via camera traps and forest transects ( we recorded 7 individual Jaguars last year alone !)

Hike daily to find and identify species nesting and feeding sites

Monitor and register trail biodiversity (jaguars, tapirs, deer, birds and monkeys)

Process and upload data that is used by international conservation projects to determine wider conservation strategies

Contribute to data that helps ensure these species remain protected and inform government decisions

You will develop advanced analytical skills, practical skills used in measuring and protecting biodiversity, GIS fundamentals, and biological surveying and research methods. The scientific work undertaken by crees is done in collaboration with University of Oxford, University of Glasgow, University of Aberdeen, and the University Oregon .

Sustainable Community Initiatives

Projects focus on social, economic, and environmental issues and how local communities can develop and implement sustainable initiatives. Most people living in Manu survive on less than $2 a day through subsistence agriculture and timber extraction – these activities are disastrous for the survival of the rainforest and biodiversity. We use techniques to improve efficiencies, help local people reduce deforestation and protect virgin areas.

Support essential projects designed to increase the income and nutritional levels of local people through sustainable land management

Work with nearby villages on a bio-garden building initiative to improve child nutrition and provide additional income to local families

Help local farmers plan and construct agro-forestry plots as a sustainable alternative to slash-and-burn farming and illegal logging industries

Build infrastructure for local family bio-gardens with community members

Plant seedlings and check on growth rates, soil acidity and help make compost

Collect data on mortality and disease rates, species and distribution information from reforested plots

Create and map reforested plots, planting seedlings and crops

Help calculate and determine Carbon values and sequestration rates per plot

This project directly changes lives and local communities can see a difference in a matter of weeks.

Expeditions – Two x 4 days

During the first 10 week phase of your internship you will embark on two expeditions where you will experience 4 days of trekking through the forest. During this time you may visit local indigenous communities, explore virgin forests, and swim in Amazon hot springs . The expedition is intended as a welcome adventure away that connects you deeper with the local communities, breathtaking biodiversity and challenging physical activities of the rainforest.

Programme Details – Middle 2 weeks

Following the initial 10 week programme, you will have a 2 week break in the Inca capital of Cusco. For the 1 st week we provide a 1 week Spanish immersion course and homestay; even if you have no background with Spanish this will be an excellent opportunity for you to improve your language skills in one of the most beautiful and culturally unique cities in South America.

The 2 nd week away from the rainforest has no set itinerary and is considered an open week for you to have to yourself, visit nearby sights such as Machu Picchu or meet up with friends . As this week is not pre-determined you must plan your own itinerary and budget accordingly, although we are happy to provide suggestions and make arrangements if you wish.

Programme Details – Final 12 weeks

After your 2 week break you will return to the Amazon for a 12 week work placement as a crees intern. During this time we focus on developing your theoretical knowledge and practical skills in one of two key areas; Conservation Research, or Community Development . Within Conservation Research projects may be based around geography, environmental sciences, agricultural practices, zoology, animal behaviour, ecology and conservation biology, depending both on local needs and your own interests. Community projects focus on social, economic, and environmental issues and how local communities can develop and implement sustainable initiatives.


Interns spend the majority of the placement at the Manu Learning Centre, a Rainforest Alliance verified accommodation and top level research centre located in the heart of the Manu Biosphere Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon. Due to its location and facilities the Manu Learning Centre makes for a great base for both hard work and relaxation, boasting a solar powered Internet connection, environmentally sound septic system, and gravity fed water pumps; all helping to minimise the centre’s impact on the environment and reduce its carbon footprint.

Basic Timeline

Weeks 1-10

Volunteer phase of placement – introduction to all projects, extensive training, Emergency First Response certification, BTEC course in how to lead biological surveys

Weeks 11-12

Cusco phase of placement – Spanish immersion course and homestay, plus an open week to do as you wish

Weeks 13-24

Intern phase of placement – act as field staff, run your own project(s) in Conservation Research or Community Development

What’s included in the Programme

Pre Departure Pack and support by our UK office

24 hour in-country support, including airport collection and drop-off in Cusco, Peru

Welcome meeting and arrival orientation around Cusco

Lodging in Cusco (7 nights), the Manu Cloud Forest & Manu Learning Centre

3 delicious meals a day with water, juice, tea or coffee

All transport between Cusco and the rainforest, and to project work within the rainforest

Supervised training and project participation

All necessary project methodology training by experienced and qualified staff

Internationally recognised BTEC qualification

First Aid and CPR training and certification in remote rainforest environment

Tropical forest ecology and fauna identification skills

Scientific monitoring techniques which may include camera trapping, visual encounter surveys, butterfly trapping, mammal and bird clay lick monitoring, mammal track identification, avian mist netting, amphibian and reptile pitfalling- depending on availability

Participation in sustainable agro-forestry and bio-gardens projects

5 days of one-on-one Spanish immersion school and family homestay in Cusco

Weekly and final evaluation by a dedicated staff mentor

Certificate detailing summary of training and experience received

Work placement (awarded if suitable evaluation)

Two 4 day expeditions, which may include: trekking to hot springs, river rafting and visiting local indigenous communities

What’s NOT included in the Programme

Airfares (international or domestic)

Yellow Fever Vaccine (Required, please consult a travel clinic)

Comprehensive Insurance (Required)

Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, snacks

Personal kit

Visa costs if applicable

Extra expeditions and add-on activities

All costs associated with the open week in Cusco (mid-way through programme), including food and lodging, possible 2 nd week of Spanish school/family homestay, and any treks and other activities

2013 Dates

28 January 2013 – 28 June 2013

25 March 2013 – 20 September 2013

17 June 2013 – 20 December 2013

7 October 2013 – 28 March 2014


$6,500.00 for 6-month placement

What Makes Us Different

We are a small but dedicated team of professionals who are focused on one project, in one area. We firmly believe that everyone, provided the right tools, is capable of making a positive impact. Our programme gives you real skills and understanding of conservation and community issues whilst providing an unforgettable experience. However, most important is knowing that you leave behind a real positive impact on the lives of others.