Explore environmental volunteer opportunities as a way to share your love of nature
Oct 19, 2012, 8:54 a.m.
As you age, you may gain more free time and want to explore new ways to share your love of nature by getting active in local or global efforts to improve the environment. There are numerous environmental volunteer opportunities to be found locally or around the globe if you are really adventurous. Or, just find the nearest children education center and ask if they have an environmental awareness program that you could join as a teacher.
Parks and nature centers are usually welcoming to persons wanting to volunteer to clean up and preserve the grounds, trails and recreation facilities. Teaching younger generations is, however, the best way to pass along your knowledge and love of nature. Consider starting a program if none are available; contact your state Department of Natural Resources or Parks and ask what they might have available for starters.
If you want to travel and contribute to eco-friendly programs, there are many opportunities. You can participate in eco-friendly volunteer vacations such as these:
Costa Rican beaches -- protect sea turtles, from $25 a night staying with locals
Greece -- dolphin watch, around $900/week
Israel -- desert projects for recycling and gardening, from $550/2 weeks
USA -- Mountain trail preservation and repair in Montana and along the Pacific Crest Trail -- often no charge
Other opportunities to mix vacations with volunteering are open worldwide. You could work on organic farms, repair hiking trails and bridges, or teach environmental skills to children.
Find local environmental volunteer opportunities in US states through online resources like nature.org . Volunteer to work in and recreation areas, helping to preserve natural areas and promoting sustainability of natural resources. In the U.S., the Nature Conservancy has many programs for those who want to volunteer in a variety of environmental protection activities.
Many communities have annual parks and recreation area clean-up days, in spring and fall. Summer is ideal for waterway projects like river clean-ups. Volunteers are so important to the success of these programs. Work with others on valuable eco-friendly projects, or play and teach children how to nurture nature by starting a "Green Hour" at a local park, as suggested by the National Wildlife Federation.
Besides contributing to your local community, you will meet new like-minded persons and make new friends. Get active this year, and use some of your new free time to share your love of nature by being an environmental volunteer.
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