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Group volunteering: Reasons to travel with a group

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The option of traveling in group is very attractive and Valencia is a good location for it. It is a medium-sized city that offers many possibilities. It is also well-connected with other cities and towns and is surrounded by natural parks and beaches, this allows travel on weekends and do many interesting excursions.

Group volunteering is a great opportunity for all types of groups: classmates for an end-of-course trip or school vacation, members of a university or sports club, corporate groups, a family or a circle of friends. Members learn from each other, and new friendships develop, resulting in a valuable overall contribution both to the cause and the dynamics of the group.

Group Volunteering Abroad 3 Reasons why you should group travel

Volunteering abroad is always more than a trip, it is a life-changing experience that goes benefit to the group, but also every person learning new skills and acquiring a more open and broad vision regarding the diversity of realities. In Voluns, we always say that the experience of traveling alone is unique and must be done once in life. However, volunteering abroad as a group also has advantages that cannot be compared.

1. Don´t worry about about planning or costs

On a group tour everything is organized. In fact, in Voluns we always try to customize the itineraries to the maximum so that all the people who travel in the group could enjoy it. In addition, group trips tend to be cheaper and all needs are included. Relax and enjoy!

2. Strengthen relationships with the people you travel with

If you travel with your family, your classmates or work team, any type of group. On a volunteer trip in group, you will be live different experiences and share a lot of beautiful moments, this will unite you, you will learn to solve problems together, get to know each other more deeply, and you may push yourself to do things that you wouldn’t usually do.

3. Funny reason: You will have people who take pictures of you

Has it never happened to you that you return from a trip and there are only landscapes in your photos? You can’t prove you’ve been there. On a group trip abroad your photos will be full of shared moments, not just beautiful places.

Would you like to organize a trip with your group? We organize it all for you! Fin out about our group volunteer opportunities!

CLICK HERE!

 

Country culture for volunteers: Christmas traditions in Spain

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If you are thinking of volunteering in Spain, the ideal is to know their culture. One of the Christmas traditions in Spain is Three Magic Kings Day. How does Spain celebrate it? After Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Spain there is still a celebration. Three gentlemen: Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar called the Three Magic Kings bring gifts and sweets to children. In some cases, it also brings gifts to adults, so if you volunteer in Valencia with Voluns by these dates follow all the steps in case.

The Festival of Three Magics King

On the eve of 5th of January, children leave their shoes by the door with hopes that the three kings will leave gifts inside during their overnight visit. If you want to have gifts there is one condition: you should’ve behaved well during the year, being good at school and with your family. How much pressure:P!

The tradition is of religious origin, these three kings were in charge of going to the birthplace of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. The three gentlemen arrive at the place following the trail of a shooting star on a camel. Upon arrival, they offered three gifts: gold, incense and myrrh.

Currently, the day after Three Kings Day is a national holiday in Spain. The arrival of the three kings is celebrated in the streets and has little to do with religion. On the afternoon of January 5 you can enjoy the entrance of the kings to the city with highly animated parades (La Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos). The kings roam the city in wonderfully decorated carriages accompanied by other carriages with other secondary protagonists of the story such as the helpers (the pages) and these are throwing candies to people as they pass. If you are going to see it, do not forget to bring a basket or bag to pick up candies!

Traveling through volunteering allows you to get closer to local life, therefore we believe important to let you know this culture. If you want to know more ask your coordinator tells you the whole story, he’ll love you for you to do it!

Conservation Volunteer: Reasons why wetlands matter

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Conservation Volunteer: Reasons why wetlands matter

Wetlands are essential for the environment, and they are at risk. Did you know that the protection of wetlands is considered an urgent action to save our planet?

Wetlands are essential ecosystems for sustainable development because they maintain environmental balance and naturally regulate the water cycle. In Voluns, we want to contribute to the protection of these areas, so we dedicate one of our volunteer programs to the conservation of The Albufera Natural Park and other wetlands in the area of Valencia.

Wetlands are vital ecological areas for the survival of many endemic species and bird migration.

Wetland areas are a natural solution against global warming and environmental disasters. All types of wetlands, whether continental or coastal, contribute in some way to human well-being. The recent UN Conference on Climate Change (COP 25) talked a lot about Sustainable Development Goals, however, again there are no binding measures obliging governments to commit to the environment.

One of the Sustainable Development Goals explicitly contains the protection of water reserves:

Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Target 6.6: By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

However, as we reach the end of 2019 much still remains to be done. The president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Zhang Xinsheng, has claimed before the plenary of the XXV Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (IUCN), the inclusion of more ambitious, concrete and quantifiable targets on nature-based solutions.

Wetlands are the most productive ecosystems, but most exposed to the effects of drastic climate change and in such a short time. In addition, these are constantly threatened by the constant contamination of human activity.

This type of natural areas in inland areas avoid many floods, because when it rains too much have the capacity to quickly absorb large amounts of water. In the coastal environment, seagrasses absorb large amounts of carbon. They have a natural and essential regulatory function to maintain the natural balance of many areas.

Conservation Volunteer Program in Valencia

The Albufera Natural Park is an example of a wetland under great pressure, for which we saw it necessary to open a specific international volunteer program in collaboration with the associations that work there. The effort and work of volunteers helps to restore many natural areas damaged by human activity.

The Albufera natural conservation volunteer program also includes work in other wet areas such as the Marjal de Almenara or the Tancat de la Pipa.

Albufera wetlands as well as being important for the containment of the consequences of climate change are large reserves of endemic species, whose existence would not be possible if contaminated or loses its biological wealth.

Help us preserve one of the most important wetland areas in Spain, come to do the conservation volunteer abroad program in Valencia!

More than 200kg of waste collected this summer on the sea coast of Denia (Valencian Community)

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Achievements of our volunteer program in Denia this summer 2019

Voluns offers a valuable conservation experience, responsible for the environment and for the future. It´s another kind of tourism, getting to know a beautiful place in a proactive way.

In this post, we want we want to share with you the achievements of the volunteers who have participated in the Coast and Marine Conservation volunteer program in Dénia and its surroundings. One of the tasks of the volunteers is the collection of waste, among which most are plastics. From June to September we collected in 12 days more than 200kg of waste by kayak, on foot and diving on the sea coast.

This volunteer program covers a part of the coast between Valencia and Alicante in which there are three protected natural parks: The Marjal of Pego- Oliva, The Montgó Natural Park and The Marine Reserve in the Cape of San Antonio. These are natural areas with a great diversity and of high ecological importance.

The Marjal Pego-Oliva Nature Reserve

The Marjal is a protected wetland with an area of 1.253 hectares. There are two rivers that run through the Bullent or Vedat, in the northern part, and the Racons or Molinell, in the southern part. Many plants are unique, this place stands out for being a zone of storage and birth of groundwater that regulates, in a natural way, the quality of the water. Many of its plants are unique.

The Montgó Natural Park

The Natural Park of Montgó is very visited by hikers, has an area of 2.117 hectares and 753 meters of altitude and is between Dénia and Xabia. More than 650 species of flora and vegetation live in there. The vegetation of Montgó was one of the main reasons for the declaration of this protected area. It has an extensive floristic catalogue and abundance of endemism. This natural park keeps a great botanical treasure.

The Marine Reserve in the Cape of San Antonio

The Nature Reserve San Antonio Cape is a protected area of high ecological value that occupies 900 hectares. On its seabed you can find coral colonies, Scyaphila algae, Sandstone rhophytes, Posydonia meadows. There, you can go diving in caves and crevices such as the famous Cova Tallada, and observe a great diversity of marine species.

Why volunteering in this area of the Valencian Community?

The increase of the human presence (mass tourism) in the natural environment leaves an ecological footprint that threatens the ecosystem. Even though we point out the data of the collected waste, there are other causes for which the flora and fauna are being modified and endangered. For example:

  • The abandonment of invasive species in the lagoons and in the sea, ending with other native species.
  • The deterioration of hiking trails with dog excrement and trash.
  • Pollution of wetlands through the discharge of contaminated water.
  • The increase in fires caused by reasons related to climate change such as rising temperatures or lack of rain or human presence such as leaving garbage in the forests.
  • And, as a consequence of the increase in fires, the modification of the landscape by the proliferation of pines after the fires that modify the forests. Pine is a tree that catches fire quickly and facilitates fires.

How we act to protect these places?

In Voluns, we act to minimize environmental impact caused by the increase in tourism in the area through our international volunteering program of coast and marine conservation. The program includes all kinds of activities related to the conservation of the coasts and marine areas of these locations of the Valencian Community.

Furthermore, Voluns is committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and effecting real change through its volunteer programs. Some of the SDG that contemplate this program are:

13. Climate Action
14. Life Below Water
15. Life on Land

Similarly, we have some influence in other objectives of the 2030 Agenda, such as number 6 Clean Water and Sanitation or number 12 Responsible Production and Consumption. Also, through the collaboration of volunteers from different cultures and languages we are committed to promoting values such as equality and multiculturalism.

The achievements of summer conservation volunteering

Below, we list the achievements of this summer because we are sincerely very proud of all the work that has been done thanks to the volunteers:

  • Date: June to September of 2019
  • Locations: Montgo Natural Park, Cova Migdia ( Xàbia), coast of Dénia and Xàbia, the Seabed Reserve of Cap de Sant Antoni and Marjal de Pego-Oliva Natural Park.

In the Montgó Natural Park:

Surveillance and fire prevention:

  • June to September, 15 hours of surveillance in weekend guards in the most exposed areas and without access control in the Natural Park.

Enhancement of the regeneration of native flora in burned areas:

  • June to September, 20 hours of work of removal of white pine, Pinus Halepensis in Planes del Montgó, in more than 80,000 m2 within the Natural Park in areas devastated by fire in 2014, reinforcing the presence of native flora.

Active participation in the information campaign on the collection of pet waste in Montgó, “regalets, no gràcies”:

  • June to September, 5 working days, 20 hours making ephemeral thematic murals and informing about the problem of animal waste in Camí de la Colònia.
  • June, 5 hours of work and participation with 150 schoolchildren of 3rd grade of CEIP Pou de la Muntanya, in the realization of ephemeral murals with the theme of environmental awareness in access to the school.

Conservation of the historical, cultural and landscape heritage of Xàbia:

  • July and August, 12 hours of work in clearing and cleaning of vegetation on the access road to Cova del Migdia.
  • June, 4 hours of work in clearing and cleaning of vegetation on the access road to the Castell de Granadella.

On the coast of Dénia and Xàbia and in the Seabed Reserve of Cap de Sant Antoni:

Cleaning of surfaces, seabed and coves of difficult access for machinery and municipal cleaning brigades:

  • June to September, 12 days, 50 hours of work, 200kg of waste removed in Cova Tallà, Cala Sardinera, Cala Pallers, Beaches of Les Roques, Sol del Barranc and Granadella by kayak, on foot and diving.

Detection and mapping of invasive algae Caulerpa cylindracea (ant. Racemosa):

  • June to September, 12 days, 25 hours of work on the beaches of Les Roques, 1km square of revised Marine Reserve funds and 30 points with infestation of found algae.

Collection and weighing of microplastics on the coast of Les Rotes:

  • June to September, 15 days, 45 hours of work in different sections of the Reserve’s coast, detecting sections with contamination of microplastics transported and deposited by waves.

In the Marjal de Pego-Oliva Natural Park:

Detection and control of invasive alien species:

  • June to September, 54 copies of red-eared turtles (Trachemys scripta) captured (with net and submerged traps), and delivered to the Valencian Ministry of Environment.
  • June to September, capture and removal of specimens of exotic and invasive species (Procambarus clarkii, Lepomis gibbosus, Cyprinus carpio, Micropterus salmoides, Carassius auratus), in the Giratells canal.
  • July. Participation in the day of detection of Cargol poma (Pomacea maculata) with technicians from the Valencian Ministry of Environment.

Reasons to consider taking some time to volunteer this winter in Valencia

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Why volunteer in winter

Are you looking for a meaningful way to escape the cold this winter break? Do you want to get a gap year and don’t know what to do? Did you run out of holidays this summer? Whatever it is, why don’t you consider volunteering abroad over your “winter break” in Valencia? If you are wondering if wintertime is the right time to participate in a volunteer program, read on!

Volunteering in winter?

Especially If you’re from anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere you’re gonna be freezing over the winter season. Leave the cold and  snowy weather behind and volunteer in a sunny and warm place such as Valencia. Though, why volunteering in Valencia in the winter? 

The weather in Valencia

The main reason to do a winter break volunteer en Valencia is the weather here during the winter season is very soft and warm, you could see tourist eating ice creams in November. The coldest month (with the lowest average low temperature) is January (7.1 ° C), according to the Agencia Estatal de Meteorología de España

Additionally, Valencia has about 300 sunny days a year. There’s no better way to escape the winter blues than by jetting off to places such as this city in Spain.

Volunteer in Valencia in winter. Voluns

What better way to say goodbye to one year and hello to the next than by having a life-changing experience that also has a real impact on the world?

 

Winter volunteer programs

Every season is nice to do a volunteering. We have volunteer programs in Easter Week and summer too, but you have to choose the correct program for each moment. In Valencia winter is sunny and not so hot so it’s the perfect time to do the Conservation programme as well as participating in the Community Development and Childhood programmes.

On the one hand, in the Conservation volunteer program your work will be outdoors, so you could enjoy The Albufera Natural Park without looking at the time and involve yourself in nature without suffering from high temperatures.

Winter in Valencia. Volunteering abroad | Voluns ValenciaOn the other hand, If you are thinking of doing a social volunteer trip to work with children or about community development, those volunteer programs in winter are the ones that need more people. You could contribute more because kids start school and they need someone to take care of them playing or helping them to do their homework in the evening.  Besides, Voluns has another volunteer work program in the social canteens. These spaces are overbooked during the winter and it is when your support is most appreciated.

Volunteering at winter break | Voluns Valencia

Tourism and Spanish learning: Visiting Valencia in winter

Another reason to choose a volunteer program during the winter in this city is that Valencia has a lot of culture movement and cultural agenda is full from November to May, because local people come back from holidays to the city, so you will enjoy the city in its pure state.

In winter the center of Valencia is full of activities, there is a great cultural offer in all the museums, concerts, parties o cinema festivals, the offer is very wide. Even if your idea is to learn Spanish you could find more activities such as language exchange events in bars and more offer of Spanish courses. In addition, it will be much easier to expand your circle outside your volunteer group and get to know Spanish young people and practise Spanish because it is a city where many students live during wintertime.

Winter Break Volunteer Abroad Programs

Volunteering during your holidays in winter in another country recharges your batteries. You could press up to improve your Spanish, have more fun, but even: what better way to say goodbye to one year and hello to the next than by having a life-changing experience that also has a real impact on the world?

New life experiences are perfect anytime!

Why volunteer abroad changes lives

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If you know somebody who has traveled to volunteer abroad, you have probably already heard about how incredible and life-changing it is. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people volunteer abroad and come back to their home countries full of new skills, new friends, and unforgettable memories.

Everybody has their own reasons for choosing to volunteer abroad. Some people want to travel to exotic locations, experience a new culture, help some of the most improverished people in the world. Others want to learn a new language, seeking inspiration, trying to find a new direction or improve their job skills. Or there are those who simply want to spend their time doing work that benefits people in need. More often, the desire to volunteer abroad can encompass many motivations such as giving back while seeing a part of the world you’ve always been interested in visiting.

If you are considering volunteering abroad, you will no doubt have your own reasons for wanting to make the commitment. The truth is, there are countless benefits of volunteering abroad, and countless reasons why you should choose to do it.

Whatever the reason for volunteering, there’s a program out there that matches your unique goals and will give you the volunteer experience you’ve always dreamed of. And even if you think you’re volunteering for one reason in particular, you may just find that the experience enriches you in ways you never expected.

So, for those of you considering traveling to volunteer abroad, or for those of you that have never considered it until now, here is a list of 10 inspiring reasons to volunteer abroad that might make you want to take that final step.

1.-Become Part of a Community and Experience a New Culture Completely

Volunteer Abroad is an immersion experience.

You never really know a place until you’ve lived there. If you’re volunteering somewhere which includes accommodation you’ll dive head first into the lives and culture of those around you – something which just can’t be experienced from the comfort of a tour bus.

A big part of volunteering abroad is getting involved with the people you are there to help. Over the course of weeks or even months, depending on how long you decide to volunteer abroad for, you’ll get to know and become part of a community. You will experience a true sense of community as a volunteer abroad.

Take this opportunity to learn the local language, eat local foods, interact with local community members, observe local customs, traditions, holidays, and celebrations, and just become a part of the community.

2.-It’s great for your CV and to Build Your Resume

If you’ve just left school or college and you’re looking for something impressive to add to your CV, volunteering abroad is the perfect choice! Employers will like to see that you’ve brave enough to visit another country and take part in an organised programme. It’s also a good way to illustrate what’s important to you, and show that you’re more than willing to try new things. International exposure and global citizenship are ever-increasingly valuable traits for applicants to higher ed programs.

If you’re not yet sure what you want to major in, any volunteer experience that encourages leadership will be worthwhile. Seek out the programs that will give you the opportunity to be proactive in your work, contribute your own ideas or even oversee the activities of other volunteers.

Dedicating your time to something other than yourself shows compassion, good ethics and an open mind. When you volunteer abroad, you have to think on your feet and take initiative. These are hard things to convey when there’s a CV between you and an interview, but mentioning volunteering abroad on a personal statement is like a subtle way of writing “Hey, I care about the world and similarly, I would care about this job”.

Follow our blog to know the next top reasons why volunteer abroad changes lives 🙂

Is the climate changing?

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We all are familiar with the concept of “climate change” but, do we really know what it means?

Starting from the basis that climate change is a reality in our day to day and not something distant that may occur in the future then we realice that we have to help urgently our Planet Earth instead of keep on destroying it.

What is Climate Change?

Climate Change is the long-term modification of patterns of the average climate of the planet or of a region. Over a period of time, the weather may vary according to rainfall, humidity and other elements, although this keeps stable. Climate Change occurs if the weather changes abryptly or notoriously over a period of time quite brief. This is what is happening now: the planet temperature has increase around 8,0º C since 1980, making a climate much warmer.

Evidence of Climate Change:

  • Temperatures are higher than in the past. 9 of the 10 warmest years registered ocurred since 2000.
  • Glaciers Worldwide are retreating due to ice melting
  • As a consequence of the above, sea levels have risen on average to 19 centimeters worldwide, and 178 millimeters Orly Turing the last 100 years
  • The Arctic sea ice cap is declining rapidly. Science warns us that melting glaciers in the polar regions would lead to severe sea level rise. Disruption of the Polar Regions will interfere with their vital roles in regulating earth’s climate, oceans cycles and the life supporting role of migratory species
  • Changes are registered in the seasons on our planet, for example winter starts later and leaves sooner

Unfortunatellynot only Climate Change is a reality, but also the growth of the plastic island in the Pacific ocean: three times the size of France!

 

Just as humans are responsable for this problem, they are also the only ones who can help the planet and nature from degradation. After all, without nature we could not live!

If each of us are able to contribute a little bit and change our daily actions we Could achieve a positive impact. At Voluns and toghether with our international volunteers we try our best to make a difference helping with ecological restoration, planting of indigenous species of vegetation, cleaning up of beaches and coastlines preventing plastic from ending up in the sea (The United Nations estimates that marine plastic kills over a million seabirds and 100,000 mammals and sea turtles each year) and restoration of our wetlands which are one of the natural paradises of the Mediterranean coast, helping to preserve our flora and fauna and migratory birds.

Nature needs us and we need nature. So, what are you waiting for to be part of our family?

Easter in Valencia

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After Las Fallas, another of the most traditional and traditional festivals of Valencia and of Spain in general arrives: Holy Week and Easter. Holy Week is a Christian celebration, during those days the Catholic Church remembers the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The celebration of Holy Week takes place in spring and the days in which it is celebrated are given by the lunar cycles.

In Valencia, we also celebrate Sunday and Easter Monday, with family and friends, and we have the tradition of celebrating it outdoors, on the beach, in the park or in the countryside. If you want to live a traditional Valencian Easter, follow our tips 😉

1.- Eat Easter sausage and of course our authentic Easter cake with boiled egg, or our pancakes with raisins and nut, typical and tradicional sweets in Valencia simply delicious.

2. Visit the “Semana Santa Marinera” In the seaside neighborhood of Cabañal, declared as National Tourist Interest. Here you can find the schedule: http://www.semanasantamarinera.org

3. Eat a paella in the mountains or in the Albufera with friends.

Easter is a time of meeting with family and friends and what better to enjoy these days with a Valencian paella, laughter and friendship.

4. Take a walk on the beach under the valencian sun and take advantage of the wind to fly the kite or as the Valencians say «el catxirulo»

5. The wonderful weather of Valencia allows you to take a bike ride along the Túria Riverbed Park or the beach.

6. Eat the typical Valencian lunch in one of the terraces of the Cabañal neighborhood.

Easter days are to enjoy, so let’s hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Why volunteering in Spring?

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Valencia is the city of the flowers, the music and the sun. In spring time days are longer and we have the perfect temperature to enjoy walking along the river park, the city or the neverending beaches. But on the top of thisValencia celebrates the begining of the spring with one of the most amazing festivals: Las Fallas

Declared World Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, Las Fallas represent most of the traditions of the valencian people: each neighborhood of the city organize parties together for the celebration and build the monuments of fallas, there are lot of processions with music and flowers, and of course fireworks during all day and night (you can find more information about Las Fallas in one of our previous posts). Volunteering abroad is the best way to immerse yourself into the culture, and that’s why volunteers in Valencia in spring have the opportunity to live Las Fallas as the locals.

Volunteers working on Conservation Projects are witnesses of the incredible blooming of our wetlands, small paradises that show during spring time their most colourful and beautiful flora and fauna. Simply unique!

And for international volunteers working in Social Projects,this period brings them the opportunity to learn more about valencian traditions, and they enjoy a lot preparing different activities with the kids for the big festival, sharing at the same time their traditions with the locals.

Definitely experiences that change lifes. Don’t dream it, be it!

What to do in Denia?

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Are you going to visit Denia this summer? Top ten things to do in town and surroundings; beach, mountain and much more! What to do in Denia?

Montgó: If you are going to Denia for a few days you can’t loose the Natural Park of Montgó. Walking around the mountain and enjoying the views will be a great experience for everybody.

Denia Castle: One of the most important things to visit in Denia is the castle. Because of its amazing views and walls the castle is one of the most visited places in the city. The castle inside is not very big, but is worthy for its price.

Old town: Denia is a small city, but the historic center is lively and lovely, specially during the summer. Here you can eat the best tapas and fish in town, discover some cultural places and go shopping.

Les Rotes: One of the emblematic beaches of Denia. The best plan for a day in les Rotes is swimming, diving, some sunbathing and end the day watching the sunset with a mojito near the sea.

La cova tallà: The perfect place for a short trip near Denia. This cave is very special and plenty of beauty. The journey by walk is not easy, but the views and the cliffs all around are really beautifull.

Volunteering: Coast and marine conservation is very important in the Mediterranean. You can help to mantain the nature with your work at the beach this summer.

Water sports: Ready for a free day in Denia? Water sports are the most popular hobbies here; kite surf, wind surf, kayak, diving… Choose your sport and enjoy the sea!