Fit and Fabulous Volunteer VacationsPosted on Aug 6th 2010 1:00PM by Karen Asp
Appalachian Mountain Club
Maintain hiking trails: When you volunteer through the Appalachian Mountain Club, you'll help maintain New England hiking trails. Work might include clearing drainage ditches, cutting back vegetation or building rock stairs. During your downtime, you can explore your location, including Acadia National Park in Maine, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and the Berkshires in Massachusetts.
Monitor coral reefs: Every year, Earthwatch Institute takes a trip to San Salvador, a remote island in the Bahamas, to survey endangered coral reefs, document the threat to the health of the reefs, and help test possible techniques to restore them. You'll work both on land and in water, donning snorkeling equipment to explore the crystal clear waters.
Study animals in the rainforest: The Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil will be your home during this adventure sponsored by Biosphere Expeditions. While there, you'll study jaguars, pumas, ocelots and other species as you walk on jungle paths looking for tracks, kills, scat and the animals themselves; setting camera traps for them; and creating sustainable ways of harvesting and processing forest produce. You should be able to walk up to about nine miles a day in mountainous rainforest terrain.
Conserve sea turtle populations: Head south to Costa Rica with United Planet from March through November, and you could help save sea turtles. You'll work at various locations to protect sea turtle nests from poachers and beach erosion. Your tasks might include night patrols (where you'll walk roughly three to six miles in the dark on soft, wet sand), turtle behavior assessment and park trail maintenance.
Make America more beautiful: Join the Sierra Club on one of its many nationwide volunteer vacations, and you could help restore native vegetation on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (and then use your off-time to hike), protect the endangered ecosystem of the Santa Cruz Islands in California, or do maintenance projects in the national parks in Maui, after which you can hike, snorkel and swim.
Want more? Learn how you can use your fitness to make a difference for charities by training for a cause.