Canada
Location
4 weeks
Duration
18+
Age
Tourist Visa
Visa
June-August
Dates

The Mountains are Calling -

Travel to Banff in the Canadian Rockies!

This program is so much more than just a volunteer experience!

The world is facing new and increasingly complex environmental, social and economic challenges that are making the conservation of nature more urgent and critical than ever before. To protect its finite and precious wilderness and wildlife, the world needs more leaders who can lead by example, inspire others and launch and manage more sustainable conservation initiatives.

Moreover, this program aims to create new conservation leaders, inspiring them to make an impact, and giving participants the experience of a lifetime!

Sign up now to secure a spot for our 2024 season in beautiful Banff National Park!

Why Banff National Park?

Banff National Park Conservation Project

Banff National Park is the perfect setting for fun, hands-on learning and giving back to Canada’s flagship national park. It experiences the social and environmental impacts of “overtourism” and volunteers are involved in monitoring, measuring and mitigating the impacts of 4.3 million visitors on the delicate mountain ecosystem with iconic wildlife such as grizzly bears, wolves and cougars.

The park has led the way in “ecological integrity” in the world, and participants in this program get to experience and learn about this first-hand while honing their observational, critical thinking, outdoor and leadership skills.

PARKS CANADA: A COMMUNITY THAT STRIVES TO LEAD, INSPIRE, TRAIN AND GUIDE

Volunteers will have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a wide variety of Parks Canada staff from every department, including Visitor Experience, Resource Conservation, Heritage Programs, Trades, and Assets, among others. Additionally, they will interact with local park volunteers (Park Stewards) and other dedicated volunteer groups such as youth groups, corporate groups, and outdoor clubs. An experienced Parks Canada summer student staff will expertly guide you through your daily volunteer activities and leadership process as the group leader. Notably, the group leader is a graduate of the esteemed Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership program, ensuring a rewarding and knowledgeable experience for all participants.

Volunteer Activities

Hike and report on trail conditions, interact with visitors, observe and report on park infractions, wildlife sightings.

Be on patrol at day-use areas and viewpoints and interact with visitors from all over the world.

Maintain the wildlife fence.

Assist on environmental science, research and monitoring projects

Help with restoration projects including removal of invasive species, clean ups, native plantings

Participate in and help out at special events, cultural heritage programming, indigenous ceremonies, and social science and help with responsible promotions through use of social media.

Other special projects, as needed, include: fingerboard and signage building, painting picnic tables.

Leadership Training

The group leader will guide volunteers throughout the four weeks on their leadership development including but not limited to:

Week 1 – Explore leadership theories, share areas of interest in conservation work and personal goals and generate project ideas (facilitated by Tina Barzo, Banff National Park’s Leader of Volunteer Engagement, who is also a recent graduate of a Masters of Arts in Leadership)

Week 2 – Connect, commit and start personal goals and project ideas

Week 3 – Put it all into practice and grow / broaden personal goals, conservation work and leadership skills

Week 4 – Creatively present to the group the result and the plan to continue

ONLINE COURSE IN CONSERVATION LEADERSHIP

Included in your program fees is the chance to take part in a 4-week self-guided online course in Conservation Leadership, which is being facilitated by Volunteer Engagement staff of Banff National Park.

By participating in this valuable course, you will not only learn about current conservation efforts at Banff National Park directly from the source, but also come up with your own ideas on how to tackle environmental problems. Additionally, through group discussions and weekly assignments, you will develop a project, which will hopefully help the park with a specific conversation challenge they are facing.

Furthermore, the course will be held online, pre-arrival to Canada. Projects can be research-based, knowledge-gathering, build on previous projects, and ideally should have in-field components. Moreover, projects will also improve participants’ understanding of and involvement in conservation in Banff National Park.

The course consists of a series of modules that include self-directed group work and online research. The minimum time commitment is at least 1-2 hours per week, but we always encourage you to do more, for example, by participating in the online forum or further developing your project.

Learning Outcomes

By participating in this valuable course in Conservation Leadership, you will…

Receive a Certificate in Conservation Leadership

Be prepared well for your volunteer program in the parks (e.g. through additional information on conservation leadership)

Find out more about conservation efforts and challenges in Banff National Park

Design, develop and advance your own conservation project

Join interesting discussions regarding former and current conservation efforts, as well as your peers’ projects

Foster your intercultural communication, team-building and leadership skills by working in groups

ACCOMMODATION

Our Banff volunteers have the amazing opportunity to stay at HI Banff Alpine Centre (3 weeks) and at HI Castle Mountain (1 week) for a heavily discounted price thanks to HI Canada. Furthermore, despite it being their high season, HI Canada is supporting Parks Canada by sponsoring the GO International Volunteer Program to allow more internationals to take part in the 4-week program in Banff National Park.

Volunteers share a 6-bed dorm-style room with spacious and lockable storage in each room (all linen included). In addition, they will have access to laundry facilities. They will be responsible for purchasing their own food and cooking their own meals at the accommodation using the fully equipped kitchen and large dining area. Moreover, they can also eat at the on-site bar/restaurant and make use of the large common room and the free Wi-Fi.

Visit https://hihostels.ca/en for more information.

Sponsored by HI Canada_Logo

HI Banff Alpine Centre (3 weeks)
HI Castle Mountain (1 week)

Accommodation costs: $1,100 CAD + tax

Start Dates 2024

Session Accommodation Check-in First Day Orientation Last Day of Volunteering Accommodation Check-out
1 Tues-June 11 Wed-June 12 Sun-July 07 Mon-July 08
2 Tues-July 09 Wed-July 10 Sun-Aug 04 Mon-Aug 05
3 Tues-Aug 06 Wed-Aug 07 Sun-Sept 01 Mon-Sept 02

“This amazing leadership and volunteer certificate program is set in Banff National Park, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While on this epic adventure, you will have fun, challenge yourself mentally and physically, learn about current conservation challenges, practice and develop leadership skills, gain international work experience and first-hand, behind-the-scenes knowledge of Canada’s conservation strategies and park operations while you contribute to conservation in Canada’s busiest national park.

Your actions will protect Canada’s iconic wildlife and their natural habitat. You will also develop leadership, life, and communication skills that you can take with you and apply for the rest of your life.”

– Tina Barzo, Leader of Volunteer Engagement, Banff National Park.

clean up campaign

PROGRAM SIGN UP:

To sign up for the Banff National Park Conservation Volunteering Program, please contact us at programs@gointernational.ca and we will send you an invitation to a brief interview.

Volunteer Placement for 4 weeks in Banff National Park

3-week accommodation at HI Banff Alpine Centre + 1-week accommodation at HI Castle Mountain (exclusive offer for GO International participants at $1,100 CAD + tax for 4 weeks)

Living and Working in Canada orientation (optional)

A welcome package (e.g. Volunteer Handbook, articles on park wildlife, etc.)

1 day orientation and training in Banff, AB

Free Welcome Drink from HI Banff Alpine Centre at The Storm Cellar Pub

Option to receive Banff & Lake Louise Ambassador Pass for tons of discounts in the area (valued up to $1,400 CAD!)

Certificate in Conservation Leadership online course

Support from the GO International Volunteer Team Leader in Vancouver while on your project

Emergency Contact number

What’s not included:

Airfare and transport to Banff

Visa Fees

Medical insurance

Meals during the program

Hiking equipment (e.g. hiking shoes, day backpack…)

TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE PROGRAM:

  • Canadian and international volunteers welcome!
  • Minimum age required: 18 years
  • You have to be eligible to receive a tourist visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
  • Be open-minded, flexible, and self-motivated
  • Have good judgment; can be depended upon to work with the public in a positive manner and to behave in a safe manner, on and off duty
  • Strong ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Good observation skills, basic map-reading ability, intermediate hiking skills and knowledge
  • Have at least low intermediate English skills (you can take English classes beforehand if you are not there yet)
  • You will be required to fill out a medical form and disclose any pre-existing injuries or health issues

* Please note that we are not able to provide a Letter of Support for your visa application to Canada. You must be able and eligible to get a visa on your own.

BANFF NATIONAL PARK

Banff National Park is famous for its brightly colored lakes, majestic mountains and endless outdoor adventures. As Canada’s first national park and the world’s third, it has a rich heritage as one of the world’s most awe-inspiring mountain destinations.

What makes Banff National Park so special is its easy access and close proximity to the vast unspoiled wilderness of the Canadian Rockies. The park spans 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 square miles) of mountainous terrain, packed with spectacularly scenic valleys, peaks, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers.

The bustling town of Banff and hamlet of Lake Louise are uniquely located in the National Park. You feel truly immersed in the mountains and close to nature when you visit Banff & Lake Louise.

– Banff and Lake Louise Tourism

Candidates should have strong interpersonal, communications, and problem solving skills, strong ability to work independently and as part of a team, and be an enthusiastic person who stays positive in less than perfect circumstances.

Candidates should also have a desire to work hard, make a difference, and a willingness to remain flexible and positive through ever changing project work, locations, and weather conditions.

Volunteers must be physically fit, have proper clothing and hiking gear (footwear must have tread suitable for trail hiking), and able to do some periodic heavy lifting and hiking in mountain areas.

Please contact us if you have questions about footwear or what to bring. Candidates who come with footwear not appropriate for mountain activity will be required to buy it or will not be allowed to participate in group activities that require it.

The first full day is an interactive “boot camp” style orientation at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.

Participants will receive a detailed schedule, uniforms, information packages, safety and project-specific training and the group will get to know each other.

In the afternoon, there will be a guided, interpreted hike up Sleeping Buffalo (a local mountain) with the leaders to check physical conditioning and gear.

Training is continuous and hands-on at each and every activity plus the leadership process, where the participants will develop personal leadership and a conservation leadership project. Everything will be facilitated.

Projects include:

Hike and report on trail conditions, interact with visitors, observe and report on park infractions, wildlife sightings.

Be on patrol at day use areas and viewpoints and interact with visitors from all over the world

Maintain the wildlife fence.

Assist on environmental science, research and monitoring projects

Help with restoration projects including removal of invasive species, clean ups, native plantings

Participate in and help out at special events, cultural heritage programming, indigenous ceremonies, and social science and help with responsible promotions through use of social media.

Other special projects, as needed, include: fingerboard and signage building, painting picnic tables.

Schedule will typically be Wednesday to Sunday, and volunteers will be busy with formal activities approximately 40 hours per week, with 2-3 days off per week.

Arriving and departing Banff is the responsibility of the volunteer. We recommend flying into Calgary, and taking a bus from the Calgary airport and using one of the airport services from Banff back to the airport in Calgary.

Bus from Calgary to Banff & Banff back to Calgary:

Brewsters or Banff Airporter: www.brewster.ca / www.banffairporter.com.

There is also the option to take a Moose Travel Company bus tour from Vancouver to Banff: www.moosenetwork.com

Detailed arrival information will be sent to the volunteer pre-departure.

A shuttle will be provided from a central location in town to activity locations.

Public transit is available in and around the Banff townsite.

3-week accommodation at HI Banff Alpine Centre + 1-week accommodation at HI Castle Mountain (exclusive offer for GO International participants at $1,100 CAD + GST for 4 weeks)

Volunteers share a 6-bed dorm-style room with spacious and lockable storage in each room (all linen included) and will have access to laundry facilities. They will be responsible for purchasing their own food and cooking their own meals at the accommodation using the fully equipped kitchen and large dining area. They can also eat at the on-site bar/restaurant and make use of the large common room and the free Wi-Fi.

Advantages of staying at HI Canada:

  • Very affordable and central location directly in the town of Banff.
  • Free Welcome Drink from HI Banff Alpine Centre at The Storm Cellar Pub
  • Short walking distance to all amenities, shops, and tourist attractions in Banff.
  • One week accommodation at HI Castle Mountain: Half way between Banff and Lake Louise, HI Castle Mountain is just off the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A), a quieter highway where wildlife is a bit easier to spot. Within view of the iconic Castle Mountain, the hostel gives you a taste of wilderness living with some of the comforts of home, like a cozy lounge with a wood-burning stove.
  • Shared accommodation with other GO International volunteers.
  • Great international community and social activities organized by the hostel.
  • Public Transit is available to attractions in the area and shuttles to Calgary airport.
  • Opportunity to extend stay for a vacation after the volunteer project (normal rate).

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