How to take a holiday and help out on environmental projects while there

With the preservation of the planet of utmost importance and relevance to people’s lives, many people are opting for holidays abroad and closer to home where they can take part as a volunteer on an environmental project. These projects are as varied as beach or river clean ups, planting trees and wildlife rescue. Some projects are also family-friendly, which means kids can also get involved too.

There are a number of organisations that offer volunteer breaks, and community groups offering volunteer opportunities to help with conservation efforts.

National Trust 

The National Trust look after places throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The charity takes care of some 780 miles of coastline, forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, nature reserves, gardens, and historic houses, to name a few.

Known as “Working Holidays”, the National Trust offers opportunities to participants to help care for some of the finest coast, countryside, historic houses and gardens over a weekend or week long adventure. The activities are varied including everything from farming, cleaning beaches, maintaining ponds, coppicing woodland, mapping and recording animal and plant species, through to planting lavender in one of the Trust’s gardens. There are age limits on many of the activities, but there is also family-friendly holidays open to children aged 6-16 accompanied by an adult.

For more information, visit the National Trust website

Kaya Responsible Travel

Kaya Responsible Travel offer volunteer programmes, as well as internship placements, on over 150 sustainable community development and environmental initiatives in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The UK-based travel specialists offer volunteer holiday opportunities that are suitable for families, individuals, those on a career break, honeymooners, under 18s, and over 50s.

As an environmental conservation volunteer, tasks may include role weeding, digging, clearing and planting, and building and fixing pathways, fences and walls.

In Australia and New Zealand Kaya Responsible Travel’s projects vary from the beach, mangroves to city settings while in Latin America there are projects in the Amazon, Andes and Mindo Cloud Forest, helping indigenous people with reforestation and urban greening.

Kaya Responsible Travel’s permaculture internship in South Africa is popular with young people and older volunteers keen to learn about the approaches being taken to tackle deforestation through  the use of solar cookers, education and tree planting in South Africa.

For more information, visit Kaya Responsible Travel

Beach cleanups and river cleanups

Wherever you’re based in the world and you’re on a staycation, there are numerous organisations that do beach cleanups or river cleanups. Do a web search for “beach cleanups near me”. Even if you’re holidaying abroad and you feel like helping out, ask the locals or enquire at your hotel about beach cleanups or conservation projects.

If you’re UK based, check out the Marine Conservation Society and Surfers Against Sewage. And if you’re near a canal, visit the Canal and River Trust’s website for river cleanups.


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