Expand your knowledge and make a difference in part of a Rainforest Reserve. Join the Salve Floresta team as a volunteer!

by Laurin Soares & Micayla Dennis
10 min read

Just 3 hours out of São Paulo close to the quaint town of Tapirai, you’ll find Salve Floresta, built amidst one of the most preserved areas of the Atlantic Forest in the world. Here, whilst staying in comfort in the primary forest, you’ll have the unique opportunity to experience nature first hand, grow and harvest a variety of organic vegetables, and visit unforgettable places. Every effort we are making to preserve this forest is done with the aim of benefitting us all. Our main intention is to create habits amongst ourselves and those around us that will conserve what’s left of our Rainforest, ensuring the survival of many plant and animal species that are threatened with extinction. Help us to preserve this natural paradise, as we share knowledge and wisdom with the goal of a greater understanding of, and respect for nature. 

In our ecological reserve, we grow a variety of native fruits and vegetables. Our small-scale banana plantation provides us with an abundance of bananas, which we feed every morning to the many exoctic bird species that share our land with us. Our guava trees bare sweet guavas in season, as do our orange and cacao trees. Recently we have started to grow papaya trees, and are planting watermelon seedlings that we grew from scratch. 

Our vegetable garden boasts a large variety of organic veggies; kale, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beet root, lettuce, scarlet eggplant, corn, mandioca, leeks, spring onion and some herbs like rosemary, basil and parsley. We collect all organic matter from the kitchen, and after decomposing, we nourish our garden’s soil with our own organic compost. We believe that plant-based foods are essential for the future of the planet and the evolution of humans. For this reason we focus on serving vegetarian cuisine at our restaurant, and make it a priority to prepare our food with organic, locally sourced products.

Apart from getting your hands dirty in the soil, another main focus is on restoration projects to renew parts of the property, as we have been around for more than 25 years, and constant improvement is important. For the adventurous at heart, guided hiking, kayaking and birdwatching are some of the popular activities we offer here at Salve Floresta, and as a volunteer we welcome you to take full advantage of these in your free time.

  • Volunteer planting salad
  • Volunteer planting salad
  • Volunteer planting corn

Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

By becoming part of the Salve Floresta family, you’ll be surrounded by a team of local Brazillians, welcoming and open to sharing knowledge, skills and opportunities for growth with you. You could practice your Portuguese, taste many different types of traditional Brazillian dishes, learn about the region and the climate in this part of the Mata Atlantica and expand your knowledge on the bird, plant and animal species of the Atlantic Rainforest. 

In our garden you will experience growing seeds into seedlings, using a combination of soil and compost to plant the seedlings into vegetable beds, watering, pruning and caring for the growing plants and eventually harvesting the vegetables. You will also learn about the composting process, natural fertilizers and planting fruit trees.

If you’re into photography, there are beautiful landscapes and hundreds of exotic bird species, a lookout tower that goes high up into the treetops and plenty of opportunities for close-up and drone shots.

In ecotourism, volunteers and international tourists are an important asset when it comes to uniting the locals with their natural environment. Foreigners have the opportunity to experience the Rainforest ecosystem up close and at the same time they might show the local population that one can make a living by protecting and working amidst their natural environment, rather than by destroying it. The satisfaction of the guests and the strengthening of the regional economy should go hand in hand with the protection of nature and the improvement of the quality of life of the local people. Our goal is a lasting relationship between a small village in Brazil and a successful project to protect the Rainforest.

Required Help

Ideally we are looking for hardworking, motivated individuals who are interested in ecology, with a focus on understanding nature and it’s processes in a non-invasive way. For us, it would be a great advantage if you are already working in this field or have studied related topics, however it is not a requirement, as we welcome you to learn more with us.

Gardening
: Our main objective is the continuation and maintenance of our permaculture garden, allowing you to get your hands dirty and learn all there is to know about sustainable organic gardening. We need your help to plant different native and exotic edible species of vegetables, herbs and fruit, whilst caring for the seedlings we are growing and maintaining the plants that are already bearing fruits and vegetables.

Eco Lodge: Taking care of guests at the reception office, guiding guests on our jungle tours, translating for our international guests, assisting with general maintenance around the lodge and helping anyone who needs assistance, whether it be at our laboratory during a learning experience, helping our housekeepers or being an extra hand in the kitchen. 

Marketing: We are currently looking for text, concept and online marketing support, open to people who speak German, Portuguese or English. Developers are also needed! For this we require that you have good skills in WordPress back and Frontend, PHP, and CSS system in general.

Photographers and Filmmakers are also welcome as we can always use a little help to capture the essence of our beautiful place. 

Construction work: Volunteers who are experienced in carpentry or construction work are always welcome.

Important Notes: For participating in our volunteer program, we require a minimum stay of four weeks and a minimum age of 25 years, to ensure that the experience goes smoothly on both sides and that expectations are mutually met. It is important for us that everyone’s time at Salve Floresta represents a fair exchange between our team and the volunteers. Currently we accept two Volunteers at a time, but this could change in the future.

 

Accommodation

We offer different room types, all are fitted with cotton linen and towels, a storage shelf for luggage and a large space for you to hang your clothes. Large communal bathrooms and toilets are in the hallway and outside a terrace with a table, chairs and a hammock are also available. We have a washing machine available for you to do your laundry and we offer delicious vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner, included in the volunteer exchange and served each day at our restaurant. Volunteers are welcome to serve themselves from the variety of fruit trees in our garden as they please.

The Future

After a Salve Floresta experience, our desire is that volunteers will be motivated to live with a sense of responsibility to reduce consumption and have a stronger overall environmental awareness. We hope that volunteers who have experienced a time of fulfillment and growth here will understand and love nature more than before! It is more important now, than ever, to stay connected with nature and live a sustainable, healthy and fulfilling life. Being one with nature allows us to decrease stress and anxiety and improve our overall happiness and physical health. 

There is a great importance to finding a new balance in the everyday life we are used to living in which we are used to spending most of our time indoors, and the time we set aside to be in green spaces, breathing fresh air. By increasing the time we set aside to be surrounded by nature, we can ensure a consistent and long lasting prosperity for both ourselves and our future.