Volunteer Placement: Sustainable Wildlife Management and Development in Krka National Park

14+ days
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Description

Project Summary

Welcome to Croatia, one of Europe’s top tourist destinations for nature and culture. Join us to escape Croatia’s crowded tourist track and help protect the hidden treasures within and around Krka National Park. We work with volunteers like you to develop sustainable businesses in areas of high biodiversity to support conservation efforts by local NGOs and communities. 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 along the stunning Krka River, our volunteers will work with a local organization called Biota to develop sustainable tourism that protects unique European wildlife and ecosystems. Biota has recently purchased a traditional home in the village of Puljane, tucked into the hillsides of Croatia’s Promina region, which is also home to the world-famous Krka National Park. 

While Krka draws millions of tourists every year, the surrounding areas – which are home to wolves, foxes, and deer, as well as endemic fish and herps – receive only minimal visitor income. Biota works hard to monitor and protect these areas and it is our goal to support their work by building out wildlife tourism in the area that incentivizes further conservation efforts around the park. 

Programs in Krka run for 2-8 weeks and can be combined with work experience opportunities at our Silba site (marine) in Croatia or the Angofa Wildlife Centre (terrestrial) in Romania. Start dates begin every Saturday and end on the following Saturday. Your fees include a transfer to and from the airport in Zadar. Please see the ITINERARY tab above for a detailed description of dates, accommodation, and other logistical details. 

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: wildlife monitoring techniques, learning to set up a social enterprise, replanting native species, building trails and drywalls, and clearing invasive plants. 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.

**We also offer numerous certificate courses to build your conservation skills, which can be found in the PRICING tab**

How to Book

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.

Accommodation

All volunteers will be based at the Puljane Centre, located along the beautiful Krka River. You will be provided with shared bunk-style accommodation with other volunteers. The center has indoor showers, flushing toilets, electricity, and WiFi, as well as a full kitchen. Volunteers are expected to help with cooking and participate in daily cleaning of the camp.

Please note that our camp is in a very rural area, with a small town called Oklaj around 30 minutes away by car. While you may participate in activities near tourist attractions and in nearby villages throughout your stay, 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!

Important: Covid-19 Statement

We are constantly analyzing the Covid-19 situation on the ground in Croatia with the help of our local partners. We strongly encourage our participants not to purchase any flights prior to confirmation that they will be able to arrive in Croatia without being required to quarantine for 14 days.

If quarantine is still required for visitors to Croatia on your start date, we will enable you to change your start date free of charge within 24 months of your original booking. Please keep track of any changes to quarantine measures approaching your start date and contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

The Krka site is in a rural area, located on a large piece of isolated land in the Promina region. Participants will be accommodated in tents to promote social distancing and will be provided with facilities for proper hygiene, including running water at their accommodations. The base camp will be cleaned and ventilated several times per week to avoid contagion risk and most group activities will be performed outdoors.

Itinerary

You may choose to volunteer in Krka for anywhere between 2-8 weeks. 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. You can combine your volunteership in Krka with opportunities at our Silba site (marine) in Croatia or the Angofa Wildlife Centre (terrestrial) in Romania. 

The Puljane Research Center is open from Saturday 3 April 2021 and will close again on Saturday 5 June 2021 in time to prepare for the Opwall research program. The Centre re-opens in late summer on Saturday 21 August 2021 until Saturday 30 October 2021.

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 Puljane Research Centre in the Krka Valley are included.  If you are traveling onto Silba Island afterward your transfer will connect and will be included in your final invoice price.

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 Krka.

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.

Activities

Activities

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: wildlife monitoring techniques, learning to set up a social enterprise, replanting native species, building trails and drywalls, and clearing invasive plants. 

All activities will be conducted alongside scientists and sustainable development experts working with Biota to protect the ecosystems of the Promina region. 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 intensive courses that deepen your knowledge in a specific subject area. 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 region. 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:

Monitoring Wildlife

Biodiversity hotspot mapping – We will use existing data to determine prime ‘hotspots’ for viewing wildlife in beautiful scenery, which can be used to promote tourism and conservation projects. You will be taught to use mapping software to produce attractive content to share with visitors and scientists alike.

Wildlife interpretive trails – We have begun a project to create feeding spots for butterflies along tourist trails with access to a free digital guide to the region’s butterflies. Volunteers may contribute to increasing the reach of this project or developing similar trails for additional charismatic species.

Camera trapping and tracking – Camera traps are placed within the forest and along paths where they can be automatically triggered by any movement in front of them, like an animal walking by. The photos we capture allow tourists to get a better understanding of the wildlife living in the area without causing these animals stress. Camera trapping is a high-demand skill in conservation research and management.

Community ecology 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 biodiversity through interactive presentations or even content produced by interns. Volunteers may also train locals how to monitor certain species through citizen science techniques or set up conservation activities such as a rural waste cleanup or reforestation project.

Study of native plants – Volunteers will help gather traditional wild and cultivated herbs to learn about herbal remedies from Dalmatian tradition. Some of these herbs can be used in food, crafts, drinks, and medication.

Green Construction

croatia drywall

Traditional 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 in Krka to support local sustainable community organizations and protect this art form.

Building Walking Paths – This beautiful region is crisscrossed with abandoned walking paths traditionally used by farmers to check on livestock and crops. Volunteers will help clear and map these paths to create accessible wildlife viewing areas for visitors to this region.

Chillatorium Building – A trendy practice in Croatia is to build ‘chillatoriums,’ nature classrooms that are built with recycled and natural materials to blend with their surroundings. Volunteers will learn how to think creatively to build these installations using natural shapes, materials, and tools, and may help open a site to welcome community discussions about wildlife and nature conservation.

Croatian Traditions

Village Walks – Guided explorations of surrounding villages will teach volunteers about traditional livelihoods, architecture, and agricultural practices that have maintained Croatia’s beautiful biodiversity for hundreds of years. These walks are an opportunity to learn from the wisdom of locals and implement appropriate strategies for conservation that will be accepted by the communities surrounding the area.

Fortresses of Promina – These 14th-century fortresses are a short drive from the base camp and reflect the ancient Croat history of the region. The surrounding areas are beautiful and will teach volunteers about the cultural history of Croatia and how it impacts government and development today.

Traditional olive/grape cultivation – Grapes and olives have been cultivated in this Mediterranean region for hundreds of years, leading to unique varieties only found in Croatia. Volunteers may help collect and process grapes and olives for wine and olive oil in September – November, learning about traditional processes still used to create these delicacies.

Pricing

Pricing

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. Information on certificate courses can be found below our 2021 pricing.

2021 Pricing

Note: the price listed in the booking form is not necessarily the weekly price of your trip. You will be directed to pay a flat deposit fee (€100) via our website and will later receive an invoice to your email that corresponds to the pricing below. Discounts on the quoted weekly rate will apply for longer stays, as shown below.

Length in weeks Cost per week in € Total cost in €
2 510 1020
3 485 1455
4 465 1860

Each additional week will cost €420 for up to eight weeks. For longer stays, please send us an email directly.

Build Your Skills with Certification Courses

Aquaponic Systems (€115): Learn to grow your own food from scratch using a low-impact aquaponics system. You will leave the course knowing how to set up, maintain, and monitor your own aquaponics system so you can grow your own sustainable produce at home! You will also receive a certificate of participation from the course to share with future employers.

Course Duration: 19 hours (4h lectures + 15h practical)

GIS Certification Course (€287.50): Learn how to gather and analyze data in real situations in the field using GIS software, one of the top skills employers look for in the conservation field. You will receive a certificate at the end of this course from one of our team members certified by ESRI ArcGIS.

Course duration: 16 hours (8h lectures + 8h field practicals)

Sustainable Development Course (€287.50): This course will teach you how to ideate, develop, and implement a social impact project through hands-on modules. You do not need a project idea to participate in this course; bring your own project or use one of the themes or ideas from our modules to inspire your project.

The skills learned in this course include grant-seeking, budget preparation, ideation, problem-solving, and project management to help you launch a career as an entrepreneur, nonprofit worker, or scientist (or anything else!). At the end of the course, we will also help you apply for relevant project support or positions.

Course Duration: Course is integrated into your activities throughout your stay to culminate in a final project.

Price:510.00

Book the tour

Optional Course Add-ons

Sustainable Development Course (287.50)

Aquaponics Course (115.00)

GIS Training (287.50)

 Number ticket  × 510.00
Total = 1,020.00
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