One of the most dynamic volunteer opportunities to help the environment are often advertised through the National Department of Parks and Recreation or the National Forest Service. Your duties may be multiple and varied, from distributing information to park visitors, picking up litter, stocking lakes, repairing fence line, invasive species removal, planting new trees, or removing old fishing line from banks. I was able to sign on with a duck-banding project tracking migratory patterns of wood ducks and mallards. It only involved a few hours a couple early mornings a week but it was fascinating, informative and didn’t interfere with my daily schedule. The time commitments are different per assignment. You can choose from one-day events, daily or even several hours for several months.
Not only are you outside enjoying Arizona’s beauty, but many of these volunteer slots offer a complimentary campsite including free electricity, water and sewer. Most extend a VIP camp setting that is secluded from the public campers although you are required to provide your own camper, RV or motor home. Very few settings provide actual housing. You can learn about upcoming opportunities all over the state by talking to the rangers on your next road trip. At some of the more popular lakes, competition for these slots is fierce so you will want to complete your application early. If you prefer an internet search start with http://volunteer.gov/gov/results.cfm or Google by subject, for example: Arizona park volunteer opportunities.
Perhaps you’re the over-committed type without any spare time. You can still find ways to help the environment in Arizona. An easy way to make an impact on the environment without taking a lot of time is to keep the Litter Hotline number in your vehicle’s glove compartment. When you observe a littering incident while driving in Arizona, report it by calling the Litter Hotline at 1-877-3Litter or click here to make a report!
If helping to eliminate litter from Arizona’s roadsides sounds appealing, become involved by volunteering with the Adopt a Highway Program. A group consisting of your family, charity, church or other group of at least six volunteer to pick up debris along a predetermined portion of state highway three to four times per year. Groups of 6-10 can handle a two-mile highway segment. The program does require a two-year commitment from the group but you can change out members. To become active with Adopt a Highway Program in your area and to receive instructions how/where to complete a permit, contact the District Office.
A large component to improving our environment is Recycling. Light bulbs, plastic bags and newspapers are daily use items that can be recycled rather than ending up in a landfill. Volunteer in your own neighborhood to be the one to pick up and distribute these items. If you live in close proximity to Peoria, the Challenger Space Science Center in conjunction with Az Clean and Beautiful providing a drop off point for Light Bulbs to be recycled . The center is open M-F 9-4PM and 10-4 PM on Saturdays, located at 21170 N. 83rd Avenue in Peoria. Plastic bags may be taken to participating groceries and newspapers can be dropped at central recycling bins.
By volunteering your time to become educated at a Green Science camp developed by Arizona Clean & Beautiful and the Challenger Space Science Center you’ll be prepared to use and share knowledge about green gardening, natural cleansers, and solar energy. Further information may be obtained at www.azchallenger.org.
Southwest Wildlife Rehabilitation and Educational Foundation, a non-profit organization staffed entirely by volunteers improves the environment by rehabilitating wildlife native to Arizona. A myriad of opportunities exist from direct animal care to construction. If you’re ready to commit to our native wildlife contact (480)471-9109 for details of current volunteer opportunities.
Whether you enjoy being outdoors or prefer the comforts of an office, the opportunities to volunteer to help our environment are plentiful.