Rewilding the Central Apennines requires a huge amount of effort, and many human resources. Thankfully we can count on the precious work of volunteers who come from around the world to participate in nature conservation actions implemented by Rewilding Apennines and our partner Salviamo l’Orso.
In 2021 and 2022, between 60 and 75 international volunteers and students were active in the Central Apennines. Acting as “bear ambassadors“, they were responsible for a wide range of highly important tasks across five wildlife corridors. These included barbed wire removal, setting up warning reflectors and road signs to prevent bear-related traffic accidents, communications work, the installation of camera traps, and wildlife monitoring.
Rewilding Apennines is looking for committed volunteers, students and Erasmus Plus trainees to play a key role in rewilding.
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Volunteering Programme Information
Keystone species conservation
Focus on the Marsican brown bear
You will be involved in actions linked to the creation of Bear Smart Communities (BSCs) in the home range of the Marsican brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus, Altobello 1921). This is an ambitious long-term initiative and we rely on your commitment, skills and abilities to achieve the complex goals of human-wildlife coexistence.
Important actions will also be performed in relation to Griffon vultures, Apennine wolf, and wildcat.
The general programme may vary according to the season, the weather conditions and locations. We may also need to arrange agreements with local institutions – especially nature reserves and national parks – regarding some specific activities, which could cause changes in the schedule.
You can consider joining us in the period 1stFebruary – 15thDecember. We recommend volunteers/students to arrive around the first day of the month. If you have specific requirements do not hesitate to enquire.
Please contact us to make arrangements regarding the date of your arrival.
Be comfortable with walking/hiking in the mountains.
Be comfortable with working and living with other volunteers.
Have a valid tetanus vaccination.
Your time is a valuable resource and we will ensure you will have a varied and fulfilling range of activities.
Scientific research and monitoring activities:
Camera trap management (systematic and random wildlife monitoring)
Study of man-bear relationship
Monitor wildlife species in the study areas (Marsican bear, Apennine wolf, wildcat, griffon vultures etc.), using the Earth Ranger app
Construction and maintenance of electric fences
Set-up wildlife warning reflectors, road signs and delineators for road ecology purposes
Clear underpasses for road ecology purposes
Remove waste from natural environments
Remove barbed wire from the natural environment
Check the efficiency of bear-proof waste bins
Prune wild or unused fruit trees to increase food sources for bears and other species far from the villages
Write or review articles for the organisation’s communication
Support for organisation of public events and fundraising initiatives
Support in content writing on social media regarding traineeship activities
Sharing stories from the field with your own photos and videos
Support in carrying out a Landscape Business Plan
Offer assistance in any fundraising initiatives
Help to find any potential sponsors or funding opportunities
Education / Learning By Doing:
Advance wildlife monitoring techniques (camera trap setting and management; direct wildlife observation with binoculars or spotting scopes; identification of signs of presence of wildlife and collection for genetic analysis etc.)
GPS elementary course
Other basic courses depending on time and availability
Weekly report: at the end of every week, the volunteer/student will report the actions performed and their effectiveness to the volunteer supervisor.
Scientific research: the volunteer/student will produce a scientific-based final report about a specific issue related to the conservation of bears or other wildlife species or their habitat, if required by the sending institution.
Knowledge, skills and competences
At the end of your traineeship it is expected you will have acquired the following learning outcomes.
Knowledge of the best practices for living in wildlife areas (especially in mitigating human-large carnivore conflicts)
Skills and competences in wildlife monitoring
Knowledge, skills and competences in the installation of electric fences and maintenance
Skills and competences in the use of GPS
Road ecology techniques for the mitigation of wildlife-vehicle collisions
Skills and competences in data collection and processing
Skills and competences in dissemination of bear smart communities’ best practices
Skills in the organisation of events and activities to raise local people’s environmental awareness
Skills and competences in the identification of botanical and faunal species
Knowledge of (basic) Italian language, culture and traditions
The map shows the rewilding landscape and the coexistence corridors for the Marsican brown bear.
As a volunteer, student or intern you will be staying in one of the three towns highlighted on the map: Ortona dei Marsi, Gioia dei Marsi or Pettorano sul Gizio. Generally you will take part in activities in all areas, with some variations.
Ortona dei Marsi
The activities will mainly take place inside the bear’s core range, in particular at the border with the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park and its buffer zone (ZPE) in the municipalities that are part of the Marsica region and in the Sirente Velino Regional Park.
Ortona dei Marsi is an antique town, well known for it’s apples, honey and numerous mountain paths.
Gioia dei Marsi
Casali d’Aschi is a hamlet in the municipality of Gioia dei Marsi: it is close to the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park and to one of the best viewing-spots for seeing bears in the region.
It is also located in the wildlife corridor connecting the National Park to the Simbruini Mountains National Park.
Pettorano sul Gizio
The programme will also take place in this part of the bear’s core range, and especially in the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) IT7110100 (5,805 ha). Several activities will be carried out as a collaboration with the Monte Genzana Alto Gizio Regional Nature Reserve.
The town of Pettorano is located inside the Regional Reserve itself.
Hiking in the region
Hikes will be organised to better familiarize yourself with the landscape and biodiversity of the Central Apennines. These can take place in the following protected areas:
Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park
Maiella National Park
Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park
Sirente Velino Regional Park
Monte Genzana Alto Gizio Nature Reserve
Montagne della Duchessa Nature Reserve
Abetina di Rosello Nature Reserve
Zompo Lo Schioppo Nature Reserve
Equipment from Rewilding Apennines
To ensure the quality and safety of your work we will provide you with equipment. Please treat it with care and return it (except for stickers and T-shirts) to us at the end of the traineeship in the original conditions.
First aid equipment
Working gloves and other personal protective equipment
Reflective vests for road ecology interventions
Rewilding Apennines stickers and T-shirt
Equipment to bring with you from home
A pair of strong trekking shoes,
Protecve cream (you can buy it also on the spot)
Warm clothes for the evening
Fleece sweatshirt and a heavy jacket for wildlife observation at dawn/sunset
It would be wonderful if you had a GPS programme on your mobile. You can bring also a compass,
even though we will make sure that you do not get lost, do not worry.
Electricity supply in Italy is 220 volts with 3 pin wall sockets. You may need adapters.
Volunteer protocol for creative content creation
There is so much to explore and communicate about in this biodiversity hotspot where people and nature try to live side-by-side. Every location you visit, be it in nature or in a local community, is precious and needs to be treated with respect and with awareness.
Either if you create your own project for university, your own company or other media purposes, adhering to the following is essential for a fruitful collaboration.
If you are a videographer, photographer or other content producer, please follow this series of guidelines to ensure the due respect is shown to habitats, animals, culture and people, the confidentiality of sensitive data is guarded and the vision of Rewilding Apennines is a guiding principle in your creative process.
Costs and accommodation availability
A 300 € a month fee per volunteer will cover costs including accommodation in guesthouses (heating, Wi-Fi, power and water consumption expenditures included), tutoring and Italian incident and public liability insurance. It would be desirable for you to also have an insurance from your country of residence.
You can deposit the 40 € place-holder* by using:
PayPal or a credit/debit card.
You can make a bank transfer to:
Rewilding Apennines ETS
Via San Giorgio, 5 – 67055 Gioia dei Marsi (AQ)
IBAN: IT 78M0306909606100000169066
BANCA INTESA SAN PAOLO
When you make a payment please write in the description your name and
*Cancellation policy: this deposit will be returned to you in case you cancel your trip at least 20 days before the arrival date.
How to confirm your stay
1. Talk with our team to confirm date availability
Contact us at email@example.com to check date availability and arrange a meeting with the volunteer coordinator.
Once the dates are confirmed you can proceed to the next step.
2. Advance payment
If you want us to reserve a place for you in the programme, you should make a non-refundable advance payment of €40. This amount will then be subtracted to the total fee that you owe for your internship/volunteering experience.
The advance is a way for the organisation to avoid last minute cancellations, that take up slots which could be allowed to other volunteers. More details on how to make payment in the section above.
3. Send an email with the proof of payment
Save a proof of your payment and send it to us by email to confirm your place.
Make sure you confirm your place on time, as we might receive requests by other volunteers.
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with Rewilding Apennines’ contact person and begin your rewilding journey as a volunteer!
We look forward to seeing you in the Central Apennines!
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