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The following are a few institutions and nonprofit groups that work on sustainable development or other environmental or social projects in Panama.

Global Vision International (tel. 800/776-0188; www.earthwatch.org) is a U.K.-based organization that provides support and services to charities, NGOs, and governmental agencies for conservation and humanitarian projects. In Panama, they offer a 2-week volunteer program at two turtle-nesting sites in Bocas del Toro. Volunteers tag, measure, and monitor turtles -- and pay $1,525 (£763) to do so, sleeping in rustic huts. The program runs from March to mid-June.

Global Works (tel. 800/784-6362; www.globalworksinc.com) is a U.S. based teen volunteer organization that provides support and services to local communities all over the world. Their Panama-Costa Rica program lasts five weeks and costs just over $5,000 (£2,500). They work in Boquete, with the Ngobe-Bugles, and in Kuna Yala with the Kunas before going on to Costa Rica.

Summit Garden & Zoo (tel. 232-4850; www.summitpanama.org) has volunteer programs working in animal care or environmental education, as well as in their botanical garden, providing opportunities to learn about Panamanian flora and fauna and conservation issues and pick up new skills while helping the park.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.