What Are the Different Types of Volunteer Conservation Work?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2019
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There are a number of different opportunities to do volunteer conservation work around the world. The opportunities an individual takes are largely based on his or her interests, as well as the amount of time she has to devote to volunteer work. For instance, someone with a full-time job might be able to do a few hours of volunteer conservation work at a local organization, while someone with more time might choose to actually travel and live somewhere for a few weeks or months doing volunteer work. Some of the most common examples of conservation work abroad include joining wildlife research teams. Local conservation work might include cleaning up natural areas or volunteering with a nonprofit to answer phones, help out around the office, or even do grant writing.

Volunteer conservation work that takes place abroad is increasing in popularity, particularly among college students or those who have at least two or three weeks of time off per year. The reason that wildlife research is such a common option for this type of volunteer work is because there are hundreds of different nonprofit organizations working to protect various species of wildlife around the world, so there is no shortage of opportunity. Also, it does not take a great deal of experience in order to observe wildlife behavior and make notes of it.


Similar conservation expeditions are conducted to determine things such as the amount of a specific type of plant in a certain area, or how development or logging may have affected particular regions. These volunteer expeditions will typically require a bit more experience in the field, and are common choices of graduate or doctoral students who are pursuing a degree in a particular area of conservation. Sometimes, individuals will even receive college credit for this sort of volunteer conservation work.

It is important to keep in mind that an overseas trip is not necessary to make a big difference with volunteer conservation work. Many smaller, local environmental organizations will welcome volunteer help. This can be as simple as answering phones or helping with filing in the office, to writing press releases or grant applications. Taking part in clean-up days, participating in local conservation events, or even leading nature hikes if an individual has the knowledge to do that can also be very helpful. In conservation work, there is no volunteer effort that is too small, or that will not be appreciated by an organization.



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