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Review for Conservation Volunteers International Program, Inc., Orinda, CA, USA

Rating: 4 stars  

CVIP’s mission is to bring small groups of volunteers to work alongside park personnelto conserve natural and cultural resources in places like Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, and in Machu Picchu Sanctuary in Peru. In addition to trail restoration, volunteers at Machu Picchu work to clean the extensive stone walls and terraces of lichens, mosses, and grout-crumbling weeds. The Sanctuary is woefully understaffed to handle this work on its own. We spent five days scraping lichens and moss off the building and terrace walls and pulling weeds from the mortar between stones to slow the deterioration of this magnificent edifice. The tools are nothing more than wooden sticks and brushes. The work is tedious but the psychological and emotional rewards are tremendous. On a personal level, as I scraped and brushed smooth the rock, I couldn’t help thinking about the Inca hands that formed these walls half a millennium ago, and the sophisticated civilization that conceived of this fantastic place. At the end of the day, after all the other visitors had been bused back down the mountain, we volunteers were led on a private tour of the Sacred City. This is a much richer archeological and cultural experience than a half day visit with a tour group.

Would you volunteer for this group again?


For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?


When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Volunteer