Chilean Patagonia is considered one of the world’s most remarkable pristine natural environments. This remote area not easily accessible is also extremely vulnerable to environmental damage. The rise of national and international tourism in the region has brought increasing opportunities for economic development, and also related environmental risks. Promoting conservation is directly linked to increased opportunities for social and economic development for the people who inhabit this region. Projects are under way to protect the local environment and the welfare of local inhabitants promoting and developing the area as an environmental sanctuary. The two towns were projects are taking place are Palena and Futaluefú.
Palena lies 360km south of Puerto Montt and 403 km north of Coyhaique The international pass known as Río Encuentro joins it with Argentina. This is a small village with basic services and most of its population is dedicated to rural activities and, except for its connection with Argentina, lives in total isolation and disconnected from the rest of the country. The surroundings of Palena offer countless opportunities to explore large pristine areas filled with forests, rivers and lakes.
The small town of Futaleufú lies 155km southeast of Chaitén and only 8km away from the Argentinean border. Set in an incredible landscape, the place is famous for rafters and kayakers entuthiasts worldwide due to Futaleufú river´s crystalline blue and wild waters which in high season attracts many visitors. Neither Palena nor Futaleufú have been directly affected by the Chaitén Volcano eruption.
Weather in Patagonia is very unpredictable. The Patagonia summer offers warm, sunny days and cool nights. Winter in Patagonia can be harsh with cold and wet winters. Snow precipitation is not uncommon although it does not accumulate in the valleys.
A. Conservation work
Work in an organic garden and greenhouse of native species from Patagonia. Collaborate in the development of an organic garden and greenhouse of native species which will serve as an example for good agricultural practices for the local inhabitants and school children of Palena.
B. Teach English in rural schools
Teach English and environmental education in Palena or Futaleufú. Teach English and environmental education to children at a rural school in Palena or Futaleufú either independently or with the support of a local teacher, depending on past pedagogical experience and level of Spanish.
- Language abilities: English speaker (advanced) – Spanish speaker (beginner – intermediate or advanced)
- Age: over 18 years old.
- Mentality: open minded, autonomous, the ability to work without supervision and/or with children, patient and the willingness to work and live in this remote location with very basic facilities.
- Safety: reasonable level of fitness required. Sometimes physical work required including hiking.
- Communication: cell phone with local SIM card required.
- Time of year: all year round.
- Project suppport: there will be a VH representative assigned to each volunteer who will be in touch via phone and email during the duration of the volunteer period. There will also be a local contact for the volunteer based in the region.
- Accommodation: basic accommodation in homestays, locally run housing or similar.
- Free time: opportunity to explore the local surroundings including practicing adventure sports and outdoor activities (kayaking, rafting, trekking, fly fishing, camping, horse riding, etc.) A chance to learn about the local culture and the people through sharing day to day life and activities related to farming, cooking typical food, weaving.