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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Holidays: Please note that the month of October contains several holidays that may affect your trip. Expect to have a half day off of work on the 11th, 16th and 23rd of October, and a full day off of work on the 12th, 17th and 24th.
Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:
- 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
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.
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 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)