5 Ways to Volunteer That Benefit the Environment

With our focus on the environment this month, we wanted to share with you some ideas for connecting your passion for volunteerism with ways you can help the planet. We all know that the smallest acts can have a huge impact on the environment, both locally and globally…imagine what could happen if we all donated some extra time this month to make a positive difference on our community, city, state, or the world?

To help you get started, we’ve come up with five very different ideas for ways you can volunteer to benefit Mother Earth. Here goes:

1. Connect with an environmental organization. There are many organizations whose sole focus is restoring and protecting the environment, including the biggies like the World Wildlife Federation, the Nature Conservancy, the Arbor Day Foundation, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and many more. These organizations and others like them are always looking for volunteers to help them in fulfilling all aspects of their mission, and many have local and regional chapters so you can really dig your feet in.

2. Volunteer for a local park. Whether you want to help a local playground, a stretching beach, or a state park, park associations are always looking for people willing to help with things like park maintenance, restoration, and clean up. Many parks have regularly scheduled volunteer times, so give them a call to see how you can get involved. And if the park you want to support doesn’t have a volunteer program in place, gather a group of friends and tell the park you’re at their disposable…they’ll find a way to put that good energy to use!

3. Do a volunteer vacation. Going on a volunteer vacation with a program that focuses on the environment is an incredible way to actually get involved in the very real issue you’re interested in. There are volunteer vacations out there where you can work directly with groups doing work like saving sea turtle habitats, saving rain forests, and restoring coral reefs. You name an environmental interest, there’s probably a volunteer vacation opportunity available. Read more about volunteer vacations in our article here.

4. Start a fundraising drive. Pick an environmental cause that’s near and dear to your heart, identify an organization doing important work towards that cause, and launch a drive to raise funds to be donated to that organization. Or raise money for an established program designed just to support kids who want to contribute, like Pennies for the Planet, sponsored by The Audubon Society, which educates kids and encourages them to save and collect pennies (and nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars) to help save wild places and wildlife.

5. Adopt Your Watershed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created the Adopt Your Watershed Program to channel volunteer resources towards helping keep local watersheds – a.k.a. the area that drains to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, aquifer, or even the ocean – safe. Their online toolkit suggests a ton of different ways to get involved, from building a rain garden to being a volunteer watershed monitor. Find out more here.

What ideas do you have for volunteering in a way that benefits the environment?