Let us introduce a unique volunteer program of the 21st century with active participation on Green-Life Project in the Sumatran Rainforest and Blue-Life Project on the Islands of the Indian Ocean in Sumatra. In this programme, you can help us to protect the rainforest, participate in anti-poaching Tiger patrols, and offer your time & hands to help unify our effort in running the Green & Blue-life projects and two rainforest camps.
Get involved educating local kids in development of existing recycling programs. Ocean preservation and its inhabitants (mainly sea turtles in Pulau Banyak islands) is a part of the volunteer program. Prepare for exploration of coral reefs, ultimate relaxation and most importantly helping with cleaning beaches and sea world from all sorts of plastic waste.
Become helpful for your mother nature and join us at Projects Green Life and Blue Life.
Find out more about Project Blue Life on “Oceanforkids.co.uk”
The Green Life project is not involved in the provision of humanitarian aid. All activities are aimed at the protection of the natural world, specifically the plants and animals of the Leuser Ecosystem and the Pulau Banyak islands. This includes environmental education programs for children and adults.
Site access is not available outside of the listed dates.
(Time of Peace)
Green & Blue £ 385.00
- All travels between the rainforest and islands.
- All accommodation and meals.
- Entry fee to the Gunung Leuser National Park (Rp150,000 = £10.00).
- Cleaning Expedition of sea turtles nests on Pulau Banggar. Only available 4 x times per year.
- Transport from and to the airport to the village Batu Katak.
Click here for the 2018 application form.
6.1. – 26.1. GREEN & BLUE (max 18 people / Full)
27.1. – 16.2. GREEN & BLUE (max 18 people / Full)
17.2. – 9.3. GREEN & BLUE (max 18 people / Full)
10.3. – 30.3. GREEN & BLUE (max 18 people / 11 Booked)
19.5. – 8.6. GREEN & BLUE (max 18 people / 8 Booked)
9.6. – 29.6. GREEN & BLUE (max 18 people / 3 Booked)
30.6. – 20.7. GREEN & BLUE (max 18 people / 16 Booked)
21.7. – 10.8. GREEN & BLUE (max 18 people / FULL)
11.8. – 31.8. GREEN & BLUE (max 18 people / 7 Booked)
1.9. – 21.9. GREEN & BLUE (max 18 people / FULL)
Because of exceptional interest in our volunteer programs in 2017 we added one summer slot. If you are interested, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org after the confirmation, pay £385.00 to our bank account and include message for recipient: Volunteer program 2018.
Name of account: Green Life Project
Name of bank: Bank of Scotland PLC
Account number: 15779960
Sort code: 80-22-60
The journey ahead of you:
First trail will start in the rainforest of Leuser ecosystem in Sumatra where you spend two weeks in wilderness at the borders of national Gunung Leuser Park in our private reserve Green-life. Here you will be involved in everyday flow of the green life reserve and some labour such as clearing and maintaining paths, marking boarders of the reserve, patrolling the area and taking a part in anti-poaching tiger patrols. In camps, the work consists of cooking, water collection, washing dishes etc. Wildlife observation trips are part of everyday tasks in the morning.
After 12 hours of an uncomfortable and tiring night journey in a minibus and 6 hours of a boat journey, you will finally arrive at group of Pulau Banyak islands. Dolphins and flying fish can be seen during the boat trip and we have even spotted whales during the summer this year. After the initial unload, you will find yourself in a tropic paradise on the Sikandang Island. Coral reef exploration, ultimate relaxation with outstanding views, and have great fun with likeminded people awaits you, but most importantly cleaning the beaches from plastic contamination of all sorts from the surrounding islands. Of course, there will be some labour work in the camp and kitchen duties.
Cleaning of Sea turtles nests in Banggar:
We are cleaning these nests 4 times a year on the Bangkar Island. This consists of a 3-Day mission to clean the beaches where they lay their eggs. Volunteers will see this natural phenomenon while night patrolling the area. It is hard to predict in advance which group will be part of this as its very weather dependant. That is why this mission is not included in the program cost (£60.00)
IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT THE VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
Although all activities are optional, the volunteer programs are priced on the assumption that you will help with the upkeep of the reserve. Most days we get up around 7:00am, have a leisurely breakfast, and work from 8:30-11:00am and then stop for a long lunch during the maximum heat of the day. In the afternoon, we usually work from 14:00-17:00pm, depending on the weather. Showers are usually late in the day and do not last long. The Tiger Patrol likes to set off early, around 7-8am. There is no set time for sleeping, but volunteers will be expected to make sure they get sufficient rest for the next day’s activities.
The Green Life reserve is part of the forest and we try to minimise our impact on it. Apart from requiring all visitors to use environmentally friendly washing products, we also have rules about the playing of music and noise generally. Music or radio may only be played through headphones and we ask everyone to make as little noise as possible, especially at night. The forest itself is not quiet, and you can enjoy a variety of bird and monkey calls during the day and a concert of cicadas and crickets in the evening.
If you want to go into the forest without a guide, it is essential that you tell someone where you are heading and your expected return time, or it can be written in the camp book. It should be remembered that the Green Life valley and surrounding forest is tiger territory, therefore we recommend that you do not go walking in the evening or after dark.
Cotton T-shirts, printed with the words GREEN & BLUE 2018 can be ordered in advance.
There are 4 sizes available: S/M/L/XL. They can be purchased on site but to ensure that we have your size in stock, please email stating size and quantity required if you are interested. Your order will be waiting for you in camp. They can be sent to your home address with an extra cost for P&P.
The price per T-shirt is £25.
Several international airlines fly directly to Medan – Kuala Namu airport. Otherwise, the easiest way to reach us is to fly to Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore and take a connecting flight with Air Asia or Lion Air for example.
Please send us details of your flight and arrival time and let us know your preferred method of travel to Batu Katak so that we can make any necessary arrangements. We can also put you in touch with other volunteers to help you synchronise your journey from Medan airport to Batu Katak.
A free 30 day visa is available to the United Kingdom and 90 other countries for the purpose of tourism, but there are restrictions on the airport or harbour of entry and exit. The free 30 day visa cannot be extended for any purpose. If you think you might want to stay longer or leave by a different route, you should purchase a 30 day VOA (Visa On Arrival) which can be extended by 30 days if necessary. If you are certain you will be in the country for 30-60 days, it is less time-consuming to organise this in advance in your home country.
All visitors to Indonesia will require
- A passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the day you enter Indonesia.
- A passport that has at least one complete blank page.
- Proof of a return flight or onward flight out of Indonesia.
GETTING FROM THE AIRPORT TO BATU KATAK
BY LOCAL TRANSPORT
There is only one exit from Medan airport, follow it and turn right for the bus station. Find the orange ALS buses and take the one heading to Binjai. Tell the driver that you are going in the direction of Bukit Lawang and ask to be let off at Pinang Baris bus station. The cost is about Rp 35-40,000.
From Pinang Baris take the minibus heading to Bohorok (approx Rp 20,000 plus extra for luggage).
Once in Bohorok, text us of your arrival and we will send a pre-arranged car (Rp 150,000 up to 4 passengers) or motorbike (Rp 70,000 per person) to take you to Batu Katak. Sometimes a larger car with seating for 6 passengers is available, but it needs to be booked in advance.
Although this journey sounds complicated, good prior communication with us about your travel plans will avoid many problems.
This is the simplest option. Email us with your flight details and time of arrival and we will arrange for a taxi to pick you up at the airport and take you straight to Batu Katak. A taxi can carry up to 4 passengers and costs approximately Rp 750,000. Minibus travel can be arranged for groups of up to 7 people. We can help coordinate your journey if you would like to share a vehicle with other volunteers.
Depending on traffic, the journey from the airport to Batu Katak can take 4-6 hours.
Volunteers will be met in Batu Katak and accompanied to the Tiger House (10 minute walk) where they can meet each other, enjoy a meal and get a good night’s sleep. The Green Life reserve is only accessible on foot and we walk there the following day.
HEALTH & SAFETY AND VACCINATION
Indonesia is generally a safe country with minimal crime. Thieves are more prevalent in big cities, but please take the usual precautions to protect valuables such as passports, money, phones and cameras anywhere you go. Agree a price in advance for all services.
Despite living alongside tigers, bears, snakes and spiders, the Green Life reserve is not a dangerous place as long as sensible precautions are taken. All volunteers will be given safety advice on arrival.
We advise volunteers to bring a basic first aid kit, but it is important that anyone requiring specific medication bring an adequate supply with them. It is not recommended that anyone who might suffer a life-threatening allergic reaction come to the Green life reserve.
Vaccinations: only hepatitis A, B, tetanus and typhoid are recommended, not mandatory. Please consider this carefully before traveling.
Mosquitos are present on the reserve but they are unlikely to carry malaria. They are most active at dawn and dusk so we recommend the wearing of long sleeves and trousers at these times with insect repellent used on any exposed skin.
MEALS ON THE GREEN LIFE RESERVE
All food is vegetarian or vegan and is plentiful. With a varied selection of fruit and vegetables, rice, potatoes and beans, we supply three meals a day and no one ever goes hungry. We have a small oven and can bake bread and cakes. Those that are good at it do the cooking, and the others share jobs such as chopping vegetables, washing dishes and fetching water. Fish or any other sea-life is not part of the diet on the islands.
Coconut oil is used in our kitchens, no palm oil at all.
- All participants must be 18 years of age or over. By agreement, younger people may participate if an adult who is responsible for them at all times accompanies them.
- All participants are responsible for their own actions and must comply with the advice and instructions of Green Life representatives and the Gunung Leuser authorities.
- In the case of gross violations of decent behaviour towards other volunteers or nature, any participant may be expelled by a majority decision of the other participants.
- We do not recommend that anyone who suffers from panic attacks or extreme phobias, or who might have a life-threatening allergic reaction, join the program.
- The terrain can be quite challenging in places, so you must be confidently able to climb and descend steep hills, and wade through moving water. The website photos show typical examples. If you have any concerns about your abilities please contact us for more information.
HYGIENE ON THE GREEN LIFE RESERVE
As the reserve is part of the natural environment and washing done in the river, all visitors are required to use only organic, environmentally friendly personal hygiene and laundry products. These can be easily purchased in your home country.
We can recommend brands such as:
- TIERA VERDE (YELLOW and BLUE)
WHAT TO BRING
Sheet for sleeping, head torch, spare batteries, hat, water bottle, protective gloves, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, swimwear, snorkel, mask and fins, small backpack for treks through the forest, medication (be sure to bring sufficient if required), towel, toiletries and possibly laundry detergent. A few energy bars may come in handy for long journeys.
Shoes for the forest: the best shoes to wear in the forest are trainers or canvas rubber soled shoes. They are lightweight, non-slip and you can feel where you are putting your feet. We do not recommend rigid boots.
Shoes for water: the best shoes will be flexible rubber or plastic that fit well, drain quickly and do not fall off easily. Shallow streams are often the easiest path through the forest.
Appropriate footwear is very important. It will improve your safety, comfort and confidence on sometimes-difficult terrain.
WHAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO BRING
Personal sleeping mat (we have mats in camp), pillow (we do not have them) water filter (we drink water straight from the river with no problems, but if you are concerned bring water purification tablets or filters), camera, binoculars, Swiss army knife.
WHAT YOU WILL NOT NEED
Tent, mosquito net, dishes or cutlery etc. as we have these in camp.
We ask each volunteer to bring a small quantity of dried foods (that they particularly like) because many products are not easily available in Sumatra. This makes our menus more interesting, Herbs and spices are particularly useful. Please do not bring perishable foods.
Foods we are particularly happy to receive include: any beans (other than mung), lentils, chickpeas, bulgur, couscous, semolina, powdered plant milk (soy, oat, rice etc.), cocoa, baking powder, custard powder, ground black pepper, paprika, cumin, and dried herbs such as thyme, oregano, marjoram.
There is no need to take a lot of money; £200 will be more than enough. All the food is already part of the program and most of your time here will be in the reserve. The only thing you really need money for is the transport from/to the airport and entrance fee to Gunung Leuser national park. Please exchange your money at the airport and do not leave this for a later opportunity, you might not have a chance. In case you forget, there are few shops along the way that you can stop by with ATM facilities, please ask the driver.
Cost of groceries in Indonesia: drinking water 1,5L (50 Pence), meal in a local warung – £0.80 – 1.30, Soft drink 0,5L (30-60 Pence), fruit – Bananas (30-60 Pence), Clementine’s 1 kg (30-60 Pence), biscuits and sweets 70 Pence.
ELECTRICITY IN THE GREEN LIFE RESERVE AND IN PULAU BANYAK
Electrical sockets in Indonesia are the same as EU so please bring one adapter with you. There is no electricity in the reserve, the only place you can charge your devices is the Tiger House. The house is about 1/1-5 hour walking distance from the camp 2 and 2 hours from camp 1.
The opportunity to go to tiger house will not be every second day, so please take enough batteries or a power bank with you. In Pulau Banyak we use a petrol generator for a few hours in the evening to give us light and the opportunity to recharge battery-powered items.
In the Green life reserve:
There is nothing to fear from the many creatures of the forest if sensible precautions are taken. It is worth noting however that this is a wildlife reserve, there are small animals, and insects everywhere, we do not discourage them, as they are harmless.
Although not numerous on the reserve, mosquitos are most active at dawn and dusk and bites can be prevented by the use of repellent and appropriate clothing at these times. They are not known to carry malaria.
In the wetter places there are also leeches. You will encounter them but they are easily removed and cause no problems.
During the day, small bees that like to suck sweat are active. They are not dangerous. There are potentially aggressive territorial bees that we sometimes come across, but as long as you move away and do not hit out at them, they will not attack you. Anyone who is likely to have an allergic reaction should bring appropriate medication and carry it with them.
There are many spiders here but they are mainly active at night when they are a favourite subject of macro photographers. They will not bother you; they are only looking for insects to eat.
Scorpions are also present on the reserve but you are unlikely to see them unless you are looking, as they are shy creatures that prefer rotten trees and stumps.
As a precaution, it is recommended that you shake shoes and items of clothing before putting them on in the morning, to dislodge any night visitors.
The snakes will not bite unless you try to capture them. Leave them alone and they will not harm you.
We do not recommend that you touch any animal. Some, such as the red and black centipede can inflict painful, moderately toxic bites if threatened. Others, such as dogs and monkeys may carry rabies.
Encounters with large animals are rare. They will be aware of your presence long before you notice them and will avoid you.
An exception to this is in the evening and after dark. Tigers hunt at night and the reserve is part of their territory, so we recommend that you do not put yourself at risk by being outdoors at these times.
On the islands:
Insects are not there, from dawn until dusk. Small flies followed by mosquitoes start to fly after 4pm. Mosquitoes are active all night until the next morning. Ordinary repellent and long sleeves will be enough to deal with these creatures. Shacks are equipped with mosquito nets, which guarantees peaceful night.
For these reasons, we only really operate in regards collecting garbage and other activities in the morning from 7:00 – 11:00 and possibly in the afternoon around 14:00 – 17:00.
Water in the Reserve and on the islands
The Green Life reserve is right at the border with the national park, water from the rivers that emerge from the NPGL and via the reserve is safe to drink. There is no need to boil the water. This water is used for cooking, cleaning, washing etc. It is possible to buy a bottle or a straw to filter the water if someone is uncomfortable drinking from the river. There is a water supply on the island but unfortunately, it is not drinking water. We do buy a bottled water for drinking.
More stable weather can be expected during January – Feb, April – May, sometimes with tropical rains. They are normally very quick and quite heavy accompanied with strong lighting. June and July tend to be dry and sometimes it does not rain for weeks. The rain season starts in August, but it is at its peak in from October to December. Tropical rains during the season are heavy and rivers are more powerful with higher streams. The reserve is mostly closed off during this period. Fruit around the reserve is getting ripe from February to March and June to July. Although Rainforest fruits ripens all-year round depending on the kind. An opportunity to see wild animals is hard to predict.
ORANGUTANS IN GREEN LIFE AND BUKIT LAWANG
During your stay on the Green Life reserve there is a good chance you will see wild orangutans but we cannot guarantee it. Volunteers may want to visit the orangutan rescue station in Bukit Lawang. While we recognise the value of their work, we do not promote this organisation, as we are opposed to it as an attraction. We believe that the regular feeding and human contact disturbs the natural behaviour of orangutans and prevents their full return to the wild. It also exposes them to human diseases.
VOLUNTEERS AND WILD ANIMALS
The Green Life project is committed to the preservation of the rainforest in its natural state and seeks to minimise any disturbance to wildlife. We ask you to follow these basic rules:
The feeding of animals is prohibited. They do not need it. The action creates an unnatural attachment between animal and human, and there is a risk of human disease being passed to animals. The capture or manipulation of animals for study or photographic purposes is prohibited. Fishing for sport or food is prohibited. The collection of plants or seeds is prohibited.
Any breach of these rules will be reported to the Gunung Leuser authorities with the intention of prosecution.
Project blue-life is based on initiative to protect ocean from pollution and devastation. Fishing, consumption of any sea animals or walking on coral reefs is not part of the program. We are an ethical bunch, mindful of Ocean life and its inhabitants. Vegans, vegetarians and people with an ethical way of life, started the project blue life; therefore, meat consummation is out of the question. Let us find a common ground and take a global responsibility, which will be natural to the human race in the future.
Thank you very much for your interest in Green & Blue Life projects. We look forward to work with all people whom are concerned and interested in protecting world’s natural heritage of Rainforests, critically endangered animal species and oceans.
SUPPORT THE BATU KATAK COMMUNITY
Interested volunteers can go on excursions accompanied by local guides. The Green Life Project welcomes the move towards ecotourism by the Batu Katak community.
Visit the caves at Batu Katak
Take a guided tour of the partially submerged caves near Batu Katak. After an hour of walking through plantations and a rainforest gorge, you will reach the entrance to the caves. Here you will spend two hours wading through the dark limestone caverns admiring the rock formations and creatures such as crickets, spiders, snakes, frogs and bats that live in permanent darkness. For the most part the water is knee deep but there are sections where it will be waist deep. You will need a head torch and well-fitting flexible-soled shoes.
Price: Rp 200,000
The Batu Katak region is also home to the Titan Arum and a few different Rafflesia. Plant lovers will know that it is rare to see these magnificent plants in bloom, as their flowering period is unpredictable and short. If there are any in flower during your stay, local guides can offer trips to see them.
The Titan Arum (Amorphophallus Titanum) is found only in the rainforests of Sumatra. After a period of dormancy a solitary flower spike (spadix) appears, growing at a rate of 10cm per day and reaching three metres in height. It is surrounded by a leaf-like structure (spathe) which is pale green on the outside and a deep crimson (meat) colour on the inside. When the flowers are ready for pollination, the plant emits a powerful odour, leading to its local name “corpse flower”. Other stages of its lifecycle are equally impressive. If pollinated, the spadix grows into a large club-like head of orange-red seeds. The single leaf, which follows flowering, can reach the size of a small tree.
Rafflesia arnoldii is a parasitic plant without roots or leaves that is only visible when it is ready to flower. Also known as “corpse flower” because of its unpleasant smell, it is thought to be the largest single flower. Spherical buds push through the bark of the host plant, slowly growing to cabbage size before the metre wide reddish brown flower opens and then dies within a few days. The berries formed by the female flowers are eaten by tree shrews, who then spread the seeds through the forest.
Price: Rp 50,000 – 150,000
Depending on the distance from the village, make sure to establish in advance which “corpse flower” you are going to see and its current state of growth.
Raft down the river Berkail
Starting from where the river widens close to Camp 2, you can take an exciting trip down the river on a raft made of inner tubes from truck tyres, through rainforest valleys and rubber plantations all the way to Batu Katak. During the dry season, the river is shallow and not too fast, so with local guides steering, you will have plenty of time to admire the scenery along the river. With your backpacks securely wrapped in plastic, it is a fun way to leave camp without having to carry your bags back through the forest, making it an ideal activity for your last day.
Price: Rp 200,000
Thanks for taking the time to read this far. If volunteering is not for you, there are other ways to be involved in environmental protection.
Please see the Support Green Life page…