Be an environmental steward by finding green volunteer opportunities in your local community. Volunteering can help you gain work experience and networking opportunities, but more than that, it gives you the chance to use your skills to benefit your community, and in a small way, your world. Some environmentally friendly volunteer opportunities are directly related to environmentalism, but others indirectly help the environment.
Soil and Water Conservation Board
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Resource web page, “All regions of the world show an overall net negative impact of climate change on water resources and freshwater ecosystems.” Many leaders in the United States are bracing for the impact of overpopulation on their regional water resources. You can volunteer your time as a member of your local Soil and Water Conservation Board by applying for a vacancy, usually during a certain period of the year. You will typically have to apply with the local government to be added to a polling ballot, because the board members are officially elected members. Members of the board will work with local agencies and with the public to promote water and soil conservation practices.
Master Gardner with the Extension Office
Check with your local Extension Office to learn about the Master Gardner’s program. The Master Gardner’s program will give you the opportunity to learn extensively about gardening using environmentally friendly techniques. When you complete the program, you will volunteer with the office to help answer questions from other gardeners. You may be involved with other tasks at the Extension office, too, including handing out brochures about the local environment, invasive plant species, and safe pest control methods.
Environmental Stewardship at a Community Learning Center
If your neighborhood has a Community Learning Center, you might be able to teach environmental stewardship to kids as a volunteer. Many of the Community and Adult Learning Center instructors are paid for the courses they teach; however, some centers offer the opportunity to test programs through volunteer instructors. Develop a sound curriculum based on your educational background or the help of certified teachers so that you can present it to the community center.
Adopt Your Watershed Program
The Environmental Protection Agency has a program called Adopt Your Watershed. You can volunteer to monitor water, clean streams, and mark storm drains. You can visit the EPA website’s Watershed page and finding your local area. If there is a Watershed there, you can get the contact information and let them know you want to be involved. If there is not one in your local area, you can use information on the EPA’s website to help you start one of your own.
National Park Service
National Parks help the environment by keeping large areas of natural wildlife free from development, and by educating people about the natural environment of their home states. You can volunteer with the National Park Service by helping visitors to the park, and working with the National Park employees. In some instances, you may be given a uniform, and be reimbursed for some out of pocket expenses associated with your volunteer duties. You can visit the National Park Service Website to find volunteer opportunities in your state.
Don’t be afraid to volunteer your time to start your own initiative to help the environment. You can work with your child’s school to organize park and beach cleanups, recycling projects, or other environmentally sound projects. Be creative in your endeavor. You can volunteer your time with local nonprofit agencies to organize green partnerships. For example, if there is an agency in your town that provides Weatherization Assistance to low-income families, you might initiate a project to get solar companies to donate a certain number of solar powered water heaters to these families each year. You might work with Habitat for Humanity, Community Action, or even your local housing project director to establish important connections that may decrease energy consumption for people where you live.