Important Topics for Volunteers

1. How the Center includes volunteers in its work

2. Designing projects that benefit the Center and its volunteers

3. Where volunteers work

4. Volunteer Acknowledgements

1. How the Center includes volunteers in its work

The core of the Center’s mission is to increase understanding of the ecology of the Amazon region and help empower traditional peoples to strengthen their communities and stewardship of this biologically rich region. This spirit of empowerment is also embedded in our philosophy about the role of volunteers in our organization. People who give their time to help Center activities will be treated with respect, encouraged to learn, and asked to take on the most responsible tasks for which they are ready and willing. We are most interested in building partnerships with volunteers who can carry out an ongoing service or make a significant contribution to a major project.

We want every volunteer to know they are making a real contribution to rainforest conservation and improving the lives of its people. Volunteers and the organization should be confident that the time both are investing in the relationship is productive and positive. Our goal is to have volunteers carry out tasks that best match the needs of the Center with the volunteer’s time, interests, abilities, and commitment to the organization. We also want volunteers to learn, develop friendships and have fun. If you are interested in volunteering with the Center, please fill out and send us a Volunteer Application to tell us something about yourself and your interests.

2. Designing projects that benefit the Center and its volunteers

The first step for someone to get involved with the Center is to fill out a volunteer application. This will help us learn something about the prospective volunteer’s background, interests and reasons for getting involved. One of the Center’s directors will review the application and contact the person to discuss specific volunteer tasks. These can be structured to produce a report or presentation for a course, internship for a department, independent study, thesis project, academic publication, community service requirement, or project for an organization.

A Center leader will provide orientation, supervision and regular check-ins for every volunteer. The supervisor will also be available to write letters of recommendation, serve as a job reference, or prepare certificates of community service for regular volunteers. Regular volunteers will also be recognized in the Center newsletter, website and end of year party. Since Center leaders will invest a significant amount of time to help volunteers get the most out of their service, the Center expects volunteers will honor their commitment to carry out agreed upon tasks.

3. Where volunteers work

The location for volunteer work for the Center will vary depending on the needs and circumstances of the project and volunteer. Many activities can be carried out from a computer at the volunteer’s home, school or office. Some projects will require spending time at the Center’s office near Penn State University in State College, PA. We have other volunteers based in places as far away as Bellingham, WA and Cuzco, Peru. We have a special program for volunteers who wish to join the Center in the field called Amazon Field Volunteers.

If you are interested in joining the Center as a volunteer, please fill out and send in the Volunteer Application. We will contact you promptly to discuss a potential volunteer project. Thank you for your interest in the Center and our work to promote Amazon conservation and support traditional peoples.

4. Volunteer Acknowledgements

The Center wishes to thank many people who have helped the Center with their time and skills.  We gratefully acknowledge all of the people who serve on our Board of Directors and Advisory Board. We also wish to thank other people for their volunteer service to the Center.

Rayna Glick – Rayna is a counselor based in State College, PA. While traveling to Iquitos, Peru to attend a conference on shamanistic healing, she agreed to carry and deliver a heavy duffle bag of wire mesh and supplies to one of our research associates in Iquitos.

Hal Doren – Hal is a volunteer with the non-profit SCORE small business counseling organization in State College, PA who provided valuable advice about starting a non-profit organization and preparing a business plan.

John Hatten – John is owner of Kulshan Computer Services in Bellingham, WA. He has provided computer troubleshooting to the Center since its beginning.

Luz Azpilcueta – Luz is a biologist and Spanish teacher at the Academia Latinoamericana de Español in Cuzco, Peru. She is helping to translate materials from English to Spanish for our CECAMA website and outreach materials.

Ann Wilken – Ann is an accountant with S&A Homes in State College, PA. She has provided valuable consulting services to the Center to establish a bookkeeping system.

Maria-Teresa Grinneby – Maria-Teresa is a pre-law student at Penn State University in State College, PA and founder/sole proprietor of the EG Sites website design and hosting company. She played a key role in designing, maintaining and initialing hosting the Center’s website.

Vanessa Baker – Vanessa is a graduate from Penn State University’s journalism program. She did a journalism internship with the Center to help design and write articles for the Center newsletter Amazon Connections.  See more about Vanessa in Center Intern Profiles.

Stephen Tuttle - Stephen is a scultor, musician and web designer who works for Penn State University.  He has greatly assisted the development of this website in 2007.

Marissa Plowden - Marissa is student at State College Area High School in State College, PA.  She was an Amazon Field Volunteer with the Center in Peru during the summers of 2006 and 2007 where she volunteered at the health clinic in Jenaro Herrea and helped the Copal Ecology Research Project with data entry and other computer skills.  See her essays describing these experiences at Marissa's Amazon Memories.