Turn your family into eco-pros, with free training provided prior to a hands-on, experience-of-a-lifetime, and spend a meaningful holiday volunteering with your children. Take home your newly-acquired knowledge and skills, to be applied generously within your own neighborhood and communities.
Destination: Hawaiian Wedding & Honeymoon
If you are already planning that Hawaiian wedding and/or honeymoon of your dreams, check the Natural and Cultural Resources Volunteer Portal, using Hawaii as your keyword or state-of-choice, for numerous volunteering opportunities and requirements, listed at https://www.volunteer.gov/gov/results.cfm .
Unique opportunities await you, working around volcanoes, stabilizing populations of endangered wildlife, or classifying and maintaining plant species, while backpacking in and out of remote campsites in paradise! Uninhabited islands also need ecological caretaking and wildlife categorizing, which you will be trained for, prior to your adventurous get-away.
Destination: Wyoming Dinosaur Dig
Be trained for paleontology-field work by resident Wyoming Dinosaur Center and Dig Sites’ “paleo-tech”! Once critical skills are mastered, you and your family will be eligible to participate in authentic Dino-Digs!
If you’re unable to go through the mandatory “Volunteer-Status” training, you can still go on a one-day Dino-Dig, at a cost of $150.00 for adults, or $80.00 per child! Check out their volunteer program first, and call them at 1-800-455-DINO, or visit them online at http://www.wyodino.org/programs/?item=volunteer .
Incidentally, their professional “Dinosaur Academy” paleontology, high-school natural science course, is available over summer, and costs $945.00 for one week! So why wouldn’t you want to volunteer to get all that great training and dinosaur digging for free?
Destination: National Parks Road Trip
Almost every National Park in the country has volunteering opportunities available for couples and families, in exchange for a free cabin, bunkhouse, campground, or RV hook-up facilities. Scroll through all the available National Park volunteering-vacation options found at http://www.volunteer.gov/gov/results.cfm .
Check availability dates and fill out the multi-purpose (one-time) application form, prior to embarking on the volunteering holiday or vacation destination of your choice. Volunteer positions, followed by brief training sessions, include adopt-a-trail cleanup and site preservation, caretaking, handyman, volunteer rangers and information guides/greeters. Short and long term opportunities are posted, and can be filtered by the states you plan to visit.
Destination: Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center
Volunteering positions are available in the visitor center, wildlife refuge, discovery labs, and help is also needed for research projects. If you’ve ever wanted to visit the land of the midnight sun (6 months of daytime, 6 months of nighttime) here is your opportunity.
With open landscapes, fishing, and many other activities available, this could be a uniquely green volunteering trip for your family. Many Alaskan volunteer opportunities offer stipends (payments for volunteering). To get more information and/or apply, visit their website at http://www.islandsandocean.org/volunteer/index.html .
Destination: Kentucky Fish Hatchery
Why not spend the Thanksgiving holiday learning vital sustainability skills, volunteering with your family at the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery? This can be quite an exciting experience for children to see how fish are fed, raised, and cared for prior to being released into our waterways.
I was very young when I visited a fish hatchery with my grandparents, and I haven’t forgotten all those tiny fish swimming over to me, as I prepared to throw handfuls of food into the long trough-style tanks. It really is a thrilling experience for kids as well as adults. See their flyer for contact information at http://www.fws.gov/wolfcreek/VolunteerFlyer.pdf
Destination: Yosemite Christmas Bird Count
Take the family to count the different bird species found in California’s Yosemite National Park, volunteering with the National Audubon Society. There is a small fee involved for inclusion in this 111-year Christmas tradition, and family volunteer adventure over the Christmas holidays. Contact them at 209-379-1435 for a group assignment. Get more information by visiting the National Park Service website at http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/annual-bird-count.htm .
Destination: Volunteers Needed
Travel and lodging is not generally provided for volunteer-families, to get to their vacation destinations. To ensure your family is cared for in the manner with which you are accustomed, because you are left to make your own arrangements, you will want to employ a travel agent who is familiar with volunteer-travel syle programs.
The Traveling Travel Agent, online at http://www.thetravellingtravelagent.com/volunteering-family-vacations/ can help your family plan a volunteer-vacation holiday. Under their “Volunteers Needed” tab, you can find assistance with all your arrangements, from meals and hotel accommodations, to campsites and preferred methods of travel. For additional volunteer travel package ideas, and to ensure your family gets the most meaningful volunteer vacation, for your money, contact them at 863-446-1473.