Take a Vacation the Planet Will Also Enjoy

     If you haven’t yet decided how to spend your vacation this year, how about considering a volunteer eco-vacation?

     Opportunities abound for people who are up for spending their vacation in a beautiful place, working with others to protect the natural environment.  Such vacations are also comparatively inexpensive. 

     Can you imagine yourself maintaining a trail in remote western mountains, helping to establish a strategy for protecting crocodiles in the Nile, or learning about organic farming by engaging in it?  A volunteer vacation could be a great adventure for you and your family.

     The following are just a few organizations that sponsor environmentally-oriented volunteer vacations: 

     The Sierra Club www.sierraclub.org is looking for people of all levels of skill and stamina for its 90 annual volunteer vacations.  Trips are available all over the country, with some in Canada as well.  You can work with researchers at a whale calving ground in Maui, help with archaelogical restoration in New Mexico, restore a wilderness area in Idaho, just to name a few possibilities.  

     Participants usually work under the guidance of a forest service ranger or a park service staffer and are often offered access to areas that are off-limits to the casual visitor.  In many cases, the work and social contact are so satisfying that participants return year after year.  Sierra’s trips also include time off for hiking, swimming, and relaxing.  Meals, accommodations, and evening campfires are part of the package.

     If you are thinking international, and you have more money to spend, consider one of the trips organized by the Earthwatch Institute, www.earthwatch.org.  This international organization runs volunteer trips in 50 countries.  Children as young as 10 are welcome, and no special skills are required.

     More than a vacation or an eco-tour, an Earthwatch project is a hands-on way to protect the world’s engangered animals and habitats, according to Earthwatch.  Whether you’re banding penguins in South Africa, measuring rocks in Iceland, or working directly with Kenya’s Samburu people to protect threatened zebras, you can count on having an experience like you’ve never had before!  And what could be more satisfying than knowing that your efforts are helping to restore the health of our planet?  

     Earthwatch sponsors trips designed for families, teen groups, and for college and community groups.  Participants report such thrills as seing adolescent polar bears wrestle playfully and serving as a chair for a meerkat!

     Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, www.wwoof.org, is an organization of more than 1,000 organic farms around the world that host volunteer workers in exchange for meals and accommodations.  A WWOOF vacation is a great way to learn organic farming skills, to explore another geographic area, and to get involved in the real foods movement.  WWOOFers, as the volunteers are called, contact organic farms directly to arrange for the stay.  You can learn online about the many different organic farms in the U.S., Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia. 

        So have a great vacation this summer.  And if you do choose an eco-oriented volunteer vacation, I would love to hear about your experience!–April Moore

3 Responses to “Take a Vacation the Planet Will Also Enjoy”

  1. Diane Says:

    These are great ideas! We are visiting colleges this “vacation” but I’ll hold onto these for the future.

  2. Georgine Makel Says:

    it is still better to adhere on organic farming because the fruits and vegetables does not contain those harmful chemicals.’,,

  3. Carlos Crebs Says:

    When i am given a chance to choose the foods i eat, i always choose the ones that comes from Organic Farms since they are safer than pesticide ladden foods.^

    Have a look at our personal web page too

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