6 Ways to Do Good for the Environment Through Volunteering
Warm weather has arrived and if you’re like us, you can’t wait to get outside and soak up some sunshine. The best part? You can get your daily dose of Vitamin D while making a significant and lasting impact on the environment, your community, and the world!
Here are 6 ways to give back in the great outdoors, as told by Parks and Recreation.
1. Contribute to a Community Garden
We know that volunteers are happier, healthier people as a result of making a difference in the lives of others, and studies show there are similar health benefits from gardening. So double up on health and happiness by contributing to a local community garden! Just BYOS (bring your own seeds) and grow your own produce — or donate your goods to a local food bank. Not only do community gardens yield fresh, nutritious food, they build neighborhood relationships, promote community development, conserve resources and improve quality of life. Find a community garden near you, or start your own.
2. Plant a Tree
Teddy Roosevelt once said, “To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, and to live as a people, we must have trees.” There are myriad reasons to plant trees – they produce oxygen, provide habitat for wildlife, assist in water conservation and prevent soil erosion, and much more. You can plant a tree any day of the year, or you can take part in the annual national celebration of trees – Arbor Day. Check out the Arbor Day volunteer center to find out how you can help.
3. Join or Organize a Park Clean-up in your Community
Just a few hours of clean-up work can result in the removal of multiple garbage bags’ worth of waste. Check your local government’s website to learn about ongoing clean-ups for which you can volunteer. Can’t find an opportunity in your area? This guide is full of useful tips for starting your own park clean-up, and enlisting other volunteers to help you!
4. Participate in a River Clean-up
Like cities and parks, rivers are often left neglected during the colder months. The National River Cleanup campaign enlists volunteers annually to get outside as the weather warms up to help clear trash and pollutants out of the river environment so that natural recovery processes can take place.
5. Volunteer at a State or National Park
Pitch in to help preserve America’s natural and cultural resources by volunteering at a state or national park. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are needed for one-time service activities and long-term commitments, and opportunities range from park improvements, upkeep and preservation, visitor services and campground hosts, to more specialized roles for those interested in scientific fields, such as geology, botany and archeology. Browse the volunteer portal to find out what opportunities are available near you.
6. Celebrate 100 Years of the National Park Service with SAVE THE PARK
In celebration of the 2016 National Park Service Centennial, American Express partnered with the National Park Foundation and Games for Change to create SAVE THE PARK, a free mobile game that allows players to virtually experience the impact volunteers have on park conservation through a fun and engaging game experience. The game seeks to inspire and encourage a new generation of park lovers to take an active role in helping preserve our natural and historic resources for future generations by showcasing the many ways that volunteers support parks, and by connecting players to explore national park volunteer opportunities in their community.
In addition to producing the game, the American Express Foundation will donate $1 to the National Park Foundation for each download of SAVE THE PARK before the end of the year, up to $50,000, to support NPF's park conservation and stewardship work.
National Park Week runs from April 16-24, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, and Arbor Day will be April 29. Looking for more ways to do good for the environment? Search for volunteer opportunities in your community at AllForGood.org.