VOLUNTEERING OPPORUNITIES AT FPWC

Make a positive impact in Armenia!

Join FPWC team to help in wildlife conservation work at Caucasus Wildlife Refuge (CWR).

CWR is one of the most bio-diverse areas in Armenia. It’s is the first privately protected area in the entire South Caucasus with an area of 30,000 hectares. It starts along the border of Nakhijevan (Azerbaijan) all the way to Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) including the important biodiversity areas of the country that form an ecological connectivity corridor for endangered wildlife. The aim is to contribute to efficient biodiversity protection in Armenia by improving the protection of flora and fauna in the reserve’s previously unsustainably managed buffer zones and wildlife migration corridors.

If you’re looking to make a difference, volunteering in CWR, Urtsadzor community, Armenia with FPWC is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of!

What we offer?

In the CWR main station near Urtsadzor community, Ararat region, we have two main volunteering opportunities to offer:

  1. Volunteering at the Bear Rescue Center, Great Bear Rescue Project
Bearkeeping

During a ONE WEEK-LONG volunteering program, you will share the responsibility of bear keeping by feeding and watering the bears, cleaning their enclosures, providing enrichment means, assisting with hosting the visitors and presenting the Center’s mission and helping in organizing the daily routine of the bears as well as assisting in the construction and maintenance works of the cages and enclosures.

The bears receive medical treatment and are nursed back to health, so that they can live out their lives with many other bears in large enclosures. Many bears are sick and disabled and will require permanent care for the remainder of their lives. It can be very emotional work treating and caring for sick and abused animals, so you should try to be prepared for this. Be rest assured that you are amongst like-minded people, who are experiencing the same feelings and emotions as you, and they will be there to support you.

About the Great Bear Rescue Project

The FPWC in partnership with the International Animal Rescue (IAR) launched the “Great Bear Rescue” project, the primary goal of which is providing better conditions for the captive bears, all around Armenia. The animals are being kept in cages mainly due to the human factor, and now they need special care. There are still many captive animals in several entertainment facilities and restaurants, around Armenia, waiting for their turn to be rescued.

Every year wild bears are illegally caught or trapped by poachers in Armenia. Once captured, many of them end up in small, squalid cages in restaurants and other public entertainment venues as a tourist attraction. Some are kept in bus depots; others are hidden from view in dark cellars. Some of the bears are mentally and physically damaged by the boredom and frustration of their miserable existence behind bars.

The bears in Armenia are Syrian Brown Bears (Ursus arctos syriacus), one of the smaller sub-species of brown bear. They are found in the mountainous areas of the country where they forage for fruits, berries and insects in the meadows and forests and hibernate in caves and tree hollows. Their barren prisons are a far cry from their natural home in the forest.

The project aims to free them from their suffering and, after thorough veterinary checks and assessment, rehabilitate and eventually release those that are physically and mentally equipped to fend for themselves in the wild. Those that are not viable for release will be given a permanent home in sanctuaries where they will be well cared for, well fed and have the freedom to express natural bear behavior.

  1. Volunteering at the Native Tree Nursery, Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) Project
Tree Nursery

During a ONE WEEK-LONG volunteering program, you will help in daily works of the native tree nursery. The work in the nursery can vary according to the season you are applying: it starts from the seed collecting, seed stratification, germination, everyday irrigation and care, pruning and planting.

We collect from the local forests seeds of wild fruit trees and bring them back to nature as health tree plants.

During your stay you will be guided by the tree nursery specialist, who will teach and assist you in your work. It’s a very inspiring job to see how the smallest seed can grow into a health tree with a well-developed root system and green leaves.

Please, be aware, that sometimes it’s very hard to work at the tree nurseries due to the high temperature and long-hours routine work.

About the Forest Landscape Restoration Project

In 2016 the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) established one of the first native tree nurseries in Armenia that utilizes the technique of growing tree seedlings in containers. This methodology allows for the cultivation of native tree species that are hard or impossible to grow through the bare root of the method more commonly used in Armenia.

Every year FPWC organized massive tree planting, which is a long term activity oriented on the restoration of degraded lands in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge (CWR). This includes 300ha of lands damaged by fire in 2017 also eroded slops all over the territory.

This technology has a strong component of potential environmental impact assessment for an understanding of the global impact of restoration at lands affected by the fire.

A basic natural threat for land degradation at semi-desert ecosystems are wildfires, which are directly linked with climate change. Another threat of land degradation is erosion. The reason for erosion is mostly illegal logging happened during post-soviet years of energetic crisis and now this area has become a sparse forest with low-density vegetation.

The only principle of tree species selection is using native species. Doing an accent on wild fruit species has an idea to provide at the same time valuable food source for wildlife.

  1. ArAves NGO’s volunteering bird count and monitoring in Y2020

ArAves NGO was founded by FPWC aiming to conserve nature through bird study and environmental education.

Volunteers are welcomed to take part in bird count and monitoring activities at the biodiversity reach areas of South Caucasus.

In May, we will visit Artsakh Republic. The altitude changes rapidly in Artsakh, which creates large variety of habitats. The entire territory of Artsakh is included in Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot.  It will be the first professionally designed bird count in Artsakh. The country is not well studied, in terms of wildlife. So, we aim to find the hotspot areas in terms of bird diversity, distribution, propose future monitoring scheme and conservation actions. Many breath-taking species and habitats will be observed, for sure! The new start for bird conservation and monitoring in Artsakh will begin.

In June the bird count will take place in the protected areas in CWR.

  • Artsakh (Nagorno Karabagh) from the 25th of May to the 3rd of June.
  • Caucasian Wildlife Refuge (CWR) (Ararat and Vayots Dzor Provinces, Armenia) from the 19th to the 29th of June.

Learn more about ArAves volunteering bird count and monitoring opportunities.

Program Requirements

Age range: 18 – 70 years

In order to join the program, you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date.

Language Skills

At least B1 English level.

Required Documents

Proof of travel Insurance and Proof of vaccinations.

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Other Skills

No specific skills are required other than a love for animals, a genuine need to help them, love for nature and a hard working ethic.

You will need to be in good physical condition due to the nature of the work undertaken in a hot and dry environment.

You should be patient, caring, willing to accept new ideas and be prepared to be challenged by alternative cultural views on the treatment of animals.

 The volunteering program residence cost one week is EUR 500.

Included Services

  • Airport transfer
  • Project Information Package
  • Arrival orientation
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • All necessary training by staff or other volunteers
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Certificate of Participation

What’s not included in this project?

  • Flight ticket
  • Travel insurance for the visit period
  • Personal spending
  • Visas and entry permits

Participation Fee is payable, only after candidate confirmation by the FPWC

Accommodation

Basic twin rooms with private bathroom.

Food & Beverages

Breakfast, lunch and dinner with vegetarian and vegan options.

Fresh, filtered water is provided.

Accomodation