Make a difference without spending. Volunteer your time and effort to restore, conserve and educate with one of the organizations below.
Founded in 1972, Environmental Volunteers works with thousands of students throughout Silicon Valley, California. Their goal is to inspire people of all ages to learn about the wonders of the natural world. Environmental Volunteers train their members to lead hands-on science and nature programs in schools, community organizations, and the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve EcoCenter. Volunteers receive all of the training and materials necessary to begin teaching students about the Bay Area ecosystem.
Alachua Conservation Trust
Alachua Conservation Trust works to protect the natural, historic, scenic, and recreational resources in and around North Central Florida. Through purchasing, donations, and conservation easements, ACT has been able to expand their reach into 16 North Florida counties. Volunteers are welcome to help educate the public through table events, remove exotic vegetation, plant native species, and maintain the Alachua Conservation Trust’s 53,000 acre reserves.
350 is a non-profit organization working to create an international grassroots movement in an effort to decrease the levels of carbon dioxide. Their goal is to move into an age free of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewables. Volunteers can join a local team or start one of their own to help educate and lead the movement towards ending the era of fossil fuels. 350 offers various courses to help volunteers improve their campaign skills.
Marine Conservation Society
Since 1983, the Marine Conservation Society’s mission is to protect the UK’s seas, shores, and wildlife. MCS works to support sustainable seafood, facilitate pollution and wildlife programs, wildlife surveys, campaigns, and education. Volunteers can apply to become a “Sea Champion” and help organize hands-on beach clean ups, participate in national campaigns, give talks, attend local events, raise money, or promote local, sustainable seafood options in their community. Volunteers join a group of like-minded individuals who devote over 1,000 hours every year to create meaningful change for the UK’s marine ecosystem.
Based in Los Angeles, TreePeople inspires residents to plant and care for trees, harvest rain, and renew depleted landscapes. Their network of volunteers care for over 3 million trees. TreePeople is working towards environmental and social justice for environmentally stressed communities, and they work with educators to teach future generations the importance of trees and their impact on the environment. TreePeople also works to restore ecosystems, protect parks & trails, support new research, and facilitate policies that support nature-based solutions. Volunteers can join groups around LA (or start their own) planting trees, removing invasive species, and maintaining other environmental projects.
The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for people motivated to change the world by immersing themselves in a community abroad. The Peace Corps volunteers in over 140 countries and works to solve critical challenges alongside community leaders. Peace Corps volunteers not only transform the community they serve but also undergo a transformation themselves. The Peace Corps has an entire sector that is devoted to environmental projects. This sector's mission is to forge a global movement to protect our planet. Volunteers lead grassroots efforts to protect the environment and educate the community on environmental issues to empower them to make their own decisions about effectively conserving the local environment.
Coral Restoration Foundation
The Coral Restoration Foundation is the largest coral reef restoration organization in the world. They were founded to respond to the widespread loss of dominant coral species on the Florida Reef Tract, the 4th largest coral reef globally. Staghorn, the once-dominant coral species, is now down to only 3% of its original reef coverage. Volunteers can be an integral part of the world's most extensive reef restoration effort. Be prepared to soak up some South Florida sun as volunteers can help out for 3 weeks or longer. Volunteers can work as either a diver helping with restoration work in the water or on land with their outreach center.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is an agency of the Department of the Interior. Their mission is to maintain the vast national network of refuges in the U.S. to conserve and restore fish, wildlife, plant resources, and habitats. FWS has a wildlife-driven purpose meaning that all efforts target the conservation of native species and the lands and waters they are dependent upon. Volunteers can lead tours, restore habitat, rescue animals, conduct research, remove invasive plants, or teach elementary school students about the importance of healthy ecosystems.
WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is an international organization that facilitates home-stays on organic farms. Volunteers are linked with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange. WWOOF aims to provide volunteers with a first-hand experience of organic farming & gardening, to experience living in the countryside with locals and to help the organic movement. WWOOF hopes to provide a way for people to learn about organic food, agriculture, and sustainable ways of living.
American Hiking Society
The American Hiking Society is a Maryland-based non-profit founded in 1976. Their mission is to empower all to enjoy, share, and preserve the hiking experience. They work with Congress and federal agencies to shape public policy and legislation affecting hiking. American Hiking Society organizes and coordinates Volunteer Vacations and National Trails Day – nationally recognized programs that help keep trails open, safe, and enjoyable.
New York Restoration Project
The New York Restoration Project (NYRP) is a non-profit organization driven by the conviction that all New Yorkers deserve beautiful, high-quality public space within walking distance of their homes. Since their founding in 1995, NYRP has planted trees, renovated gardens, restored parks, and transformed open space for communities throughout New York City’s five boroughs. Those interested in volunteer work would help keep NYC green by planting trees, maintaining public parkland, and caring for community gardens.
American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America's Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with American Rivers, visit their website to find a cleanup near you.
United States Forest Service
The United States Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands. Their mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Volunteers can partake in a wide variety of duties including trail maintenance, wildlife inventory tracking and much more.
City Parks Foundation
The City Parks Foundation, a non-profit organization based in New York City, is dedicated to transforming parks into dynamic, vibrant centers of urban life. Their programs are located in more than 400 parks, recreation centers and public schools across New York City and reach more than 300,000 people each year. City Parks offers the opportunity to become a community park volunteer for those who are eager to give back. Volunteers assist in beautifying a neighborhood green space through cleaning, painting, weeding, planting, and more.