9 Wild Eco Volunteer Opportunities to Save the World
5. Monitor the Sex Lives of Crocodiles in BelizeBaby croc just out of its shell. Photo courtesy of 3D photographers via Flickr
In Turneffe Atoll, where the crocodile population is at risk (after surviving 200 million years on the planet), learn to assess reproductive success, conduct nighttime surveys of nests, count eggs and search for hatchlings. Your collection of data helps determine an effective conservation strategy for Oceanic Society (OS) researchers. Also available in Belize: mangrove restoration, reef and shark studies. And in other parts in the Caribbean, OS projects include saving Suriname sea turtle eggs and protecting Costa Rica's whales. No experience necessary, but patience, enthusiasm, and taking direction are required--and signing a liability release.
6. Dance with Wolves in the RockiesPhoto by Dobak via Flickr
In 1920, Swiss pacifist Pierre Ceresole brought people from different cultures together to repair war-torn Europe. Today Service Civil International arranges for 5,000 volunteers annually to join work camps in 60 countries for two-week or longer stints. Clean Iceland's glacial trails, irrigate Moroccan soil, plant trees in Mongolia in May--the only month it's possible. For $235 for food and lodging (plus airfare), participate in environmental, social and health-related projects. For a U.S. mission closer to home, assist at a sanctuary for wolves unable to live in the wild and educate people at this Colorado center on the importance of returning wolves to their natural habitat.
7. Herd Kalofer Long-haired Goats in Bulgaria
Camp in Pirin Mountains. Photo by Slavcho via Flickr Bulgaria's eco-balance is under scrutiny, but on its Pirin Mountains' alpine reserve, a World Cultural and UNESCO Natural Heritage site, you can care for newborn Karakachan horses and sheep, and the rare endangered breed of long-haired Kalofer goats. One of many options arranged by Ecovolunteer, chose a locale or species, such as Griffon vultures, Prezwalski horses, Zimbabwe wild dogs, endangered New Zealand blue ducks, African elephants at risk, or Brazilian toucans and help out with the effects of deforestation and drought. For an uncommon holiday that runs about $650 a week, travel to inaccessible spots, with tasks that protect the environment and its inhabitants through local conservation projects.
8. Farm Organic Medicinal Herbs in IsraelPhoto from Hoyasmeg via Flickr
Dig in to offer communities a sustainable alternative to clear cutting and poaching or pesticides and the other risks of farm life. With the multitude of advantages to organic farming, from natural soils to healthy consumption, pack your overalls and head to a tea farm in Nepal, olive orchard in Palestine, a Polish award-winner, or care for an African goat herd. It costs as low at $52 for the Israeli farm.WWOOF, Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, connects you to any continent but Antarctica for hands-on learning and environmentally sound agricultural methods in exchange for your sweat.
9. Conserve Fiji's Coral ReefsPhoto by Daniel IHP via Flickr
After six weeks in Fiji, you may not want to come home. Work with UNESCO and the Wildlife Conservation Society to create a Seascape reserve. Get trained to be a qualified open water and emergency first-response diver in order to survey the marine life including threatened coral reefs. Swim among turtles, dolphins and whales in warm South Pacific waters. On the lush tropical lands, sleep in a bures mud hut, enjoy local village traditions, and maybe even a game of rugby. This month and a half runs a total of $3,800. It's organized by Greenforce in London, an agency that focuses on arranging sustainable projects such as collecting data on great whites, pandas, and more.
More on VoluntourismTrend: Philanthropic Travel
Los Amigos: Volunteers Vacationing with Scientists
Handcuffs, Butts, And Citizen Science