Green Volunteering: How to See the World (While Saving It)

Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.
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(Photo: Rizzoli).

Got the itch to get out of town, but want to do something a little different—and more fulfilling—than the average jaunt to the big city or beach? Maybe something along the lines of monitoring shark populations off the south coast of Kenya, or rehabilitating seals outside of Dublin?

Well then, Fabio Ausenda's got some ideas for you. 

For nearly 15 years, Ausenda has put together the bible of global, conservationist volunteer travel. 

Green Volunteers, now in its eighth edition, lists nearly 220 projects and organizations that are looking for volunteers throughout the year for work with marine mammals, birds, sea turtles, and endangered bears. And no previous experience is required. 

So what do people who are interested in green volunteering need to keep in mind? Three things, according to Ausenda:

Time: "If you're a student with a month or two, it's going to be completely different than if you only have two weeks of vacation per year."

Cost: "The shorter the project, the more it costs. So basically, very short projects tend to get people who work and have a limited amount of time. They'd rather invest more to do what they want to do."

Location: "Are you ready to go all the way to Namibia or Tanzania or Kenya, or would you rather stay in a safer place where you speak the language?"

If East Africa is a bit too far for your tastes, Ausenda says that domestic opportunities include volunteering with the American Bear Association in the Northwoods of Minnesota or working with the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalto, California. 

The best part? Ausenda's book is a one-time purchase: anyone who buys the book is also given access to his continually updated database of more than 500 projects.

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