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As part of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (NPA), the wildlife reserve’s mission is to protect endangered desert animal populations, preserve the native wildlife, and educate the public about the desert and its inhabitants. This unique area encompasses a variety of arid terrains, including acacia groves, salt-flats, and sand. The reserve features a three-acre penned-in area for herbivores to roam in conditions similar to the wild. In addition, visitors can make their way to the Predators Center, with an impressive array of reptiles, small desert animals, and large predators, and the Desert Night Life Exhibition Hall to observe nocturnal animals during their active hours.

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Location of the Project:  Arava Desert, 50km north of Eilat, Israel
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Project length:  Minimum 2 weeks - Maximum 12 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion
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Volunteer Work:  Feeding animals and cleaning habitats, maintenance, observations and data collection
Age:  18 - 45 Age Exceptions: This project will consider applications from volunteers over the age of 45 with medical clearance
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 8 international volunteers

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared apartment on the reserve
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Insurance:  Comprehensive health insurance for volunteering in Israel
Orientation:  Upon arrival, you will receive an orientation in Jerusalem complete with a walking tour of the Old City and its historic sites, shopping in the open market, and indispensable advice about the local culture and customs.
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Support:  Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, food (budget around $80 per week), airport transfer to Jerusalem (budget around $20), return public transportation from project (budget around $20), personal expenses.

The Negev is a desert region that covers the southern half of Israel. The least populated area in Israel, it is home to a wide variety of people such as the nomadic desert people known as the Bedouin as well as unique Israeli wildlife. The wildlife reserve is located in the dramatically scenic Arava Valley, which is part of the Negev. 

During the project, you will become an integral part of the staff at the wildlife reserve. Your duties may include the following:

  • Preparing food and feeding animals
  • Cleaning and maintaining reserve facilities
  • Accompanying & assisting park rangers
  • Constructing enrichment facilities
A typical day: Your volunteer day will start around 7am as you prepare food for the animals and ensure that each is fed appropriately. Afterwards, you will work on a special project which could range from a game drive through the park to maintenance on an enclosure. Your work day will finish around 2pm at which point you will be taken back to the volunteer house for some rest and relaxation.Fridays and Saturdays are free days.

Internet
Internet:  WiFi is available at the volunteer house.
Laundry
Laundry:  A washing machine is available at the volunteer house.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  You will stay in a basic house on the reserve grounds in shared, single sex rooms with 2 bunk-beds and a big closet. There is a shared bathroom with a hot water boiler and both the bedrooms and living room are equipped with air-conditioning. The house has a fridge and fully functioning kitchen plus a TV, computer and WiFi for your use. There is also filtered water at the house and a washing machine. Please note: The reserve and accommodations are located a 45 minute walk from the nearest bus stop. Occasionally, rangers and park employees can give you a lift to the bus stop but you should not expect this on a regular basis. The reserve is quite isolated so you will be spending a lot of your free time with the rangers and other volunteers. However, there is an opportunity for you to go with the staff to Eilat every Sunday where you can shop tax-free and buy your groceries.
Food:  You will have the chance to go grocery shopping once a week and cook for yourself in the kitchen of the volunteer house. There is also a kiosk to buy snacks on the reserve (budget around $80 per week for food). A small stipend for groceries is provided, but please keep in mind that this is supplemental and will not cover the full cost of your meals.

Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:

  • Min age 18 - Max age 50
  • Volunteers 40+ must provide medical clearance
  • High level of independence
  • Basic English
  • Good physical fitness
  • Motivation to work with animals
  • Able to handle extreme heat from June - September

The international beach resort of Eilat is only 50 kilometers away (price to / from Eilat by bus is about $5), if volunteers want to enjoy some snorkeling, go to an internet cafe, or enjoy the vibrant night life.  For those that want to see the rest of the country, it is easy to use public transportation and explore Tel Aviv or the north of Israel and no trip would be complete without a mud bath and float in the Dead Sea. 

 Orientation in Jerusalem (included):
Your volunteer adventure will start off with a GoEco orientation at a fantastic hostel in the center of Jerusalem. The orientation is a great way to meet fellow volunteers and travelers from around the world 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 10:30 AM on arrival day. The next morning, you will travel to your volunteer project with public transportation. Full travel details to Jerusalem and the project will be provided upon registration.

Volunteer Experiences
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