Israel - Mountain Eco Lodge
Volunteer at the breathtaking Nimrod Eco Lodge on the scenic slopes of Mt. Hermon. Help construct and maintain sustainable buildings, explore experimental bio-farming, take in the awe-inspiring scenery and visit the ancient ruins of Nimrod Fortress.
|Location of Project||Nimrod, Mt. Hermon|
|Project Length||Min 2 weeks - Max 8 weeks|
|Arrival Airport||Ben Gurion, Tel Aviv|
|Volunteer Work||Sustainable building, experimental bio-farming, hosting guests|
|Number of Participants||1 - 5 international volunteers|
|Age||18 - 50|
|Accommodation||Cabin dorm for 6 people|
|Food||Provisions for cooking|
|Support||Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support|
|Orientation||GoEco volunteer and travel orientation in Jerusalem|
|Pre-Departure Kit||Full project details will be sent following registration|
|Health Insurance||Comprehensive health insurance for volunteering in Israel|
What's Not Included
Nimrod is a small Israeli town in the Golan Heights on the southern slopes of Mount Hermon. It is a cooperative agricultural community and the highest town in Israel at 1,110 meters (3,642 ft) above sea level. Nimrod is located approximately 4 hours north of Tel Aviv. The location is quite isolated from other towns; the nearest community is a modern Druze village about a half hour walk from the project site. If you enjoy fresh, clean air, breathtaking views, and an easy, quiet way of life, this spectacular location is perfect for you.
About the Project
Situated on one of the highest peaks in Israel, the Nimrod Mountain Eco Lodge is an impressive center for eco-tourism and experimental bio-farming. The lodge sets an example of modern sustainable living on the rugged Golan Heights using down to earth techniques such as grey water systems, construction from recycled materials, natural insulation, and eco-farming. The lodge works with government organizations to help renew forests while simultaneously implementing ecologically beneficial programs into the local community by working with both orchid owners and farmers to create ecological solutions for the recycling of wood.
The Lodge is in the process of creating a living and working eco community for people with special needs, there is an opportunity to work with a disabled child throughout the project. There is guidance and training provided for this component.
Orientation in Jerusalem
Your volunteer adventure will start off with a GoEco orientation at a fantastic hostel in the center of Jerusalem. The orientation is a great base to meet fellow volunteers / travelers and includes the following:
- Volunteer preparation and travel directions to the program
- Expert advice for traveling in Israel during and after your volunteer placement
- Walking tour of Jerusalem, including the Old City and the famous Machane Yehuda market
- Discount card to experience Jerusalem's vibrant nightlife
- 1 night dorm accommodation and breakfast (private rooms available for extra price)
The GoEco orientation will begin at 10:00 AM on arrival day. The next morning, you will travel to your project with public transportation. Full travel details to Jerusalem and your project will be provided upon registration.
Volunteer Work and Contribution
The Mountain Eco Lodge program has two main components: sustainable construction and bio-farming. You may choose to focus on just one aspect or a combination of the two.
Eco building with wood: You will be physically challenged with the rewarding experience of building structures from the ground up. You will work with a professional carpenter and discover just how much is possible when pushing architectural boundaries. You will gain carpentry skills while working in the wood shop and you can also bring your DIY (do-it-yourself) knowledge to the project.
Eco gardening: You can also work in the eco garden which is using advanced techniques to farm high quality, organic produce. Tending to the plants, trees and vegetables will be quite fulfilling when you taste the fruits of your labor.
Community initiatives: The lodge also assists local orchids with disposal of ‘dead’ wood by chopping it down and distributing it to both the lodge and surrounding communities for fire-wood. This is a great ecological solution for the disposal of this wood so that instead of going to waste, it can be reused in an eco-friendly manner. The lodge also works to help build eco structures for the farmers and surrounding communities. This helps create awareness and spread the message of the importance and accessibility of eco-building.
Additionally, the lodge has campgrounds which need to be maintained and kept clean for guests that choose to camp.
You are invited and encouraged to bring your own special skills to the project. There is plenty of room for innovation, so whether you have a special trade skill, or know about web design, yoga, painting, botany, or virtually anything else, there is room at the eco lodge for you to add your own personal touch to the program.
A typical day: After you have breakfast, you will head to the wood shop and start working on cutting up wood or using wood to start building structures. You will have a lunch break and then continue working in the wood shop or garden before finishing for the day and cooking dinner.
You are expected to work 30 - 35 hours, 5 - 6 days a week.
*Please note that volunteer activities and schedules can change at any time based on the needs of the project.
The following dates in 2014 are Israeli holidays and therefore some of your work will revolve hosting tourist if the lodge is full: April 13-23, June 3-8, September 24-October 19, and December 17-24.
Due to the high altitude, the temperatures can get quite cold in the winter months (November to March) and you should expect snow and mist during these times.
Accommodations: You will stay in a comfortable, two-story cabin which has space for 6 people. On the first floor there are 3 beds as well as the bathroom with hot running water for showers and fully equipped kitchen. The second floor, which is a loft, can accommodate 1 or 2 people and is ideal for a couple volunteering together.
Food: Provisions will be provided for cooking.
Internet: You can use the shared computer for emails.
Laundry: There is a washing machine available for your use.
In the local area, you can visit the ancient ruins of the Nimrod Fortress which dates back to the Crusaders era. Beautiful national parks in this region include the Banias Waterfall, Tel Dan Nature Reserve and Mt. Hermon, which has skiing during January - March. The mountain villages of Majdal Shams and Mas'ade offers a unique insight to Druze culture and cuisine. Venturing outside of the northern part of Israel, popular places to visit include the Dead Sea, Eilat, Tel Aviv and the Negev Desert which has a variety of interesting activities.
- Min age 18 - Max age 50
- Conversational English or Hebrew
- Good physical fitness
- Strong work ethic
- Motivation to do physical and demanding work
- Full travel & medical insurance
There is a high chance that you could be the only volunteer at the project or with just one other volunteer. You will need to be the type of person that is highly independent and ready to work hard. There is limited interaction with those outside of the project. This project is ideal for those who want to learn about eco construction, carpentry and farming. You will be involved in physically challenging yet rewarding tasks and should be prepared for such work.
Here's an excerpt of Charlaine's experience:
Check out our Volunteer Blog at blog.goeco.org
"I had a kitchen garden to weed and seed. I asked innumerable questions on what this family does to grow vegetables without having to use a lot of chemical fertilizers and insecticides. I did get help in learning how to transplant very young, tender seedlings. I picked fresh cherries from the orchards and enjoyed eating them daily. The hikes to the nearby villages was fantastic for exercise and views. I met Arab Drews and Israeli jews and learned a lot about peaceful coexistence and the warm hospitality of this northern mountain community." Vasudha, Israel, 2011
"Overall, the trip was absolutely amazing and I wish I was still in Israel on the program. GoEco was a breeze to sign up with, and unlike other international volunteer organizations, they do not make you feel like you are being ripped off, scammed, or getting yourself involved in a dangerous experience. The program I chose, the Mountain Eco Lodge, was absolutely amazing! The family we lived with was beyond welcoming, caring, understanding, and just amazing people who love having a good time. The work was tough sometimes but knowing you are doing something good for the earth and yourself makes every bit worth it. Lifting your chin up and seeing the breathtaking views at all angles is by far the best part. It was a dream to live on top of a mountain for a few weeks working with the land. A great experience that I would recommend to the world. " Jesse, Canada, 2011