Giving back when you explore is about contributing to socially and environmentally conscious projects as you discover amazing new people and places. The best part? Giving back makes for a more memorable and meaningful experience that leaves you feeling more connected. Here are 3 organizations that allow you to explore the world while giving back to local communities and environments.
The Earthwatch Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 1971 and has provided opportunities for over 93,000 volunteers to conduct scientific research in the field. Earthwatch is the leader in the field of volunteer science programs and participatory environmental research tourism. Earthwatch’s mission, “is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education in order to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment”.
Protecting Leatherbacks on the beach in Trinidad
This expedition is located at Eland's Joy, a 7,000-hectare (17,000-acre) working farm and headquarters of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). As a volunteer, you assist CCF staff in the day-to-day work associated with ongoing research, conservation, and education programs both in the field and on the farm. You'll survey wildlife from vehicles and from a hide at a water hole; help care for cheetahs, dogs, sheep, and goats; and enter research data in the CCF database. You may also have a chance to aid CCF staff with radio tracking and monitoring of free-living cheetahs. I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Laurie Marker, the Founder of CCF, and her commitment to the environmental well being of Eland's Joy is inspiring.
Global Vision International (GVI) was founded in 1997 as a for profit organization with the purpose to,“provide support and services to international charities, non-profits and governmental agencies, through volunteering opportunities, internship programs, training and direct funding”. GVI recruits volunteers to help with environmental research, conservation, education, and community development. GVI partners with a number of NGOs and corporations, most notably the South African National Parks Board, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Jane Goodall Institute, Rainforest Concern and Kenyan Wildlife Service. GVI’s program portfolio includes over 100 projects in 40 countries with focuses on teaching, healthcare, construction, sports, wildlife and terrestrial conservation, marine conservation, and climate change.
Tracking Jaguars on the beach in Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
As a volunteer, you will be searching for signs of jaguars and their prey species by setting up remote cameras and surveying a 16-mile stretch of turtle nesting beach. Relaying data to the Costa Rican government and other prominent conservation organizations, this expedition aids the conservation effort through monitoring and tracking on Costa Rica’s beautiful Caribbean coast in the Tortuguero National Park. I was able to spend 10 weeks participating in this expedition, and although the conditions are difficult, the wildlife and ecosystem around base camp is incredible.
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation is dedicated to improving the accessibility of scientific knowledge through partnerships between outdoor enthusiasts and scientists. This organization believes that it is only through true scientific understanding of the perils facing an area that management decisions should be made. Because the collection of data can be expensive, time consuming, and physically challenging, ASC partners with adventure athletes who constantly travel to areas of great need to collect scientific data for research scientists. Gregg Treinish, the Founder of ASC, has an amazing story as an explorer wanting to contribute to the conservation of the environment.
Mountaineering in the Montana Rocky Mountains
Favorite Expedition: Your Own Adventure!