When an overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists agree that climate change is negatively affecting the planet, environmental conservation should be at the top of our “To Do” lists. And that’s exactly what this project is all about! València is home to a beautiful and incredibly important lake called Albufera. Volunteers on Environmental Conservation in Spain project will gear up in a pair of waders and help a team of dedicated scientists and conservationists improve the water quality of the lake by caring for the wetlands that flank much of its shores and provide a home to various wetland animals.
Environmental Conservation in Spain
València’s Albufera Natural Park is one of the most ecologically important areas in all of Spain. Its biodiversity and economic impact on the region are significant reasons to preserve this incredible collection of wetlands. It has been declared as a place of special protection by the European Union due to the wide range of wildlife; specifically water, wading, and migratory birds including several in danger of extinction. Albufera also supports intense agricultural (cultivation of rice), industrial, hunting, and touristic uses whose consequences have resulted in significant pollution and encroachment on the wildlife’s natural habitat.
The Environmental Conservation in Spain project focuses on helping the local teams with their recovery plan and park management & maintenance activities. Natural “green” filters were planted to clean the water of Lake Albufera to help improve water quality and promote growth of aquatic plant and animal life. Your days will be spent either in the water or along the trails that run through the park. You’ll be tasked with clearing waterways, eradicating invasive plants, picking up rubbish, planting various plants to increase biodiversity, and assisting with research tasks performed by the local teams.
Room & Board
The Environmental Conservation in Spain project is based out of shared volunteer apartments in València. The apartments are self-catering, so all meals are the responsibility of the volunteer and at their expense (not included in the project fee).
- Private room with shared bathroom (shared room available to volunteers traveling together)
- Fully-furnished with a well-equipped kitchen and very good WiFi
- Located near public transportation and various shops & restaurants
- Close to the beach (Mediterranean Sea), football (soccer) stadium, museums, and other entertainment
As with all GOAT Volunteer projects, there are 2 primary fees associated with volunteering: the application fee paid to GOAT and the project fee paid directly to the NGO after they accept your application.
|Additional Weeks (each)||€205|
Included: Airport arrival transport • Pre-departure information • In-country orientation, training and coordination • Private room in a shared, self-catering apartment • 24/7 emergency phone
NOT Included: Meals • Flights • Visas (if necessary) • Travel insurance • Local transport • Return airport transfer • Personal expenses • Bank/wire transfer fees
All projects incur a $250 application fee. Please see the The Fine Print page for more information.
Volunteers participating in all projects in Spain have the opportunity to take add-on Spanish language lessons. Click the button below for more information.
Scheduled Start Dates
Start dates for the Environmental Conservation project are as follows:
|January||12 & 26|
|February||9 & 23|
|March||8 & 22|
|April||5 & 26|
|May||20 & 24|
|June||7 & 21|
|July||5 & 19|
|August||2 & 16|
|September||6 & 20|
|October||4 & 18|
|November||1, 5, & 29|
Placements are not available for this project during the months of August & December.
Special Considerations | Environmental Conservation in Spain
For special considerations regarding projects in Spain, please visit the Spain page.
Volunteers participating in the environmental conservation project must be fit and physically capable of working in an open environment.
This project requires volunteers to have at least a basic level of Spanish. For individuals interested in improving their Spanish language skills, classes are available outside of volunteering hours. Please see the Spanish Lessons page for details and pricing.
A Volunteer’s Perspective *Featured Project*
The two months I spent in volunteering on the Environmental Conservation in Spain project in early 2017 (April & May), were some of my most enjoyable of the year. València is my version of a great city; not too big, full of life, close to the sea & mountains, incredible food, relatively inexpensive, and simply beautiful. But the people here are what make it so incredible. Valencians are friendly, generous, and joyful people who make you feel welcome from the first meeting. The teams I worked with on the environmental conservation project were, in my opinion, some of the best València has to offer. Their passion for preserving and helping the wetlands is as obvious as Spanish wine is delicious!
The work we performed varied by day and the impact was easy to observe. Whether it was clearing waterways to promote steady water flow, cleaning up rubbish from along the roadside, or clearing large reeds from around the smaller plants to ensure they got enough sunlight; we could always see the products of our labor. We worked in two primary locations, so we got to see more of the park as well as work with different teams on various tasks.
As I want all potential volunteers to have an unfiltered, honest impression of volunteering on projects with our NGO partner, I’m sharing some highlights, challenges, surprises, and frustrations I experienced during my time in Spain:
Highlight: The most exciting moment of the project was on our short boat excursion on Lake Albufera. The local team explained that the lake was polluted for years by local factories resulting in algae flourishing and overwhelming the lake. This negatively affects the plants and aquatic life because the algae absorbs more oxygen than it produces. On our mini-cruise, the team saw a species of aquatic plant floating in the lake that they hadn’t seen in over ten years! This was proof that the work they are doing to improve the water quality of the lake is working!
Challenge: Getting used to “siesta”. It may sound silly, but when you finish working at 2 PM and want to go to the market for groceries or shopping in a store; you can’t! They’re all closed from 2-5 PM.
Surprise: The amount of activities we’re able to participate in due to our NGO partner’s relationship with a local language school. They have a calendar of activities that has something going on essentially every day of the week. Paella cookouts, wine tastings, tapas dinners, salsa lessons, beach volleyball games , and so much more. It truly makes for an action-packed experience! Also, València has some exceptional craft beer breweries (check out Zeta Brewing)!
Frustration: Leaving. I had such an incredible time in València that I didn’t want to leave. I really didn’t have any frustrations with this experience. The people were incredible, the food and wine (and beer) was delicious, and the city & park surrounding it were some of my favorite to date. This is a city and project I’ll absolutely be returning to in the future.