Soak in the beauty of Silba, a tiny island in the Adriatic Sea, where marine life thrives in pristine turquoise waters outside Croatia’s bustling tourism circuit. We are working with volunteers like you to develop sustainable tourism and conservation management systems on this car-free island to help protect wildlife and local livelihoods. We are extremely grateful for your support in making these projects possible.
In return, we promise you the experience of a lifetime, a letter of reference or certificate for your CV, and the opportunity to gain valuable skills to launch your career in conservation management.
PLEASE CHECK ALL TABS ABOVE FOR FULL INFORMATION ON ACTIVITIES, COSTS, AND START DATES!
Based on the car-free island of Silba, our volunteers work alongside Croatian NGO, Janolus, to develop sustainable tourism on the island that supports conservation efforts, such as replanting native seagrass or monitoring endemic fish species. Our home base is the Silba Marina Research Centre, a restored house owned by Janolus that is being developed into a permanent marine research base for the island.
Silba is located in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia and is accessible by a ferry from the mainland. There are no cars on the island and the permanent population is only around 200 people; however, the island can have up to 5000 visitors in the summer, meaning there is an urgent need to create waste management programs and environmental guidelines for the island. Janolus manages a number of marine conservation projects on the island, from replanting seagrass and corals, to surveying underwater transects and engaging the local community to sustainable management plans for the island.
Janolus also runs a dive operation on the island where tourists can enjoy recreational dives from a boat or from shore. Volunteers have the opportunity to become certified divers, or to advance a level in your dive qualification so you can go deeper and become more involved in the research going on at our site.
Programs in Silba run for 2-8 weeks and can be combined with work experience opportunities at our sites in Krka (Croatia terrestrial) or Transylvania (Romania terrestrial). Start dates begin every Saturday and end on the following Saturday. Your fees include a transfer from the airport but not a return transfer, should you desire to continue your travel in Europe after finishing your volunteer work. Please see the ITINERARY tab above for a detailed description of dates, accommodation, and other logistical details.
Please note: we will be opening the Silba Marine Research Centre in Spring 2021 based on interest *only*! If you are interested in volunteering in Spring 2021, please register your interest below:
Volunteers will be involved in many different work activities, including tasks that are not animal or wildlife related, but are essential to conservation efforts. Examples of activities may include: surveying underwater transects, replanting native species (including underwater), building trails, cleaning and decorating the research center, and beach/underwater cleanups. Specific activities cannot be guaranteed during any one volunteer’s stay as conservation management work depends on many uncontrollable factors such as weather, wildlife, and organizational needs.
Please see the ACTIVITIES tab above for a detailed description of possible volunteering activities.
Please indicate the number of weeks, start date, and any additional courses in the form to the right of this section. Please fill in the number of weeks in the box that currently lists “2”. You must pay the flat deposit fee of €100 to hold your place. We will contact you with a full invoice once we receive your deposit confirmation. Discounts will be applied to bookings longer than two weeks. Please see the PRICING tab above for detailed pricing information.
You do not need to choose dates until January 10th, 2021 if you book before prices change.
All volunteers will be based at the Silba Marine Research Centre, a research base located just fifteen minutes from the ferry dock on Silba. Accommodation will be in shared bunk-style rooms with other volunteers. The center has running water, cold showers, flushing toilets, and a full kitchen. Volunteers are expected to help with cooking and participate in daily cleaning of the camp.
Our camp is in a very remote area, on an island about two hours from mainland Croatia. There is a small town on the island with shops, restaurants, and pubs, which is located a short 10-15 minute walk from our camp. While you will be busy with work throughout your stay and have plenty of opportunities to explore, you should bring plenty of books, cards, and games to entertain yourself. This is not an ideal program for someone who needs to be in a big city!
You may choose to volunteer in Silba run for 2-8 weeks and can be combined with work experience opportunities at our sites in Krka (Croatia terrestrial) or Transylvania (Romania terrestrial). We ask that all volunteers stay for a minimum of two weeks to provide ample time to train you in methodologies to help our local team.
Volunteer positions on Silba in 2021 are extremely limited, though we may open the centre earlier in the year based on interest. The Silba Island Research Centre will open in late summer on Saturday 21 August 2021 until Saturday 2 October 2021. If you are interested in volunteering in Spring 2021, please register your interest below. We will only open the centre in Spring if there is sufficient interest.
The expeditions start at Zadar airport at 12 PM on a Saturday and finish at the same point at 12 PM on Saturday. Transfers from the airport to and from the Silba Marine Research Centre are included. If you are traveling onto the Puljane Research Center, you will be taken back to Zadar on your final Saturday in time for the transfer to the Krka Valley.
You are responsible for booking your own flights to Zadar. There are low-cost airline flights to Zadar that coincide with the start times with Easyjet, Eurowings, Croatia Airlines, and Lufthansa all working for the Saturday meeting time, and others such as Ryanair can be organized to arrive on Friday and you can overnight near the airport before the transfer to Silba.
Before booking your flights please check that the quarantine requirements for Croatia for your nationality and departure country have been lifted by completing the questionnaire at https://entercroatia.mup.hr/. We will remind you of this requirement and any other changes prior to your travel.
Volunteers will be involved in many different work activities, including tasks that are not animal or wildlife related, but are essential to conservation efforts. Examples of activities may include: surveying underwater transects, replanting native species (including underwater), building trails, cleaning and decorating the research center, and beach/underwater cleanups.
All activities will be conducted alongside scientists and sustainable development experts working with Janolus to protect the ecosystems of the Adriatic Sea. Volunteers studying specific areas of interest may be able to select or focus on activities within their interest area, with priority given to those participating in longer stays. You may also add on dive certifications and courses to learn new skills while on site. Please see the bottom of this page for descriptions of these courses and select your interests on the booking form.
Specific activities cannot be guaranteed during any one volunteer’s stay as conservation management work depends on many uncontrollable factors such as weather, wildlife, and organizational needs. We will make our best efforts to balance engaging wildlife activities with more mundane tasks that are essential to advancing our conservation work. However, we ask that volunteers remain flexible and open-minded about the kinds of activities they are asked to do, keeping in mind our long-term goals for the island. There will also be opportunities for touristic visits to natural and cultural sites of importance, either alone or as part of the group.
You can review a detailed description of activities below:
Biodiversity monitoring & mapping – This research will include trips to various bays around the island to conduct underwater visual census (UVC) surveys by diving or snorkeling to view sea urchins, sea cucumber, seagrass meadows, and mollusks. Volunteers may be asked to count individuals along a specific transect or within a given area to determine density of populations. There will also be underwater and beach clean-ups for marine litter monitoring.
Underwater educational trail – This activity involves planning, mapping, and building an underwater trail so visitors can explore local biodiversity hotspots and understand the connections between humans and marine life. This trail helps local dive operators like Janolus highlight exciting species in the area, which are important to science and tourism.
Planting artificial reeds & seagrass – This activity creates additional fish and wildlife habitats around Silba Island, as well as developing best-practices for seagrass planting to be used in larger projects across the Adriatic Sea. Dive certified volunteers will join Janolus scientists and divers to ‘reforest’ areas of the seafloor with native species that support local fish populations.
Ex Situ Experiments – These experiments take place in a small outdoor laboratory that enables volunteers to test hypotheses about ecological behaviors, climate change, symbiosis, and species interactions. Volunteers may also be asked to produce reports or presentations on these findings, which can be shared with tourists or local stakeholders.
Sustainable Resource Use – Silba has only a few hundred year-round inhabitants but receives thousands of tourists each summer. This activity involves developing projects to solve problems in freshwater availability, waste management, and local food production. Interns staying on Silba for 4+ weeks may have the opportunity to test and implement their projects to help the Marine Centre minimize its environmental impact.
Community conservation workshops – Volunteers will work to organize an educational event in a local village to learn about local perspectives on conservation challenges. These workshops are an opportunity to educate local communities about the importance of marine and terrestrial biodiversity through interactive presentations or even content produced by interns.
Drywall Building – The Croatian tradition of drywall building is recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage. Volunteers will learn about this important activity and will help build traditional drywall structures on Silba to support sustainable community organizations on the island and build trails for tourists to explore the island.
Developing Tourism for the Marine Centre – The marine centre house is based on a beautiful piece of wooded land with numerous opportunities for low-impact tourism that could bring additional income for research projects. Interns may be asked to help clear and revitalize parts of this land to build a campsite for the centre. This project may also involve planting and building structures on the land around the centre to promote improved sustainability and biodiversity around the area.
How to Book: Please indicate the number of weeks, start date, and any additional courses in the form above. You must pay the flat deposit fee of €100 to hold your place. We will contact you with a full invoice once we receive your deposit confirmation. Discounts will be applied to bookings longer than two weeks.
The prices below include transfer from Zadar airport to Silba Island, all food and accommodation for the stay, diving and snorkeling both from shore and on the research boat for those that are dive qualified and participation in all the activities listed.
|Length in weeks||Cost per week in €||Total cost in €|
Each additional week will cost €490 per week for up to eight weeks. For longer stays, please send us an email directly.
**DIVE CERTIFICATION COSTS**
For more information on each of the dive courses, please click the links below. All dive courses lead to NAUI certification.
Open Water Certification – €330.50
Advanced Open Water Certification – €255
Rescue Diver Certification – €255