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With each tree planted, soil bag filled, and weed cleared, we sow the seeds of environmental justice in Guatemalan indigenous communities. Yes, we know we have big dreams. But we also know that our small steps of change today are what shape the future. And it all starts here, with you, Armando and his family, the viveristas (tree nursery managers), the people of Cantel, and our amazing team of international and local volunteers. 

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Since our inception, over 3600 local students and more than 1000 international volunteers have worked with the Project. Together, we have implemented new ideas, overcome challenges, and celebrated successes. We are who we are today thanks to the dedication of many hands and hearts.


Volunteers Working in Tree Nursery Chico Mendes

Past international volunteers have worked with local students in el vivero (the tree nursery), planted trees in the mountains of Cantel, created publicity materials (videos, logos, photos, etc), helped with fundraising efforts, managed social media platforms, and developed our website.

While work varies depending on the season, the list below provides a sample of volunteer activities available throughout the year. But of course, the possibilities are endless; we love when volunteers come up with new project ideas. Your insights, observations, and talents help us continue to evolve as an organization.


Seed Collection

Tree Planting

Tree Maintenance

Brush Clearing

Bark Mulch Collection

Tree Nursery


Soil Preparation





Project Management

and Outreach

Website/Social Media

Publicity Materials


Volunteer Coordination

Long-term Project Facilitation

We work five days a week, from 7am to 3pm with a one-hour break for lunch. Volunteers generally work for four to five hrs/day, but may work for more or less time, depending on how they feel. We also always have more work to do, so you are welcome to help out on the weekends as well (trees don't take the weekends off!).

Here at Chico Mendes, we view volunteer work as a mutually beneficial exchange. From employees to volunteers, everyone working on the project is both a student and teacher. Through many years of experience, we've found that exchange happens best when we have enough time to get to know one another. Thus, we ask that volunteers commit to a minimum of five consecutive days working at Chico Mendes (although many stay for a few weeks or months).

Interested in our work, but unable to commit to five consecutive days? Join us for a tour that includes a taste of our work, the town of Pachaj, and Mayan belief systems.

Walking with Homestay Family Chico Mendes

During your stay as a volunteer, you will live with a local family in Pachaj, providing full language immersion and a unique cultural exchange experience. Learn more about homestays.

Homestay Cost: Q 150 per day minimum five days

(includes homestay with 3 meals/day and private bedroom)

Chico Mendes does not receive supplemental government and corporate funding. We provide full room and board for a modest fee. Thank you for understanding. Learn more.

We are unable to accommodate tent camping.

What do long-term volunteers do on the weekends if they're not volunteering? Do I need to know Spanish to volunteer? Check out our FAQs page for answers to all your questions!

Interested in volunteering? Questions? Ready to make it happen? Contact us.

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